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New Exhibition at Yad Vashem “An Arduous Road: Samuel Bak - 60 Years of Creativity”

05 December 2006

On Friday, December 8, 2006, “An Arduous Road: Samuel Bak - 60 years of Creativity”, will open at Yad Vashem’s Exhibitions Pavilion. Samuel Bak was born in Vilna, Lithuania in 1933, and began to draw at an early age; his drawings were first displayed at the age of 9 in the Vilna ghetto in 1943.

The exhibition, a retrospective of the artist’s work, is comprised of 116 paintings and drawings, spanning the years between Bak’s stay at the Landsberg Displaced Persons Camp, immediately after the war, to the present. All art works on display confront the theme of the Holocaust and its remembrance. The exhibition follows a chronological and thematic arrangement. Many of the works exhibited have never been on display, while others will have their Israeli début.

The opening will take place in the presence of Ambassador of Lithuania H.E. Mrs. Asta Skaisgiryte Liauskiene, celebrated author Amos Oz, renowned artist Samuel Bak, and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev.

Bak’s grandparents were murdered at Ponary, and his father was killed just a few days before the Russians liberated Vilna. After the war’s end, he arrived at the Landsberg DP camp in Germany. Bak immigrated to Israel in 1948, attended the Bezalel Academy of Art in Jerusalem, refining his skills under such celebrated artists as Steinhardt, Ascheim and Ardon. In 1956, he continued his studies at l’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Since then he has lived and worked in Rome, Israel, New York, Paris and Lausanne, before finally settling in Weston, Massachusetts.

Commenting on the exhibition, Bak said:

“To tell the truth, I am still stunned by the fact that my long and exhausting journey pursuing my art has ended at a finishing line, which could not have any greater meaning for me, here in this exhibition at Yad Vashem… I don’t know if there is any place on earth that is more appropriate for exhibiting my work. These paintings have been my home during the different chapters of my life and my experiences. These are paintings, in which you are an integral part. If this is not a homecoming, then I don’t know what is.”

Curator of Exhibition: Yehudit Sender; Assistant Curator of Exhibition Keren Katsir Stiebel. The exhibition was made possible with the generous support of the Pucker Gallery (USA), the Ann Bronfman Foundation (USA), the Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation (USA), Dr. and Mrs. Gary Stein of the Millstein Charitable Foundation (USA) Mr. Edgar Bronfman (USA), the Solomon Family Charitable Trust (UK), and Dr. André and Carolyne Bollag (Switzerland).