One Man's Art. One Woman's Unexpected Path to Healing - DATE CORRECTION
The Story of her quest to find the art of her Polish-Jewish great-grandfather
September 12, 2019
The Men's Group of Temple Akiba of Culver City is hosting a showing of the documentary film, "Chasing Portraits." The film will be followed by a Q&A with the film maker, Elizabeth Rynecki. The event will take place on Tuesday, Septtember17 at 7 p.m. This is open to the public and is a free event.
The memoir of one woman's emotional quest to find the art of her Polish-Jewish great-grandfather, lost during World War II.
From the review by rogerebert.com, "The documentary "Chasing Portraits" details the personal journey undertaken by director Elizabeth Rynecki, who spent the last decade in pursuit of her great-grandfather, Moshe's artwork. The elder Rynecki was a prolific painter in his native Poland, turning out numerous depictions of the lives of Polish Jews before World War II.
"When Hitler rose to power, Moshe's son, George, was able to pass in order to keep his wife and children from being sent to the Polish ghettos. However, Moshe's ties to his community were too strong for him to leave it. He remained in the Warsaw ghetto until he was eventually killed by the Nazis at the Majdanek concentration camp.
"After the war, Moshe Rynecki's wife would recover 120 of his 800 paintings, which were now historical snapshots of the Polish-Jewish way of life that had been destroyed by the Holocaust. Several other pieces of his artwork would end up in places as prestigious as a Jerusalem art museum and as personal as a private art collector's wall. "We think we have a legitimate claim to some of these paintings," Elizabeth's father, Alex says while showing some of the rescued materials he owns.
"But 'Chasing Portraits' is ultimately not about Elizabeth's attempt to retrieve or reclaim the works for her family. Rather, she explores how these items wound up where they did, and whether they should remain where they are. In pursuing these questions, the film touches on issues like artistic intent. After all, Moshe Rynecki's art is such a love letter to his people that he must have wanted them to see it, no matter where it was. It meant so much to him that he hid it away from the Nazis for safekeeping.
"The family's collection of paintings had always intrigued the young Elizabeth. Her grandmother endured the difficult task of trying to collect as much as she could after the war. As an adult, Elizabeth started a website documenting Moshe's output. After ramping up her social media presence, she was invited to speak to several Jewish groups about her family history and her quest to discover lost artwork. These events led her to her hearing from people who were in possession of Moshe's work."