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Finding Her Lost Art Legacy: Elizabeth Rynecki’s Journey

chasing portraitslizphoto 1Sometimes when I need ideas or inspiration for adult Library programs, I head over to the Library’s nonfiction display and see what’s new. (Remember the program Last Chance Mustang? Yup, I found that book during one of my perusals.)

As luck would have it, I happened upon a fascinating book called Chasing Portraits: A Great-Granddaughter’s Quest for Her Lost Art Legacy by Elizabeth Rynecki, and I thought it would make a great library program.

Elizabeth’s story focuses on her great-grandfather, the well-known Polish-Jewish artist Moshe Rynecki. His artwork depicted the everyday lives of the Polish-Jewish community where he lived. A prolific Warsaw-based painter, Moshe’s work included about eight hundred paintings and sculptures at the start of WWII.

In 1943, as the Germans took Warsaw, Moshe was concerned about preserving that work. He and his family packed up his paintings and entrusted them to friends to keep them safe until after the war when he would retrieve them, and the collection would be whole again. Moshe was eventually sent to the Warsaw ghetto and then deported to a Nazi concentration camp where he perished; his art was dispersed all over the world. Moshe’s family survived, however, including Elizabeth’s grandfather, George Rynecki.

While cleaning out George’s family home, Elizabeth stumbled upon journals he had written and soon learned that her family owned only a small portion of Moshe’s artwork and many more pieces remained to be found. It was then that Elizabeth made the decision to set out and find the surviving paintings of Moshe Rynecki, and she’s never looked back.

Please register here and join us on Sunday, October 8, at 2:30pm for a presentation by Elizabeth Rynecki on the life and work of artist Moshe Rynecki, the incredible journey she’s undertaken, and what lies ahead for her in the near future. Books available for purchasing and signing. Co-sponsored by the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.

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