Samuel Bak: A Retrospective of Seven Decades

Guardians of Memory, 1991, oil on linen. Image courtesy of Pucker Gallery.
Guardians of Memory, 1991, oil on linen. Image courtesy of Pucker Gallery.

Born in Vilna, Poland, in 1933, artist Samuel Bak began painting as a boy. The first exhibition of his work was held in the Vilna Ghetto when he was 9 years old. Mr. Bak and his mother were the only members of his family to survive the Holocaust. After World War II, they fled to the Landsberg Displaced Persons Camp, and Mr. Bak enrolled in painting lessons at the Blocherer School in Munich. He and his mother immigrated to Israel in 1948, where he studied at the Bezalel Art School in Jerusalem. His first exhibition of abstract paintings was held in Rome in 1959. Since 1959, Samuel Bak has had solo exhibitions at private galleries around the world, with large retrospective exhibitions held at numerous museums, universities and public institutions, including The FHM. Mr. Bak has spent his life wrestling with his experience during the Holocaust, creating a legacy of testimony through his art.

The FHM is proud to present its newest original exhibition, a new retrospective of Mr. Bak’s work, co-curated by the artist and The FHM Curator of Exhibitions & Collections Erin Blankenship, including never seen before artwork from the artist’s private collection.

The exhibition, curated by the artist himself, will officially open at 2016’s To Life: To the Arts gala on February 18, at which Mr. Bak will receive the Loebenberg Humanitarian Award. Click here for more information on To Life.

The lessons of the Holocaust, as explored in the paintings of one of its survivors, can surely be applied to the scourges of evil that currently exist. We must be purposeful in the conviction that human life is inherently worthy in order to combat present-day terrorism and violence and prevent future genocides. Art can be a powerful tool in the humanist’s arsenal, exposing evil and espousing hope. ~ Jeanne V. Koles

From the exhibition catalogue, Samuel Bak: A Retrospective of Seven Decades
An original publication by The Florida Holocaust Museum