Current Events, Current Students, Holocaust Education, Special Projects

Dr. Rachel Perry’s Class Works with the Ghez Collection

This week Dr. Rachel Perry’s class explored the Ghez Collection. The Hecht Museum has a permanent exhibition of a small portion of the Ghez Collection, but the rest of the paintings, drawings and sculptures are in storage.

Oscar Ghez was a prolific art collector, specifically after World War II. During the war, Oscar Ghez and his family fled to New York in 1940, but returned to Paris in 1945. During his time in Paris Oscar Ghez slowly procured what is now the Ghez Collection in the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa. Each of the paintings are from an artist who was either killed in the Holocaust or narrowly survived it. The bulk of the collection is from Nathalie Kraemer and drawings by George Kars. There are 130 pieces total, from 18 different artists. In March 2017,  Dr. Rachel Perry’s class will curate and exhibit in the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa. Part of their work will include creating an exhibition catalogue, graphics for the exhibition, and research on the Ghez Collection itself.

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One of our students doing research in the Hecht Museum archives.

The Ghez Collection was donated the the University of Haifa to honor the artists you were murdered and tortured in the Holocaust. This collection is often referred to as a labor of love. Oscar Ghez’s other collections are shown in the Petit Palais in Geneva. Though, the pieces in the Ghez collection may not be masterpieces from Monet or Seurat, but they are invaluably significant because of their story and provenance. These pieces represent lives and beauty cut short. These artists influenced different movements including the School of Paris and Impressionism. Some of these artists were only in the beginning of their career, what their full impact would have been can never be known. We partner with Ghez in celebrating these brilliant artists and their work whose lives were destroyed.

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Dr. Rachel Perry enjoying the Ghez Collection.

Each of the students in the class is researching at least one artist, for the catalogue which will be published as a part of the exhibition. The students have also been asked to take on specific projects for the exhibition. For example, one of our students is a graphic designer, she will create a poster displaying the origins of the artists before they came to Paris, and where they went after Paris. Most of the artists were killed in Auschwitz, but some, not many, survived by fleeing to New York and other places.

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Dr. Rachel Perry and students, Annika and Jason, in the storage facility.

Our students are working directly with the University Museum Director and Curator. This is invaluable work experience, specifically for our students concentrating on Museum Studies within our program. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of our program, our students are able to have museum work experience, conveniently on campus. We’re looking forward to see the exhibit in March!

Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website: http://holocaust-studies.haifa.ac.il/

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