Writing Jewish Women's Lives seminar: Creation in the Life and Art of Berta Rosenbaum Golahny

Part of the Vera Fine-Grodzinski Programme for Writing Jewish Women’s Lives.

Berta Rosenbaum Golahny (1925-2005) was a Boston-area painter and printmaker who blended abstraction and realism, often in a single work. Golahny’s parents, immigrants from Eastern Europe who settled in Detroit, promoted Jewish diasporic culture together with social justice, and Golahny’s art shares her parents’ humanistic, utopian impulse. Much of Golahny’s work is united by a concern with creation. Fascinated by the biblical account of the creation of the world (the Genesis series), the scientific account (the series Being and Becoming and the series Cosmos), the human and animal life-cycle, and the human imagination, Golahny depicted many originary moments. She also explored creation’s opposite, destruction, as in work on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Landscape of Man in Nuclear Age), the Holocaust, and the Korean War. At the same time, much of her work portrays daily and domestic forms of creation, such as Detroit ironworks and a mother nursing. Golahny explored creative and destructive forces in a life marked by quietly steady creation. This talk, by Golahny’s granddaughter, Emily Kopley, is part of a book project that blends biography, memoir, and art criticism.

Emily Kopley (BA Yale, PhD Stanford), is the author of Virginia Woolf and Poetry (OUP, 2021), a critical biography. Her essays on Woolf appear in the TLS, Review of English Studies, English Literature in Transition, Teaching Modernist Women’s Writing in English (MLA, 2021), Unpacking the Personal Library (Wilfred Laurier UP, 2022), and elsewhere. She is on the board of Woolf Studies Annual and has received grants from the Mellon Foundation, the Robert B Silvers Foundation, and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. She teaches at McGill University, in the Department of Jewish Studies.

If you wish to attend the event via Zoom, please register for the event and select the ’Online via Zoom’ attendance option. A meeting link will be sent to you on the day of the event.