The personal exhibition of Isaac Vaynschnelboym, the eldest member of the Guild of Jewish Folk Craftsmen took place on October 14, 2018. This even was hosted by Odessa Community of New York, with a help of JASA Senior Alience Center. Odessa, Ukraine – is not only a city where Isaac spent the most of his life, before coming to New York, but also is a place where many famous Jews were born and spent most of their lives. One of them is Isaac Babel, who is depicted on one of portraits drawn by Isaac Vaynschnelboym.
The personal exhibition opened with greeting of the Chairwoman of the Guild – Gulnara Tsiklauri, and of Vice President of the Guild – Evgeniya Rozensvit .Both of them gave insightful evaluations of the works of Isaac Vaynschnelboym.
The name of the exhibition is: The Portraits of Great Jews, outstanding in science, literature, and arts.The people, Isaac whose portraits Isaac choose for this presentation are really great and famous Jews. Everybody knows Sholem Aleichem, Marc Schagal, Isaac Babel, Zigmund Freud, just to name a few. This expo had a format of presentation, in which Isaac Vanschnelboym, together Igor Kazatsker – the president of the Odessa community of New York, told the story behind each portrait. The story included the short bio of the the person depicted, what made him known, and what were his contributions to Jewish community. Also Mr Kazatsker read a poem by Semyon Frug, anecdote from the story of Sholom Aleychem, and a sang song about Amadeo Modigliani, who was surprisingly Jew.
From my personal viewpoint – the most memorable greatest Jews and their portraits are:Isaac Babel, Albert Einstein, Marc Schagal,Shalom Alejchem, Simon Frug, and Iosip Mandelshtam.
Isaac Babel (July 13, 1894- January 27, 1940) was Jewish Russian language playwriter, journalist, historian, etc.
The portrait of Isaac Babel, I’d consider the most colorful word of Isaac Vayschnelboym. Besides Babel himself with a very positive face, the portrait depicts the world he lived in. Above the person, there is a combination of Blue Sky and Black Sea, which is proper to Odessa, just like high sense of humor and ability to trust into the best and never loose the power of spirit. In a left corner of a picture there are colorful pictures which are either bubbles or balloons, which create the impression of lightness one of which depicts someone’s face. In the left lower corner – there are horsemen and horses. I believe they are heroes of – the “Horse Army”, the story written by Babel. In lower right corner – presumably, Mendel Krik (the father of famous Benny Krik) drives his horse-drawn carriage. These are the fragments of Babel’s works of literature.
The childhood of Isaac Vaynschnelboym fell partly on the time Babel lived in, Isaac’s parents lived roughly the same time as Babel did. That’s why Isaac was born and raised in that atmosphere, which serves as a background of Babel’s literature works. That’s what he depicted on Babel’s painting. And don’t forget that both Isaac Babel and Isaac Vaynchnelboys are from Odessa – which also makes our hero of occasion know the best about Babel.
Marc Chagall (July 6, 1887 – March 28, 1985) was born in Vitebsk Belarus. He was Russian-French artist, and I ‘d say he was modernist and surrealist. That’s one who depicts things which are not existent in our real world, but truly have decent figurative meaning. “Fiddler on the Roof” bigger and higher then everything, an eye which is as big as attic of the house, these are just example of surrealism. As I believe Drawing this portrait, Isaac immersed himself in Chagal’s world and became as surrealist as Chagal was for a while. In the bottom part of Isaac’s painting, there are also fragments of Chagal’s paintings. The house with the big eye on the left, depicts and attic where many Jews were hidden during pogroms and fires during the holocaust. They were one can understand – that Chagal meant probably some Jews hiding on attic of a house, meanwhile constantly checking the surrounding swallowed by a pogrom. One of Russian emigre poets, Michael Etelzon believe that “man and woman flying up in skies” is the metaphor of Chagal’s prediction of terrorist attacks, which will be take place 21st century. This setting was very common in times Isaac and his parents lived in. In right part of picture, we see two people swallowed by a horse, which can be a metaphor for a war, kind of Stalin’s repression. World War II as well as collectiviation and Statin’s repression fell on Isaac’s youth. Now our Hero of Occasion vitneses 21 century, – that made him chose the best, what to include on Chagal’s portrair.
The portrait of Sholem Aleichem (Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich) by Issac Vaynschnelboym is realistic. This is a famous Jewish writer known for his works such as Wandering Stars, Tevye’s Daughters (Tevye Milkman), Motl Cantor’s Son and others. Unlike Chagal – Sholom describes the real world of Jewish Settlements, that’s why Isaac depicted Sholom in weary realisting setting, such as his room, desk, bookshelf some portrait on the wall, etc. Isaac was born 8 years after Sholom’s passing, but I believe Isaac’s parents knew Sholom’s world the best. That’s why I find this portrait very impressive. The show host, Igor Kazatsker told us a couple of anecdotes, which can be found in Sholom’s story – and they are very understantable and typical, so as much as Sholom conveys the life in time he live, Isac conveyed his world to us.
Isaac Vanschnelboym with his artworks
This is the way, the presentation took place.
In additions, the presentation features very nice musical desert, performed by the violinist Isaac Shapiro, featuring a medley of Jewish melodies, which are also part of the Jewish world, where the Greatest Jews lived in together with us.