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Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History
Vilniaus Gaono Žydų Istorijos Muziejus



Published: 2017-10-13

At the end of 2016, the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum signed historical artwork donation agreement with the artist Samuel Bak (born in Vilnius in 1933), living in Boston, and his representative, the Pucker Gallery. The museum will receive 37 valuable works of art, which reflect the creative development of Samuel Bak, related to his personal story, marked by the Second World War. This collection will become the basis of the museum, scheduled to be opened to the public already this November.

The Museum of Samuel Bak will be opened in the premises of the Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum. The space on the ground and first floors of the building on Naugarduko St. 10 will be dedicated especially to the art of S. Bak and related educational activities. The works of art of S. Bak will be exhibited in two spacious halls on the first floor, while on the ground floor Education Center will be established. The first exposition space with 37 works of art, dating from the first half of the XX century until the first decade of the XXI century, will be opened in November, 2017.
The basis of the collection – paintings along with few lithographs, collages, ink or chalk drawings. 37 works of art reached the museum yet in 2011, when the exhibition “Samuel Bak. Stations in Life” was opened for 3 months as one of the events of Year of Remembrance for Holocaust Victims (2011) in Lithuania. The exhibition, organized under the patronage of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania and the American Center in Vilnius, received lots of favorable attention.
According to the agreement with the Pucker Gallery, signed in 2011, the works of art were rented to the museum for long term. According to the trilateral agreement with Samuel Back and the Pucker Gallery, signed in 2016, the 37 works of art will be donated to the museum once the first exposition space will be opened, and 88 more works, which will provide the opportunity to change and renew the exhibitions, will be donated upon the opening of the second space.
It is worth noting that, besides the works of arts that had been lent to the museum, more than sixty other works of art of Samuel Bak, including albums of sketches, lithographs and valuable first paintings, created yet in the Vilna Ghetto in 1942-1943 by drawing on the old pages of the ancient chronicle (Pinkas) of the Vilna Jewish Community, are in the collections of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum.
During the years of Nazi occupation, S. Bak lived in a ghetto, HKP forced labour camp, hid in a monastery in Vilnius. In 1945 he found himself in a displaced persons camp in Germany, in 1948 emigrated to Israel, later lived in France, Italy and Switzerland. In 1939 the artist settled in Weston, Massachusetts.
Artistic and deeply meaningful heritage of S. Bak can be also presented from a historical-anthropological perspective. Through the personal experiences of one person, destiny of the Lithuanian Jews can be told: imprisonment in the ghetto, death or miraculous salvation, search for home and self-realization in the international sphere, creative activities, marked by posttraumatic syndrome. The undercurrent of each work art remains the same intangible space of deep metaphysical questions which concern the humankind. 
At the opening of the exhibition „Samuel Bak. Stations in Life“ in 2011 the greeting word of S. Bak was read: „Paintings are born from the depth of my imagination, and the creative process constantly changes, including a never-ending search for meaning and form. The nature of the world, the fragility of our human state, the wish to „fix“ what has already been done appear in the paintings. The fact that these paintings are in Vilnius is the expression of my gratitude to those very special heroes of my life – Juozas Stakauskas, Marija Mikulska, Vladas Žemaitis, to those righteous Christians who risked their lives in order to save mine at the times of horror and annihilation. I dedicate my art to all the good people that are fighting racism and intolerance, to those, who are trying to remove the nondescript evil with its roots – evil that we, people, are able to inflict upon our brothers and sisters“. The rescue story of S. Bak is told at the exhibition „Rescued Lithuanian Jewish Child Tells about the Shoah“.
At the education space of the Museum of Samuel Bak educational activities, dedicated to both adults and children, will be organized, discussions about the art of S. Bak and its symbols will be held.
We kindly invite you to contribute to the establishment of the Museum of Samuel Bak. For more information, please contact the Head of the Tolerance Center and the curator of the exposition of Samuel Bak, Ieva Šadzevičienė, via tel. (8-5) 262 9666 or e-mail ieva.sadzeviciene@jmuseum.lt.
Information about the beneficiary:
Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum
Code of the legal entity: 190757374
Address: Naugarduko St. 10/2, Vilnius, LT-01309
Settling account number: 417044060001122232, AB SEB bank
Please indicate that the purpose of your payment is a donation to the Museum of Samuel Bak.
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