Featured Acquisition

Hannelore Baron

Hannelore Baron American, born Germany, 1926–1987 Untitled, 1973 Wood, paint and glass wire 10 × 181/4 inches  Gift of Mary Mhoon, 2019.17
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This photograph represents just one of a large group of works, including 27 collages and 39 mixed-media assemblages, by American artist Hannelore Baron given to the FIA in 2019. These objects are the first by this artist to enter the FIA collection, and they represent her most creative period, from 1969 to 1986, the year before she died. Drawing on her life experiences, Baron used old and used materials to create small-scale, intimate objects that evoke memory and the mysterious past. 

Born in Germany, Baron was 12 years old when her father, a Jewish textile merchant, was beaten on Kristallnacht (November 9–10, 1938). She witnessed the destruction of her home and recalled most vividly seeing her father’s bloody handprints on the apartment wall. Shortly after this experience, her family fled Nazi persecution and managed to escape to New York City by 1941. This horrific event never left her, and she experienced symptoms of claustrophobia and depression that would lead to a series of nervous breakdowns throughout her life. 

Primarily self-taught, she began making her first collages in the 1950s and exhibiting her work in 1969. She considered her work personal and political statements: “Everything I’ve done is a statement on the, as they say, human condition... the way other people march to Washington, or set themselves on fire, or write protest letters, or go to assassinate someone. Well, I’ve had all the same feelings that these people had about various things, and my way out, because of my inability to do anything else for various reasons, has been to make the protest through my artwork.” After struggling with cancer for several years, she died at age 61 in 1987.

Hannelore Baron American, born Germany, 1926–1987 Untitled, 1973 Wood, paint and glass wire 10 × 181/4 inches  Gift of Mary Mhoon, 2019.17

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