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Artists and Immigrants

April 7, 2022 - June 30, 2023

Pencil drawing of study for a pin worn on clothing. There is a family depicted with the Star of David above them. Next to them are onion domes and a bird flying above.
Chaim Gross, Life Drawing from Budapest, 1920
Chaim Gross, View of Budapest, 1920
Chaim Gross, Jewish Cemetery in Kolomyia, 1920
Moses Soyer, Portrait of Renee and Chaim, 1932
Louise Nevelson, The Queen, 1934
David Burliuk, Double Portrait with Animals, 1921
David Burliuk, His Beloved Horse, 1927
Chaim Gross, Street Scene, 1926
Ben-Zion, The Rabbi
Ilya Schor, Untitled, c. 1950s
Joseph Solman, El Station, c. 1935
Jennings Tofel, Untitled, c. 1935
George Constant, Children's Imaginary Fear, c. 1935
O. Louis Guglielmi, The Hungry, 1938
Ben-Zion, Untitled (Red Cross), c. 1935
Nahum Tschacbasov, Two Russian Soldiers / The General, 1938
Yasuo Kuniyoshi, From the Boardwalk, 1936
Fernand Léger, Music, c. 1942
Chaim Gross, Study for "Memorial to the Six Million", c. 1949

Press Release

The year 2021 marked the centennial of the immigration of artist Chaim Gross and his wife, Renee (Nechin) Gross. The two came to the United States under very different circumstances. Accompanied by one of his brothers and leaving the rest of his family behind, Chaim traveled from Eastern Europe to New York as a teenager after surviving the horrors of World War I. Renee, in contrast, emigrated with her mother and other family members at age eleven, joining her father who was already living in the U.S. Despite these differences, both Chaim and Renee settled in New York City, where they met, married, raised their children, and later established the Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation.


Artists and Immigrants celebrates this milestone year and the many immigrant artists who studied, worked, and interacted with Chaim Gross. Based on the shared experience of immigration, Gross formed lasting relationships with these artists and collected their work—the origins of the Foundation’s collection. The exhibition explores the importance of six collective themes in immigrant artists’ lives and work: their personal histories; thriving communities in neighborhoods such as Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side; arts education; leisure and travel; the rise of Social Realism and New Deal art projects during the Great Depression; and the destruction, displacement, and devastation wrought by World War II.


Spanning eight decades, Artists and Immigrants includes nearly 100 works by more than 50 immigrant artists, as well as materials from the Foundation’s archives. Drawn from the Grosses’ personal collection, the exhibition and catalogue are not comprehensive studies of twentieth-century immigration to the United States. However, the artists featured in this exhibition experienced these policies firsthand.


Exhibition curated by

Sasha Davis, Executive Director

Brittany Cassandra, Collections and Programs Manager

Clare Richfield, 2021-22 NYU Public Humanities Predoctoral Fellow


This exhibition is accomapanied by the catalogue Artists and Immigrants. The publication is made posssible by a generous grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation of New York.


Artists and Immigrants is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Artist List:

Alexander Archipenko (1887–1964)

Eugenie Baizerman (1899–1949)

Eugene Berman (1899–1972)

Saul Berman (1899–1975)

Theresa Bernstein (1890–2002)

Arbit Blatas (1908–99)

Peter Blume (1906–92)

Rudy Burckhardt (1914–99)

David Burliuk (1882–1967)

Federico Castellón (1914–71)

Marc Chagall (1887–1985)

Nicolai Cikovsky (1894–1984)

George Constant (1892–1978)

Jose de Creeft (1884–1982)

Willem de Kooning (1904–97) 

Max Ernst (1891–1976)

Ruth Gikow (1915–82)

Arshile Gorky (1902/04–48)

Bernard Gotfryd (1924–2016)

Harry Gottlieb (1895–1992)

John D. Graham (1886–1961)

Chaim Gross (1902–91)

George Grosz (1893–1959)

Inger Johanne Grytting (b. 1949)

O. Louis Guglielmi (1906–56)

Leo Jackinson (1900–1922)

Benjamin Kopman (1887–1965)

Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889–1953)

Gaston Lachaise (1882–1935)

Ibram Lassaw (1913–2003)

Fernand Léger (1881–1955)

Jacques Lipchitz (1891–1973)

Louis Lozowick (1892–1973)

Emmanuel Mané-Katz (1894–1962)

André Masson (1896–1987)

Elie Nadelman (1882–1946)

Louise Nevelson (1899–1988)

Marion Palfi (1907–78)

Jules Pascin (1885–1930)

Ilya Schor (1904–61)

Ladislas Segy (1904–88)

Ben Shahn (1898–1969)

Joseph Solman (1909–2008)

Moses Soyer (1899–1974)

Raphael Soyer (1899–1987)

Maurice Sterne (1878–1957)

Soichi Sunami (1885–1971)

Jennings Tofel (1891–1959)

Nahum Tschacbasov (1899–1984)

Abraham Walkowitz (1878–1965)

Max Weber (1881–1961)

Ben-Zion (1897–1987)