Roman Vishniac Rediscovered

25 October 2018 - 24 February 2019

“Wonderful, haunting portraits”

- William Boyd, The Daily Telegraph

Presented simultaneously at Jewish Museum London and The Photographers’ Gallery, Roman Vishniac Rediscovered is the first UK retrospective of Russian born American photographer, Roman Vishniac (1897–1990).

An extraordinarily versatile and innovative photographer, Vishniac is best known for having created one of the most widely recognised and reproduced photographic records of Jewish life in eastern Europe between the two World Wars.

Featuring many of his most iconic works, this comprehensive exhibition further introduces recently discovered and lesser-known chapters of his photographic career from the early 1920s to the late 1970s. The exhibition presents radically diverse bodies of work and positions Vishniac as one of the most important social documentary photographers of the 20th century whose work also sits within a broader tradition of 1930s modernist photography.

Roman Vishniac Rediscovered offers a timely reappraisal of Vishniac’s vast photographic output and legacy and brings together – for the first time – his complete works including recently discovered vintage prints, rare and ‘lost’ film footage from his pre-war period, contact sheets, personal correspondence, original magazine publications, newly created exhibition prints as well as his acclaimed photomicroscopy.

Drawn from the Roman Vishniac Collection at the International Center of Photography, New York and curated by Maya Benton in collaboration with The Photographers’ Gallery curator, Anna Dannemann and Jewish Museum London curator, Morgan Wadsworth-Boyle, each venue will provide additional contextual material to illuminate the works on display and bring the artist, his works and significance to the attention of UK audiences.

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[Visitor information]

Roman Vishniac Rediscovered is a touring exhibition from the International Centre of Photography (New York). However, the exhibition was too large to hold at the Jewish Museum London so the decision was made to divide the works with The Photographers’ Gallery.

Both venues have the same thematic sections and section text so you follow the same narrative at both sites. However, the works in each section are not replicated, there are different photographs for each section at each site.

Additionally, the ephemera is unique to each site, with here focusing more on Vishnaic as a photographer of Jews and his own Jewish identity.

A further difference between the two venues is the YIVO section – the Carpathian Jews exhibition images are here, and the YIVO section at The Photographers’ Gallery is on Polish Jews.


Supported by
Sir Michael and Lady Heller
Roman Vishniac Rediscovered Supporters’ Circle

Exhibition organised by the International Center of Photography.
In collaboration with The Photographers’ Gallery.

Image credit: [Jewish schoolchildren, Mukacevo], ca. 1935-38. © Mara Vishniac Kohn, courtesy International Center of Photography.

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