- Larry Rivers
- A Vanishing World, Trnava, Czechoslovakia, 1936: Raising Geese (II)
- oil on shaped canvas mounted to foamcore on wood, unframed
- 65 by 59 1/4 by 5 1/2 in.
- 165.1 by 150.5 by 14 cm.
- Executed in 1987.
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1989
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"This work was from a book about a Polish photographer just before World War II who knew that the end for the Jews was coming with Hitler, so he went around Europe filming Jewish enclaves, like where Jews were working, etc., and this was a Czechoslovakian Goose farmer." (The artist, discussing this work with Niki de Saint Phalle.)
The book referred to is Roman Vishniac, A Vanished World, a volume of photographs, selected from over 2,000 negative which survived (from 16,000) taken in the 1930s, which document the lives of Jews living in Central Europe; Vishniac was keenly aware that their destruction by the Nazis was imminent and had made it his mission to preserve their way of life in photographs.
Some of these photographs were published in 1947 under the title Polish Jews, but it was the larger 1983 edition which popularized the photographs and established them as the principal visual record of pre-Holocaust Jewish life. A paperback edition was published in 1986 with the photograph as plate 150 and this is the probable source Rivers had for the image. During the 1980s Rivers, was increasingly moved to explore Jewish themes.
The work is part of a series inspired by Roman Vishniac; Rivers simultaneously created a film documenting their creation (called The Duck Farm); the quote which begins this note is from a conversation in the film.