(Christmas Celebration) by Esther Hamerman

(Christmas Celebration) by Esther Hamerman

(Christmas Celebration)

Esther Hamerman

Title

(Christmas Celebration)

 
Artist
Year
c. 1945  
Technique
oil on canvas 
Image Size
29 1/4 x 20 1/4" canvas size 
Signature
pigment, lower left 
Edition Size
1 of 1 unique 
Annotations
 
Reference
 
Paper
 
State
 
Publisher
 
Inventory ID
18550 
Price
$20,000.00 
Description

Esther Wachsmann Hamerman was a true primitive, she started painting at age 60 at the urging of her daughter, artist Helen Breger (1918-2013). After 40 years living in Vienna, Austria the family, who were Jewish, left Vienna to escape the Nazis in 1938, landing first in Trinidad, then the British West Indies. There, they spent the war years interned in a camp, managing to immigrate to the U.S. at the end of the war. Encouraged by her youngest daughter and son-in-law, Hamerman took up painting.

Two of her works were entered in a national competition at the Whitney Museum in New York, winning a prize and beginning her career as a painter at the age of sixty. One of her paintings is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Hamerman drew on her memories, probably of pre-war Vienna, to paint this Christmas scene, with Santa Claus and a decorated tree. Skiers and skaters, children and adults move through the foreground randomly, changing sizes along with the buildings, a bus, streetlights etc. to balance the composition and activate the situation.

Hamerman, like all primitives, made up her own rules - and they work!

 

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