Today in Yiddishkayt… January 3
Yortsayt of Ber Zalkind, Artist
Ber Zalkind was born in 1878 in the city of Vilna and died 68 years ago today on January 3, 1944 near Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Zalkind was a major part of the visual art scene in his hometown. As a young man, he studied painting in Paris where he was hevily influenced by Impressionism. Hee returned to Vilna where he helped found the Vilna Arts Society and served as its secretary.
Zalkind also taught at the city’s schools and was an art critic for the Vilner Tog and Etyudn both based in Vilna, and wrote essays on art and theory of art for the Literarishe Bleter in Warsaw. Like many Vilna artists, the city features prominently in Zalkind’s colorist cityscapes.
Under Zalkind’s leadership, the Arts Society organized popular public events — opening the doors to the city for its “Satudray Gatherings.” These became so successful that in 1912 a Zalkind, together with his colleagues Antanas Žmuidzinavičius and Ivan Rybakov began organizing cabarets, parties, and masquerade balls. The thematic parties included: A Parisian Inn, A Stray Dog in Montmartre, Hell, and At the Witch’s House.
Below is a gallery of some of Zalkind’s etchings of the city of Vilna (click to enlarge). More of his work can be found at this gallery at the Ghetto Fighters House in Israel.