Greenwich Pen Women/Perrot Memorial Library Book Discussion Group
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THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES: A HIDDEN INHERITANCE, by Edmund de Waal
Theme: Art, Emotion, and Memory
Facilitated by Sarah Darer Littman of Greenwich Pen Women
Monday, September 11th, 2017, at 7 PM
The Rand Room, Perrot Memorial Library
For nearly a century, the Ephrussi family controlled a business empire in Europe, massing wealth and objets d’art. A Parisian Ephrussi, Charles, who was a patron of the Impressionists, and inspiration for Marcel Proust’s Charles Swann, purchased a collection of 264 tiny Japanese carvings called netsuke, including a hare with amber eyes.
In 1899, Charles sent the collection as a wedding present to his cousin, Viktor Ephrussi, in Vienna.
When the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938, they confiscated the Ephrussi’s business interests, and their extensive art collection. The netsuke escaped their clutches, hidden in the mattress of a loyal maid, Anna, for the duration of the war.
Edmund de Waal, a noted ceramicist, inherited the netsuke from his uncle Ignace, who had left for America before the war and served in U.S. Army Intelligence. The collection provides a thread weaving together this fascinating memoir of art, history, and family.