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Mary Costanza collection

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2005.548 | RG Number: RG-24.023

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    The collection contains a variety of materials related to the representation of the Holocaust in the Arts, both by Holocaust survivors and post-Holocaust artists. Much of the material was generated during research for Mary Costanza’s seminal monograph on the topic titled “The Living Witness.”.
    inclusive:  1946-2000
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, The Abraham and Ruth Goldfarb Family Acquisition Fund
    Collection Creator
    Mary Costanza
    Mary Costanza's compassionate interest in the suffering and welfare of humankind often determined the subjects of her paintings. Social commentary became the thrust of her life and art. Early in her artistic career, Costanza's work was dominated by images of mothers and children. She continued to explore this theme for decades, often in the harrowing images of mothers and children in World War II concentration camps. Mary Costanza made her first paintings of the Holocaust while she was a college student at Temple University and met some survivors of concentration camps. She grew increasingly preoccupied with events of WWII during the 1970s and the atrocities began appearing more frequently in her work. She continued to paint these images well into the 1980s. During this period, she was also teaching a course on the art of the Holocaust and working on a book "Living Witness: The Art of the Concentrations Camps." She and husband John traveled to eastern Europe, Israel and across the U.S. to seek information about artists who had lived and created works of art while prisoners of war. The publishing of her book led to several nationally televised interviews. She continued to write, speak and paint through the 1990s. Toward the end of her life, she returned to the theme of mother and child, representing her hope for the future. Her last painting, created just six months before her death in 2000, returns to a tender image of love and compassion.

    Physical Details

    15 boxes
    5 oversize boxes
    System of Arrangement
    Arrangement is thematic.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The collection was acquired from Mr. John Costanza, widower of Mary Costanza, in November 2004.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 17:50:44
    This page:

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