Anna Walinska’s Self-Portrait Becomes Part of The Jewish Museum’s Collection on the 60th Anniversary of Her First Solo Show at the Museum

  • New York, NY
  • September 25, 2017

Anna Walinska’s Self Portrait (1936) has been given to The Jewish Museum in New York by her niece, Rosina Rubin. The recent donation commemorates the 60th anniversary of Anna Walinska’s first solo show, in which the Museum presented twenty- ve years of work in an exhibition on view from September 10 to October 13, 1957. Taking place a few years after Walinska’s extended sojourn in Burma, some of the works in the exhibition were in uenced by her Jewish heritage and the inspiration of the East.

Self Portrait is an oil on canvas (16 x 20-1/4). In the accompanying brochure, Dr. Stephen Kayser, then the Museum’s director, wrote: “This exhibit can be regarded as a visual lesson in abstraction — a term still vague and of many meanings, but indispensable in the interpretation of contemporary art… In Anna Walinska’s work, color evaporates continuously to give way to a skeleton of essential forms… Her paintings rather pre-suppose color values and stimulate color re ections in the imagination of the onlooker. In this double abstraction, of form and color, a process of spiritualization takes place, analogous to those schools in Far Eastern art which dismiss color to provoke imagination.”

“Sixty years ago my aunt had her first solo show at the Jewish Museum. It is my privilege to give this painting to the museum that had such an impact on my aunt’s career,” explained Rosina Rubin, Walinska’s niece and donor of the painting. “I am thrilled to see the Self Portrait going to the home where it belongs.”

The painting was rst exhibited at the Guild Art Gallery on West 57th Street in New York City, founded and run by Walinska from 1935-1937. A few years ago, it appeared as the cover illustration of American Jewish History, a publication of the American Jewish Historical Society, in connection with an article by Andrea Pappas, associate professor of Art History at Santa Clara University.

Born in London and raised in New York City, Anna Walinska left home at the age of 19 to study painting in Paris where she lived around the corner from Gertrude Stein, studied under André Lhote and spent time with Poulenc and Schoenberg at the literal center of the modernism movement.

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