The Way of Liberty


Boris Lurie | War Series 67 [The way of liberty (?)]
circa 1946 - [?] | two pages: [R] ink on paper
[V] blue pencil on paper | 26 x 19.7 cm | © Boris Lurie Art Foundation, New York, USA

© Boris Lurie Art Foundation, New York, USA

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»My sympathy is with the mouse, but I feed the cat.«

Boris Lurie

The Way of Liberty (?): Boris Lurie – whose family used to call him “Boris Why?” – added a bracketed question mark to the title of this work. Scrutinising all events and circumstances saved his life, but at the same time prevented him from sitting back and tolerating his surroundings. The burning questions remained the driving force behind his uncomfortable art.
In this pen-and-ink drawing, Lurie’s memories of concentration camp, deportations and fatal escapes merge together with impressions from the refugee camps and his own journey into a new, different reality.
To begin with, New York could only be a superficial liberation for the young man who, in the America of the late 1940s and 1950s, witnessed only silence and disinterest towards the victims of the Shoah. “Forget about the past, you are in America now” – this was the line to be toed by the immigrants, who barely even discussed the horrors of the past with one another.
This drawing, along with 87 other works, belonged to the “War Series”, which Lurie saw as being his “private pictures”, and which were not produced with a view to being exhibited or shown to other people. With a divergence of styles and materials, Lurie created a gallery of memories, bearing belated witness to the worst yet most formative years of his life.

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