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Asheville Art Museum debuts two important exhibitions remembering the history of Nazi Germany
Erich Hartmann, barbed wire, Buchenwald KZ; near Weimar, Germany, 1994, gelatin silver print, 20 x 16 inches. ©Erich Hartmann / Magnum Photos.

ASHEVILLE, NC.- The Asheville Art Museum debuted two important and evocative exhibitions recognizing the history and haunting memory of Nazi Germany during World War II and the legacy of those who survived. Survivors and Liberators: Portraits by Wilma Bulkin Siegel and In the Camps: Photographs by Erich Hartmann is on view in the Museum’s East Wing beginning Saturday, December 15, 2012 with an opening reception taking place on the evening of Saturday, January 12, 2013 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. (free with membership or regular Museum admission).

Survivors and Liberators: Portraits by Wilma Bulkin Siegel
Saturday, December 15, 2012 – Sunday, March 31, 2013
Asheville Art Museum | East Wing

In 2003 Wilma Siegel began painting portraits of what is, sadly, a dwindling population: Holocaust survivors living in South Florida. While the number of potential subjects is vast— as many 15,000—it is hardly permanent. The realization that so many of these faces and stories are passing away has led Siegel to begin this project, which also includes World War II veterans.

Siegel’s often grand-scaled watercolors are bold, direct and very personal portraits. She incorporates photographs and other mementos belonging to the subjects into their portraits, each of which represents a casual intimacy while also serving as a chronicle, a record of a life lived fully. A short biography of the subject accompanies each portrait, retracing their route from Europe’s concentration camps to life in the United States.

This exhibition was organized and curated by the Asheville Art Museum with support from Mills Manufacturing Corporation, and with special thanks to Annegreth Nill.

In the Camps: Photographs by Erich Hartmann
Saturday, December 15, 2012 – Sunday, April 14, 2013
Asheville Art Museum | East Wing
Born in Munich, Germany, Erich Hartmann was sixteen when he and his family came to the United States as refugees from Nazi persecution. After the war he worked in New York City as an assistant to a portrait photographer, and later as a freelance photographer. In l952 he was invited to join Magnum Photos, an international photographers’ cooperative founded two years after the end of WWII.

Hartmann first became known to a wider public in the l950’s through a series of photo essays for Fortune magazine, beginning with The Deep North (1956). Throughout his career, he traveled widely on assignments for major magazines published in the U.S., Europe and Japan. His principal interest in photography, as in life, was the way in which people relate both to their natural surroundings and to the environments they create.

In his late years, Hartmann undertook a winter journey to photograph the mute and horrifying remains of the Nazi concentration and extermination camps, resulting in the book and exhibition In the Camps, published in l995 in four languages and exhibited in more than twenty venues in the U.S. and Europe in the years since. The Asheville Art Museum is honored to host this important and evocative exhibition.

This exhibition was organized and curated by the Asheville Art Museum with special thanks to Magnum Photos and Ruth Hartmann.

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