Masatoshi (sign.), Recumbent Hare with Raised Forepaw, c. 1880, ivory and buffalo horn, de Waal Family Collection
The Hare with Amber Eyes Exhibition at the Jewish Museum
November 19, 2021-May 15, 2022
The Hare with Amber Eyes tells the story of the Ephrussi family—celebrated in the 2010 memoir and The New York Times bestseller of the same name by Edmund de Waal—and showcases the breadth and depth of their illustrious collection. The exhibition explores the family’s rise to prominence and splendor in the first half of the nineteenth century, followed by a focus on the prolific collector and historian of art, Charles Ephrussi, to the inter-war years, and finally World War II, when the family lost its fortune and collection to Nazi looting.
The exhibition’s centerpiece is the extraordinary collection of Japanese netsuke, miniature carved sculptures of the Edo Period (17th-19th centuries), hidden by a maid from German officials in her mattress during World War II, and later returned to the family after the war. Also on display are items from the Ephrussi’s collections, including artworks by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Berthe Morisot, Claude Monet, Gustave Moreau, and Auguste Renoir, among others; decorative objects; and family photos and ephemera from their lives across four continents. The most recent member of the family to inherit the netsuke collection, author and ceramicist Edmund de Waal, drew from them the inspiration for his memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes, continuing the family’s storied legacy of artistic and cultural pursuits.
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