Chasing Portraits: A Great-Granddaughter's Quest for Her Lost Art Legacy

Chasing Portraits: A Great-Granddaughter's Quest for Her Lost Art Legacy

by Elizabeth Rynecki


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The memoir of one woman’s emotional quest to find the art of her Polish-Jewish great-grandfather, lost during World War II.
Moshe Rynecki’s body of work reached close to eight hundred paintings and sculptures before his life came to a tragic end. It was his great-granddaughter Elizabeth who sought to rediscover his legacy, setting upon a journey to seek out what had been lost but never forgotten…
The everyday lives of the Polish-Jewish community depicted in Moshe Rynecki’s paintings simply blended into the background of Elizabeth Rynecki’s life when she was growing up. But the art transformed from familiar to extraordinary in her eyes after her grandfather, Moshe’s son George, left behind journals detailing the loss her ancestors had endured during World War II, including Moshe’s art. Knowing that her family had only found a small portion of Moshe’s art, and that many more pieces remained to be found, Elizabeth set out to find them.
Before Moshe was deported to the ghetto, he entrusted his work to friends who would keep it safe. After he was killed in the Majdanek concentration camp, the art was dispersed all over the world. With the help of historians, curators, and admirers of Moshe’s work, Elizabeth began the incredible and difficult task of rebuilding his collection.
Spanning three decades of Elizabeth’s life and three generations of her family, this touching memoir is a compelling narrative of the richness of one man’s art, the devastation of war, and one woman’s unexpected path to healing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101987667
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/06/2016
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 813,301
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Rynecki is the great-granddaughter of the Polish-Jewish artist Moshe Rynecki. In 1999, Elizabeth designed the original Moshe Rynecki: Portrait of a Life in Art website. Today, she continues to keep it up to date with information on academic research, educational resources, and tracking lost Rynecki paintings.

Randye Kaye is an accomplished voice talent, actress, singer, broadcaster, and author. She received a Listen-Up Award nomination and starred reviews for Ben Behind His Voices, which she also wrote, bringing together the various facets of her career.

Read an Excerpt


Excerpted from "Chasing Portraits"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Elizabeth Rynecki.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Chapter 1 A Jewish Girl Should Know 5

Chapter 2 The Trouble with Moshe 21

Chapter 3 Paintings 31

Chapter 4 Defying Hitler 61

Chapter 5 Displaced 77

Chapter 6 Italy 91

Chapter 7 Legacy 109

Chapter 8 Cultural Assets-Lost Art 133

Chapter 9 A Loan Request 151

Chapter 10 Gifting Moshe's Paintings 171

Chapter 11 Serendipity 189

Chapter 12 Toronto, Canada 201

Chapter 13 University of Toronto 221

Chapter 14 Schneid Archive 231

Chapter 15 Poland 241

Chapter 16 The Jewish Historical Institute 259

Chapter 17 A Tour of POLIN 271

Chapter 18 Majdanek 277

Chapter 19 Kazimierz Dolny 293

Chapter 20 Playing Ball 299

Chapter 21 Roadblocks 311

Chapter 22 A Shared Heritage 331

Chapter 23 Looking Forward 339

Acknowledgments 347

A Note About Sources 349

Annotated Bibliography in Regards to the Rynecki Family Story 375

Selected Bibliography 381

Known Exhibitions 387

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