Poland Works, After Vishniac

Kathy Treleani
American

Lodz, Poland 1935
Conte crayon on paper

Based on Roman Vishniac’s photograph with the caption: 

The old woman’s husband had been killed in a pogrom twenty years before. She spoke of her daughter with pride. Lodz, 1935

Kathy Treleani
American

Warsaw, Poland 1938
1986
Conte crayon on paper

Based on Roman Vishniac’s photograph with the caption: 

Jewish Quarter. Warsaw, 1938 

Kathy Treleani is a Pittsburgh-based artist who is known for her naturalistic pencil drawings. These works, based on the photographs of Roman Vishniac (1897-1990), capture scenes of Jewish life in Poland before the war. These two pieces show the diversity of Jewish life in Poland. Each piece shows someone who appears to be young and modern and someone older with more traditional clothing.

From 1935-1938, Vishniac covertly photographed Jewish communities in central and eastern Europe. He produced some of the most iconic images of Jewish life in Europe before the Holocaust. He did not realize he was documenting a world that would soon be destroyed. A selection of these photographs was published in a collection entitled A Vanished World in 1977.

“He loves them all,” wrote Elie Wiesel in the foreword to A Vanished World, “the rabbis and their pupils, the peddlers and their customers, the beggars and the cantors, the sad old men and the smiling young ones. He loves them because the world they live in did not and because death has already marked them for its own—death and oblivion as well.”

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