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Into the Light: The Healing Art of Kalman Aron
Into the Light: The Healing Art of Kalman Aron by Susan Beilby Magee.
11 x 10 inches, 224 pages, hard cover with dust jacket, 210 color plates, 30 black and white images.
Co-published by Hard Press Editions and Posterity Press, Inc. in association with Hudson Hills Press.
A six-year-old girl sits for a pastel portrait by an unknown immigrant artist…. Fifty years later, he asks her to write his story.
Into the Light is a profound, visual story of hope, courage and healing in the face of evil. It relates the epic life journey of Kalman Aron as he emerges from the ashes of the Holocaust to explore the nature of humankind, his own humanity and the mystery of life—all on canvas. Kalman Aron’s early post-war pictures darkly project Holocaust horrors, then in the slow course of healing and freeing himself from his past, Aron’s work gains poise and an inner perspective that radiates new and ever-changing vitality. He becomes well-known for his portraits, vibrant landscapes and intriguing studies of people in his unique style, “psychological realism.” His work catches the attention of Hollywood celebrities and connoisseurs alike, and commissions arrive from such notables as Ronald Reagan, Henry Miller and André Previn.
Born in Riga, Latvia in 1924, Kalman Aron began drawing at age three. At seven, he had his first gallery show of drawings, which sold out on opening day. The Latvian president commissioned the boy to paint his official portrait and arranged for Aron to attend Riga’s Academy of Fine Arts. Three years later, in 1941, the Nazis invaded Latvia, massacring many thousands of Jews—including his parents.
Kalman Aron’s early post-war pictures darkly project Holocaust horrors, then in the slow course of healing and freeing himself from his past, Aron’s work gains poise and an inner perspective that radiates new and ever-changing vitality. He becomes well-known for his portraits, vibrant landscapes and intriguing studies of people in his unique style, “psychological realism.” His work catches the attention of Hollywood celebrities and connoisseurs alike, and commissions arrive from such notables as Ronald Reagan, Henry Miller and André Previn.
Aron spent a lifetime transforming the experience of the Holocaust’s evil into truth, beauty and understanding—on canvas and paper. Into the Light is a dazzling story of the alchemy of the soul. Author Susan Magee weaves Aron’s first-person memoir with her third-person critical biography and study of the evolution of his paintings. She explores Aron’s instinctive responses to elemental questions: How does one respond to the extremes of human brutality? Does one choose to remember, forgive or heal? In Magee’s words, “this book…is a universal story about healing. Its lessons relate to all who have suffered—physically or psychologically, whether collectively or individually. I hope it may guide all who seek to put their suffering aside and reclaim their light.”
Aron’s artwork is in public and private collections throughout the United States and in Britain, Sweden and Israel. His work has been exhibited at major national art institutions, including the Frey Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, San Francisco Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust and the Seattle Art Museum.
More information about the artist is available at www.kalmanaron.com.
Susan Beilby Magee’s career spans diverse realms of politics, economics and spirituality. A leader of the women’s movement and director of the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Rights in Seattle, she moved to Washington DC as a White House Fellow in 1976. In Washington, Magee held policy and management positions in domestic finance and economic development in the US Treasury and Commerce Departments and later served as an international business consultant. Having earned a BA from Pomona College and an MBA from the Wharton School, she has served on numerous boards of directors. Twenty-six years ago she turned from business to matters of the heart, mediation and healing, becoming a certified hypnotherapist and mediation teacher. She is the founder of the Washington Circle of Master Healers and participates in healing programs at the Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage at the Washington National Cathedral.
Susan Magee’s life-long friendship with Kalman Aron began when she sat for her portrait at age six. A half century later, the artist asked her to write his story, and she spent countless hours interviewing him, his family and friends and other Latvian survivors. Over the last nine years, she traveled his path across Europe from Riga through seven slave labor and concentration camps in Latvia, Poland, Germany and Czechoslovakia and finally to Vienna where he studied art before coming to Los Angeles.