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Elizabeth Oppenheim [1907-1993]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

OPPENHEIM, Elizabeth (1907–1993; née Munk)

“Hyde Park Rooftops”

oil on canvas / 17.5 inches by 23.5 inches


“Hyde Park Rooftops” was executed by holocaust survivor and artist Elizabeth Oppenheim, who was born in Austria in 1907 and passed away in Berkeley, California in 1993. “Lilly” as she was known to her friends, was married to A. Leo Oppenheim, a scholar and distinguished assyriologist at the University of Chicago and Oriental Institute in the mid twentieth century. It can be argued that her artistic ability, in particular with greeting cards, wrapping paper, and textiles, enabled her to survive after she fled Nazi occupied Austria to France, and subsequently Portugal before emigrating to the US. She continued to thrive as a textile designer during her first years in New York. When her husband Leo was offered a position at the University of Chicago in 1947, the economic pressure for creating art for economic purposes relented and she was able to pursue her long held passion for painting.

Oppenheim’s painting is one of two perspective views of Chicago rooftops in the collection. It is on loan from Temple Emanu-El.

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