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Napoleon Street, Montreal

Abraham Manievich (American, b. Russia, 1881-1942)

Napoleon Street, Montreal, 1930

  • Oil on canvas
  • 36 1/4 x 40 1/4 in. (92.1 x 102.2 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Bequest of Saul Kasdan, 2002-20

Not on view

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Napoleon Street, Montreal

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Napoleon Street, Montreal



Abraham Manievich painted this scene many years after he created Destruction of the Ghetto, Kiev and after he immigrated to America. Although both works are cityscapes painted with expressive colors and brushwork, they are drastically different in the use of color and rendering of form. There are still cubist facets and sharply differentiated planes in this painting, but a different mood is created. The dark colors and sharp angles of the ghetto have been replaced with the light and life of the streets in the Jewish section of Montreal. Nature is more visible here. While there is no life at all (other than the goat) in Destruction of the Ghetto, Kiev, here the trees bristle with lush leaves.

Discuss:

  • Describe what you see in this painting. What do you notice about the colors, shapes, and subject matter? What adjectives would you use to describe this painting?

  • How does this painting compare with Destruction of the Ghetto, Kiev? How are the two works similar? How are they different?

  • Compare the environments in both works. How are the two landscapes different?

    After the Pogrom

    Maurycy Minkowski (Polish, 1881-1930)

    After the Pogrom, c. 1910

    • Oil on canvas
    • 40 7/8 x 60 in. (103.9 x 152.4 cm)
    • The Jewish Museum, New York
    • Gift of Lester S. Klein, 1986-80

    Not on view

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    After the Pogrom

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    After the Pogrom

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    A group of women and children—the survivors of a pogrom—sit silently in the midst of their belongings. Perhaps lost in thought, they seem physically and emotionally exhausted. Behind them, townspeople trudge along the dusty road of the village, many bent under the weight of their worldly possessions and burdened emotionally by their life experience.

    Maurycy Minkowski (1881–1931) painted this scene in 1910. Born in Warsaw, Minkowski interpreted the lives and suffering of Eastern European Jews through his realist-style paintings. Like many of his works, After the Pogrom reflects a keen sense of isolation and dislocation. Although the characters are all suffering the same fate, there is no interaction among them. Each seems to be caught in his or her own universe of despair. The grey-brown palette contributes to the painting's somber tone.

    Although Minkowski’s painting is less abstract than Manievich’s Destruction of the Ghetto, Kiev, it is not purely realist in its representation either. The figures are somewhat idealized, and the juxtaposed patterns and textures create an almost collage-like effect. The arrangement of figures in the background recalls a classical frieze. Note also the visual reference to the Madonna and Child in the foreground.

    Discuss:

    • Describe what you see in this painting. What do you notice about the figures—their expressions, their clothing, their body language?

    • What story is suggested by this painting? What do you see to support your ideas? Where and when is it taking place? Why are there no men in the group? Where might these people be going? What might they be thinking?

    • What is the mood of this painting? How does the artist communicate this mood through his use of color, composition, and line?

    • Look at this painting in relation to Destruction of the Ghetto, Kiev by Abraham Manievich. How do the paintings compare in terms of style? Subject matter? Mood? Which painting do you find more compelling? Why?