Moshe Rynecki’s body of work reached close to 800 paintings and sculptures before his life came to a tragic end in the Holocaust. In “Chasing Portraits,” great-granddaughter Elizabeth seeks to rediscover his legacy. The everyday lives of the Polish-Jewish community depicted in Rynecki’s paintings simply blended into the background of Elizabeth’s life when she was growing up. But the art transformed from familiar to extraordinary in her eyes after her grandfather, Moshe’s son, left behind journals detailing the losses, including his father’s artworks, that her ancestors had endured during World War II. Knowing that her family had only found a small portion of Moshe’s art and that many more pieces remained to be discovered, Elizabeth set out to locate them. Before Moshe was deported to the ghetto, he entrusted his work to friends who would keep it safe. After he was killed in the Majdanek concentration camp, the art was dispersed all over the world. With the help of historians, curators, and admirers of Moshe’s work, Elizabeth began the difficult task of rebuilding his collection. Spanning three decades of Elizabeth’s life and three generations of her family, this touching documentary is a compelling narrative that explores the richness of one man’s art, the devastation of war, and one woman’s unexpected path to healing.
CountryCanada Israel Poland U.S.
Film CategoryArt & Architecture Spotlight International Spotlight Leon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight Women in Film Spotlight
SubjectArt Family Issues Holocaust Jewish War
Alison & John Ferring