"Like the inexorable visions of Dante and Milton, Samuel Bak’s uncontainable cascades of unparalleled images plumb the deeps of the moral imagination. A deluge of genius, they are more than merely rending; they are silencing. They catch at the throat and strangle, they burn with history’s meaning, they strike hard against metaphysical ease. To gaze at Bak’s art is to learn to see and to feel and to know."—Cynthia Ozick, critic and author of Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays
Art & Life: The Story of Samuel Bak traces the development of a child prodigy deeply shaped by the catastrophic events of the Shoah, from his early artistic influences to his years in the Vilna Ghetto and Landsberg DP Camp, his formal training in Israel and Paris, and his fruitful art career in Rome, New York, Switzerland, and Boston. Augmenting the rich existing literature on Bak, Art & Life explores—in thoughtful prose and through reproductions of both iconic and rarely seen work created between 1942 and 2022—how he navigated the prevailing art trends of the mid-twentieth century in search of his own pictorial language. It considers the personal, historical, and artistic currents that led Bak, now aged 90, to create an astonishing body of work that bears witness to cataclysmic events, embodies our common humanity of suffering and hope, and poses questions about the repair of the world.
Samuel Bak was born in 1933 in Vilna, Poland, at a crucial moment in modern history. Bak’s artistic talent was first recognized during an exhibition of his work in the Ghetto of Vilna when he was nine years old. In an artistic career of over seventy years, he has had numerous exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout Israel, Europe, and the United States and has been the subject of numerous articles, scholarly works, and books.
Distributed for Pucker Art Publications
8.5 x 9.75, 360 pages, 255 color and 22 black and white illustrations