By Hillary Ganton
The current exhibition Fritz Ascher: Expressionist at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery is artistically impressive and historically important. Accordingly, ArtWithHillary February 2019 and ArtWithHillary March 2019 are devoted to an account of the show.
The artist Fritz Ascher (1893–1970) suffered through a horrific period of time from 1933 through 1945 in which he was prohibited from producing art. No one will leave the exhibit without thinking what if the artist had not been denied the freedom to work for twelve years – a period that impacted profoundly the rest of his life.
Thanks to the efforts of the show’s curator Rachel Stern, Director and CEO of the Fritz Ascher Society for Persecuted, Ostracized and Banned Art, Inc., New York, the work of the relatively unknown Ascher has come to light. There was an exhibition of Ascher’s works on paper at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture in 2017, however, the Grey Art Gallery presents his first solo retrospective in America. On view are twenty-three paintings, forty-two works on paper, two sketchbooks and documents relating to the artist’s persecution and personal life. In addition, an informative twenty-two minute biographical video runs continuously.