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Envisioning Evil: “The Nazi Drawings” by Mauricio Lasansky

Minneapolis Institute of Art


Internationally renowned as a printmaker, Mauricio Lasansky (1914–2012) unleashed his brilliant draftsmanship in his self-titled series The Nazi Drawings. The Argentina-born artist created the body of work largely in the 1960s, as the televised trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann awakened the world to the depths of Nazi atrocities. Lasansky’s haunting interpretations reflect his response to the unfolding details. “I was full of hate, poison, and I wanted to spit it out,” he said.

The thirty-three monumental drawings, made from charcoal, wash, and collage, examine the horrors of the Holocaust, especially the suffering of women and children. The series became Lasansky’s most famous and notable work and was included among the opening exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1967.

Envisioning Evil accompanies the exhibition of The Nazi Drawings at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in 2021. Curator Rachel McGarry provides comprehensive biographical, cultural, and historical context for the artist and the creation of this series in three essays and an illustrated timeline. McGarry also traces Holocaust awareness before and after the 1961 Eichmann trial and examines the role of art, literature, and popular media in bringing the genocide into public discourse. Rabbi Barry D. Cytron, former chaplain and professor of religious studies at Macalester College, contributes an essay on the international religious response to revelations about Nazi crimes and their relation to Lasansky’s art.

Details: 160 pages; 37 b&w photos, 81 color plates

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