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  • Writer's pictureHenry Sapoznik

Mayer Kirshenblatt Goes Home

Late in life, Polish born Mayer Kirshenblatt, father of famed Yiddish folklorist Barbara Kirshenblatt Gimblett and with her and painter husband Max Gimblett's encouragment, began painting scenes of his youth. Though he ran a paint and wallpaper store, Mayer never had any formal art lessons, but over the next few years, hundreds of wonderful canvases emerged from his brush animating the world he had left behind decades before.

Mayer (who along with his wife Dora and daughter Barbara) were long time attendees at my KlezKamp, in 1991, (the year after he had begun painting) generously created a special klezmer themed canvas to be auctioned off to benefit KlezKamp. To my utter amazement, I won the auction.

I have just been contacted by Barbara that she is giving all her father's paintings to the Polyn Museum in Warsaw and asked if I would donate my Mayer to complete the museum's collection. As I have never considered myself the painting's "owner" as much as being its temporary caretaker, I agreed.

So, after over 30 years, I am packing up this lovely memento which has inhabited a special place in my home and in my life to now find whole new generations who will also find warmth and unending pleasure in it.

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