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Night (Noc)

A work made of oil on metal and hardboard.

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  • A work made of oil on metal and hardboard.




Erna Rosenstein
Polish (1913-2004)

About this artwork

An act of violence casts an ominous shadow in Erna Rosenstein’s Night (Noc). The knife and the bright green path in the middle of the painting reference the brutal murder of her parents in the forest outside Ogridniki, Poland, as the family fled Nazi-occupied Warsaw in 1942. Rosenstein escaped, but the Holocaust would preoccupy her work for decades to come. In her paintings and collages, she often depicted her parents (sometimes decapitated), using bright hues of red to signify blood or, in this instance, the knife and the moonlit path that constitute the memory of that fateful night.

Night (Noc) shows the artist’s collage-like approach to painting, as she creates striking chiaroscuro effects by contrasting dark colors with the exposed aluminum surface. Other aspects of her work visible here are the hyperrealist figurative elements—an attitude to form and deformation that shows Rosenstein’s affinity with the legacy of Surrealism—and the transformation of mundane objects (in this case, the knife) into iconic subject matter. Through her own work and as part of the avant garde Kraków Group, Rosenstein remains a key figure in postwar Eastern European Art.


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Erna Rosenstein


Night (Noc)




Oil on metal and hardboard


38 × 49 × 2 cm (15 × 19 1/4 × 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Claire and Gordon Prussian Fund for Contemporary Art

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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