610 S. Michigan
Chicago, IL 60605
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 6, 5:30-8:00PM
Todros Geller: Strange Worlds focuses on the multifaceted oeuvre of Todros Geller, an influential Chicago artist who was central to the history of modern American Jewish art.
The exhibition draws primarily from Spertus Institute’s collection — which includes extensive holdings of Geller’s paintings, prints, and works on paper as well as preparatory sketches, letters, books, postcards, articles, photographs, posters, and illustrations — to present the broad scope of Geller’s creative endeavors. More than 30 works in a range of mediums will be on view, the majority for the first time, along with a selection of unique archival materials to allow viewers to explore the public and private concerns that animated Geller’s work.
Born in Ukraine in 1889, Geller immigrated to Chicago in 1918 and made it his home until his death in 1949. He was inspired by the complex blending of old world traditions and modern culture that characterized Chicago — what he termed the collision of “strange worlds.” An active proponent of the concept of Jewish art, he served as a mentor to numerous Chicago Jewish artists and as a prominent educator, first as a teacher at the Jewish People’s Institute and Jane Addams Hull House, then as supervisor of art for the College of Jewish Studies (later Spertus Institute). In both work and life, Geller reflected the prevailing social, political, and artistic concerns of his time. Often fondly referred to as the “Dean of Chicago Jewish Artists,” he was intimately entwined with Chicago’s evolving Jewish community and its efforts to establish, maintain, and promote Jewish identity.