Dante Elsner Launch - Maia Elsner - 11/9/23 @7pm
Dante Elsner (1920-97) was a Jewish Polish-born artist and ceramicist who was still a young man when his homeland was occupied by the Nazis. Dante saw his whole family - mother, father, siblings - taken away and killed in concentration camps. Through extraordinary chance and resilience Dante survived, escaping arrest and internment and eventually moving to Paris and then to London to start his life as an artist. The trauma of the holocaust had a profound impact on Dante’s life and work, including a deep distrust of those in power.
In this extraordinary account, Dante’s granddaughter, the poet Maia Elsner, pieces together the artist’s life from interviews with him, his widow and family, as well as uncovering thousands of stunning raku pots and an incredible archive of paintings, drawings and sketches.
Dante’s distrust of the art world has led to his work going largely unnoticed. That is changing now. Dante Elsner is a beautiful and timely appraisal of this exceptional artist featuring hundreds of full colour images of the artwork and ceramics.
Maia Elsner is a Mexican-Polish-Jewish-British writer, whose debut collection Overrun by Wild Boars (flipped eye, 2021) won a Somerset Maugham Award and was listed as one of the top ten books of 2021 by The Telegraph. Her multi-media collaborations include a poetry-film, 'What Else But Incantate From Wreckage' which was premiered at the Tate Modern in 2021, and a poetry-music composition for piano and baritone, 'Attempts at Endings', premiered in Kerrytown Concert Hall in 2023. She is currently a Zell Fellow at the Helen Zell Writer's Program at the University of Michigan, where her writing has won the Hopwood Award in non-fiction.