On View

September 24 – August 30, 2009

Woman of Letters told the remarkable story of a writer driven to create, of a mother and her daughters, of memory and identity, of legacy and loss. A Russian-born Jewish author, Irène Némirovsky quickly rose to literary celebrity in her adopted France. But fame and accomplishment – and even her conversion to Catholicism – were not enough to save her when war came. She was deported to Auschwitz in 1942. Among the few items left behind was a valise containing her leather notebook. Her daughters avoided opening it until some fifty years after their mother’s death. She discovered not a diary, but a major literary work: the first two parts of the unfinished five-part novel, Suite Française. This exhibition illustrated Némirovsky’s life, and her extra ordinary literary gift to the world.

Co-produced with Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine (IMEC).

This exhibition was made possible through generous funding from: American Express, David Berg Foundation, and the Grand Marnier Foundation; leadership gifts from: Nancy Fisher, Fanya Gottesfeld Heller, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council with the generous support of The September 11th Fund, and the Robert Sillins Family Foundation; and additional support provided by: The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Alexis Gregory Foundation, The Felix & Elizabeth Rohatyn Foundation, Howard J. Rubenstein, and L’Avion.

Rotunda Salon furnished courtesy of Ligne Roset.