Hope to see you at a Chasing Portraits book event this fall! Don’t see a venue near you? Stay tuned for the addition of more events! Event Details
At the end of my Chasing Portraits talk I have a slide that says, “My Goal: To share my great-grandfather’s artwork with others.” And then just below that it says, “Things you can do to help.” Author Eileen Grafton, has taken my call for help to heart in a blog post she wrote after attending my most recent talk at the Sausalito Woman’s Club.” I’m excerpting the first two paragraphs of her blog post titled, “History’s Footprints,” here and then providing a link over to her blog for the rest.
“History always leaves a legacy behind for those who are willing to look for it.
Elizabeth Rynecki is one such seeker. Recently I attended a talk Elizabeth gave about her “Chasing Portraits” film project, held in a beautiful women’s clubhouse nestled in the Sausalito hills overlooking San Francisco Bay. Elizabeth is the great-granddaughter of Moshe Rynecki, a prolific Warsaw-based artist who documented the Polish Jewish community in the interwar years (1918-39) in over 800 paintings and sculptures. Sadly, most of his body of work was lost in the Holocaust. Or so people thought.” [Read the rest on Eileen’s blog]
How do I know Eileen? She first reached out to me on Twitter because of her interest in history, family legacies, the Second World War, and my recent trip to Poland. Eileen’s passions are history and story. She writes historical fiction and is at work on two books with historical ties to the Middle East. On her “about me,” blog page she writes, “One is an archaeological suspense linking 1st century Israel to modern-day America. The second is a Holocaust Survivor love story I’m writing with co-author Susy Flory. My blog entries deal with my love of history, writing, and sometimes a bit of whimsey.”
Thank you, Eileen, and all who help me to share my great-grandfather’s art and the Chasing Portraits story!
I arrived in Omaha Monday evening. Tuesday (3/18/2014) was a busy day. First up was a talk in the Holocaust class run by Dr. Waitman Beorn. My talk, “The #mrynecki Project” focused on the importance of the role of the internet in general and social media in particular in my quest to find and learn more about my great-grandfather’s life and lost art. The students asked fabulous questions in the Q&A – clearly an engaged and thoughtful crowd! The classroom talk was filmed by Aaron and Molly, the lovely and fabulous owners of The Silver Screen, an Omaha video production company. Molly and Aaron also spent some time with me outside on the quad after the talk so we could get some nice footage of me walking on campus in front of academic buildings as well as the UNO campanile.
Tuesday evening I spoke at the Kaneko, “a non-profit cultural organization, exploring and encouraging the process of creativity, and how it impacts our lives.” The space is absolutely amazing! Located in three historic warehouse buildings in Omaha’s Old Market District, the Kaneko shows many different art exhibitions and offers a variety of original programming that brings in speakers and events that take advantage of its spaciousness and projection space. My talk, “Chasing Portraits: A great-granddaughter’s search for her lost art legacy” is an introduction to my great-grandfather’s body of work, an overview of Holocaust era art looting and restitution, and my efforts in the last decade to find my great-grandfather’s lost paintings. I took this photograph (bottom right) before the seats filled up – I would say that ultimately there were over 100 people in attendance!
Here are some more photos from yesterday:
Selfie in front of a University of Nebraska, Omaha, academic building.
Group-selfie in the Holocaust class where I spoke
Selfie with Aaron and Molly – my in class film crew
A big shout out of thanks to Dr. Waitman Beorn who brought me to Omaha! Waitman and I after the classroom talk.
Dan, myself, and Dave – my on-site film crew at the Kaneko
The Kaneko space where I spoke before the crowd arrived
In the spring of last year I was asked to give a talk at congregation Bet Haverim in Davis, California. I didn’t have a talk prepared, but my academic background is in rhetoric, and I taught public speaking in graduate school, so I didn’t think it would be too difficult to put something together, and I accepted the offer. The audience of about a hundred was really supportive and enthusiastic. I loved the experience of speaking in front of a crowd. Often on this journey I feel all alone, so it was really energizing to share my story with a caring crowd. The chance to tell more people about the paintings along with the warm reaction made me think additional talks would be worthwhile. So when planning our subsequent family vacation to Boston, I got in touch with Boston3G, a group of grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, and asked if I could give my talk to their group. They said they’d be happy to have me. The crowd in Boston was smaller than the one in Davis, but they were also hugely supportive. Given that I had told them I was headed to Toronto in the fall to film an interview with a man who had four Moshe Rynecki paintings in his home, a number of audience members suggested I give my talk at the University of Toronto.
Thinking it was a longshot, I reached out to the University of Toronto’s Center for Jewish Studies and explained my talk and my reason for travelling to Toronto. They must have thought I was half crazy for asking for an [Read more…]
I’m speaking in Boston on Thursday June 13th 2013 about the Moshe Rynecki paintings and story. [Read more…]