October 24, 2018

Holocaust artworks live on at Downtown L.A. gallery

Bernard Zakheim’s agonizing and defiant Holocaust sculptures and paintings, many not seen for three decades, are now on display at the ARTpraisal Gallery in downtown Los Angeles.

Frequently described as the Jewish Diego Rivera, Zakheim studied under the Mexican master muralist, whose influence can be seen in Zakheim’s famous murals at Coit Tower and other San Francisco landmarks.

“Youth Within the Partisan Forest”

Born into a Polish Chasidic family in 1898, Zakheim fought in World War I and moved to the Bay Area in 1920 with his wife and children.

After most of his relatives were killed in the Holocaust, Zakheim expressed his grief and rage in his sculptures and paintings, with such titles as “The Survivors Emerge,” “Wounded Partisan,” “Factory Workers in the Warsaw Ghetto” and “Ilse Koch: The Bitch of Buchenwald.”

After Zakheim’s death in 1985, his son Nathan stored most of the works for nearly 30 years, although six of his sculptures form the Holocaust Memorial at the Mount Sinai Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

“With the rise of terrorism and resurgence of anti-Semitism throughout the world, my father’s visceral works are a stark warning of what the future might hold,” Nathan Zakheim, himself an art conservator, told the Journal.

“Factory Workers in the Warsaw Ghetto”

Some 23 sculptures and six paintings by Bernard Zakheim will be on display at ARTpraisal through January 2015. Afterward, his son hopes the exhibition will travel to venues around the world.


The ARTpraisal Gallery is located at 110 N. Bonnie Brae St., Los Angeles. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, closed on weekends. Visitors are requested to contact the gallery in advance at (323) 373-1115