Exhibitionin New York, NY / United States
Beginning 30 September, Hauser & Wirth will debut ‘Erna Rosenstein: Once Upon a Time,’ the first monographic exhibition outside of Poland devoted to the artist (1913 – 2004) whose wartime survival, commitment to Surrealism, and lifelong adherence to leftist ideologies course through a remarkable array of paintings, drawings, and assemblage sculptures, as well as poems, diaristic writings, and deceptively whimsical children’s stories. Steeped in an extraordinary history and responding to the Nazi occupation of Poland, personal traumas suffered in the Holocaust, the postwar sociopolitical upheaval of her native country, and passionate engagement in the intellectual circles of her times, Erna Rosenstein’s work defies simple classification. Her six-decades long career was fueled by the formation of prewar artistic, intellectual, and political affiliations, and is expressed through her continued oscillation between autobiographical figuration and biomorphic abstraction. Grappling with themes of memory, trauma, longing, and loss, she used paint, ink, and found materials to suggest a world tinged with allegory, enchantment, and fairy tale.
‘Once Upon a Time’ has been organized by curator Alison M. Gingeras and brings together over forty works rarely seen outside of Poland, including institutional loans of landmark paintings and works from The Estate of Erna Rosenstein being exhibited publicly for the first time since the artist’s death in 2004. ‘Erna Rosenstein: Once Upon a Time’ is Hauser & Wirth’s first presentation of the artist’s work since undertaking representation of her estate in 2019, in collaboration with Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw. On the occasion of this exhibition, Hauser & Wirth Publishers will release a substantial catalogue offering new scholarship and research into Rosenstein’s work.
Born in 1913 in Lwów (now the Ukrainian city Lviv) and raised in Kraków, Erna Rosenstein emerged as part of the Polish avant-garde in the 1930s, associated with the Kraków Group. She studied at the Wiener Frauen Akademie in Vienna in 1932-1934 and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków between 1934-1937. She was part of a tight-knit circle whose artistic innovations were rooted in socially progressive left-leaning politics and who mobilized actions under the Communist Union of Polish Youth. As part of the Kraków Group, she identified with such fellow artists as Jonasz Stern, Jadwiga Maziarska, and especially, Tadeusz Kantor, whose underground experimental artistic and theater activities embraced Surrealism. In late 1937, prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, she spent several months in Paris where she saw the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme (International Surrealist Exhibition) organized by André Breton and Paul Éluard. Passing through Germany on her way home to Poland, she also visited the Berlin edition of the Nazi Party’s notorious Degenerate Art Exhibition. These two shows made a profound impact upon Rosenstein’s early artistic ideas and undoubtedly influenced her storied career.
Gallery hours Tues–Sat 10 am – 6 pm
In accordance with local guidelines and to ensure the health and safety of all our guests and staff, masks are required inside the exhibition, as well as proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
For further information please refer to current local guidelines provided by New York City as well as the CDC website.
Hauser & Wirth New York
32 East 69th Street
10021 New York, NY