Charlotte Salomon’s Art, Autobiography and the Holocaust
Born in 1917 in Berlin, German Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon took refuge in the South of France in 1939 with her grandparents, on the grounds of a villa. In 1943, she was deported and killed in Auschwitz. Salomon’s father and step-mother survived the war in Amsterdam and learned soon thereafter that Charlotte had left behind a suitcase with more than 1300 semi-autobiographical, sequenced paintings. They were able to retrieve her work and today, the Jewish Museum in Amsterdam curates the paintings and houses the Charlotte Salomon Foundation. In this lecture, Professor Buerkle will discuss details of Salomon’s oeuvre, while also asking what we can discern from its subsequent management about of the convergence of art, artifact and survivor testimony after 1945.
Darcy Buerkle is Associate Professor of History at Smith College, where she is also an affiliate faculty member in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender and a recent director of the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center (2013-15). In 2012, Professor Buerkle held the Walter Benjamin Chair in German Jewish History and Culture at the Humboldt University-Berlin. She is the author of numerous essays– most recently one that re-reads influence in the work of Käthe Kollwitz (2016)– and her book, Nothing Happened: Charlotte Salomon and an Archive of Suicide, was published in December 2013 by the University of Michigan Press. Professor Buerkle’s current research includes the Austrian-born Jewish director Fred Zinnemann’s early work and a related book project tentatively titled The Force of Elsewhere: Image, Affect and Travel 1935-1950.
History, Art History, German, Scandinavian & Dutch (GSD), Center for Austrian Studies (CAS), Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies (CHGS), Center for German & European Studies (CGES), Smith College Club of Minnesota