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Self portrait by Josef Nassy

Object | Accession Number: 1992.191.1

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    Brief Narrative
    Self portrait by Josef Nassy. This is the only known portrait of the artist. It was made while Nassy was incarcerated in Nazi Germany. The painting was presented to Tony Clark by Mrs. Nassy in appreciation for his efforts to preserve Nassy's collection of paintings and drawings known as The Holocaust Suite.
    creation:  1946
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Tony Clark
    Artist: Josef Nassy
    Subject: Josef Nassy
    Josef Nassy was born in 1904 in Paramaribo, Suriname (the Dutch Guiana.) He was the seventh of nine children. His father Adolf was a prosperous businessman and member of Parliament. He was a descendant of Jews who fled Spain during the Inquisition, and spoke Yiddish, but was not religious. Josef was also of African descent. In 1919, Josef joined his father, in New York. He had taken art classes since a child, and now attended the Pratt Institute. He received a degree in industrial electrical engineering and worked in London and Paris installing movie theatre sound systems. In 1938, he attended the Academie des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Belgium, to study painting. Nassy was earning a living as a portrait artist when World War II began. In May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded and occupied Belgium. Josef was arrested in April 1942 as an enemy national, as he had an American passport. Nassy was held in Beverloo transit camp in Leopoldsburg, Belgium, before being transferred to Laufen internment camp and its subcamp Tittmoning. While imprisoned, Nassy was supplied with art materials by the International YMCA. He created more than 200 paintings and drawings chronicling the people and the appearance of the camp, with works featuring the barbed wire, watch towers, and prison bars. The United States Army liberated Laufen internment camp on May 5, 1945. Nassy passed away in 1976.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Self-portraits (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Painting in oil paint on canvas of a full length portrait of a man, Josef Nassy, standing in a room with flowers on a table, a portrait on the wall, and a woman playing a piano. It is in a gilt wooden frame.
    overall: Height: 10.750 inches (27.305 cm) | Width: 8.750 inches (22.225 cm)
    overall : oil paint, canvas

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The painting was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1992 by Tony Clark.
    Record last modified:
    2023-04-13 11:31:32
    This page:

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