Night (Noc)

A work made of oil on metal and hardboard.

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  • A work made of oil on metal and hardboard.




Erna Rosenstein
Polish (1913-2004)

About this artwork

An act of violence casts an ominous shadow in Erna
Rosenstein’s Night (Noc). The knife and the bright green
path in the middle of the painting reference the brutal
murder of her parents in the forest outside Ogridniki,
Poland, as the family fled Nazi-occupied Warsaw in 1942.
Rosenstein escaped, but the Holocaust would preoccupy her
work for decades to come. In her paintings and collages, she
often depicted her parents (sometimes decapitated), using
bright hues of red to signify blood or, in this instance, the
knife and the moonlit path that constitute the memory of
that fateful night.
Night (Noc) shows the artist’s collage-like approach to
painting, as she creates striking chiaroscuro effects
by contrasting dark colors with the exposed aluminum
surface. Other aspects of her work visible here are the
hyperrealist figurative elements—an attitude to form and
deformation that shows Rosenstein’s affinity with the legacy
of Surrealism—and the transformation of mundane objects
(in this case, the knife) into iconic subject matter. Through
her own work and as part of the avant-garde Kraków
Group, Rosenstein remains a key figure in postwar Eastern European Art.

Currently Off View

Contemporary Art


Erna Rosenstein


Night (Noc)




Oil on metal and hardboard


38 x 49 x 2 cm (15 x 19 1/4 x 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Claire and Gordon Prussian Fund for Contemporary Art

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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