Max Pollak (American, born Czechoslovakia, 1886-1970). Detail of Auskommen (Getting By), 1914-15. Drypoint, plate: 4-1/2 x 5-7/16 inches; sheet: 11-1/4 x 9-3/4 in. Museum purchase with funds provided by Michael C. Powanda and Elizabeth D. Moyer; 2019:46.3

Max Pollak: In the Barrack Camp at Nikolsburg

November 20, 2021 to April 10, 2022

Painter and printmaker Max Pollak (American, born Czechoslovakia, 1886-1970) was raised in Vienna and appointed official artist of the Austrian Army during World War I. Between 1914 and 1915, thousands of Galician Jews fled from war zones or were relocated by the military to barracks in Nikolsburg, Moravia (in present-day Czech Republic). Pollak documented the living conditions and daily life at camp. Most people outside of this community were unaware of the extreme hardships, including disease and bitter cold, faced by the Jewish refugees, and public misunderstanding of their plight contributed to widespread prejudice. Pollak’s portfolio, Im Barackenlager Nikolsburg (In the Barrack Camp at Nikolsburg) emphasized their humanity. He depicted how they slept, ate, prayed, and awaited an end to the war. In 1927, Pollack immigrated to the United States to continue his career as printmaker, ultimately settling in northern California. This exhibition was made possible through the generosity of Michael C. Powanda and Elizabeth D. Moyer.

Explore the virtual tour: