On Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at 11.30 am Joseph Gallivan interviews Bruce Guenther about the new shows “THE JEWS OF AMSTERDAM, REMBRANDT AND PANDER,” and “ BUT A DREAM, SALVADOR DALÍ.” The Amsterdam show is on now at the Oregon Jewish Museum until Sept 24 and the Dali through August 13. Guenther talks about Salvador Dali’s use of Jewish lore and the human figure, as well as Rembrandt’s humane depiction of Jews and Pander’s “re-imaged memories of post-war Amsterdam, and the pathos associated with the breaking of the social contract.
This interview was recorded on June 8, 2023, using a Zoom H2n recorder and engineered by KBOO volunteer Ray Bodwell. https://kboo.fm/blog/55224
FROM THE PRESS RELEASE: June 11 – September 24, 2023 Observations of the 400-year history of the Jews of Amsterdam by two master artists will be on view when the museum reopens in June. Created in radically different periods and by two non-Jews, the works of Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) and Henk Pander (1937-2023) portray the evolving life of the Jews of Amsterdam in times of great change. This exhibition is curated by Adjunct Curator for Special Exhibitions Bruce Guenther. Rembrandt’s Amsterdam enjoyed one of the greatest periods of prosperity and culture in history. The wealth of the Dutch Golden Age spurred the building of new canals and stylish neighborhoods to accommodate the rapid population growth of the city. Sephardic Jews, refugees of the Spanish Inquisition, had been the first to arrive. By the mid-seventeenth century, however, the majority of Jews in Amsterdam were Ashkenazi refugees fleeing persecution in central and eastern Europe. Between 1639 and 1659, Rembrandt lived in Amsterdam’s prosperous Sephardic Jewish neighborhood. He accepted commissions for portraits of prominent Jews and studied Jewish theology to better understand and interpret the narrative of the Hebrew Bible.
Rembrandt’s drawings of the daily activities of Jews and his paintings and prints of Hebrew subjects reveal his close relationship with the Jewish community in Amsterdam. Henk Pander grew up in Haarlem during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and saw the destruction of the synagogue and the disappearance of the city’s Jews. On his return trips to Holland in later years, Pander conceived a series of paintings of Amsterdam, which gave powerful form to memories of the darkened, empty windows and silent doorways in the deserted Jewish neighborhoods at the end of the war. Pander reimagines the past as a vehicle to evoke the more than 100,000 Dutch Jews sent to death camps during the Holocaust. Rembrandt frequented the same streets and buildings, then bustling with life, in search of inspiration. The 22 original etchings by Rembrandt are on loan from the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art and the six canvases by Henk Pander are on loan from the artist’s family. Publications about the artists will be available for purchase in the museum shop. The exhibition received support from the Craig E. Wollner Exhibition Fund and a grant from the Ford Family Foundation.
June 11 – August 13, 2023 In 1966 New York publisher Samuel Shore commissioned Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) to create a series of artworks on the theme of the renewal of the Jewish people. “Aliyah, the Rebirth of Israel” is composed of 25 mixed media paintings including gouache, watercolors, and Indian ink on paper. They were reproduced as photolithographs and published in a limited edition presented in a folder with a letter of introduction by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister. The work illustrates the epic history of the return of the Jewish people to their homeland — expressed in drawings, sketches, and water-color paintings by the surrealist master. As inspiration, Dalí looked to the Bible as well as contemporary history to illustrate the meaning of the Hebrew word, “aliyah” which translates as “migration to the land of Israel.” But A Dream explores, among other topics, the place of dream in Jewish life and the dynamic of the encounter between dream and reality in the pursuit of sovereignty and freedom – weighty issues that continue to absorb us today. The exhibition will be accompanied by materials from the museum collection that depict Israel’s history.
But A Dream is presented in observance of Israel’s 75th birthday and has been funded by a grant from the Abraham Perlman Foundation.
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Joseph Gallivan has been a reporter since 1990. He has covered music for the London Independent, Technology for the New York Post, and arts and culture for the Portland Tribune, where he is currently a Feature Writer. He is the author of two novels, "Oi, Ref!" and "England All Over" which are available on Amazon.com email@example.com