Friends & Family

As in his art, so in his daily life he enjoys his family.

"The power of my inspiration is my wife, Pamela, and my son, Aviel. Aviel is my most important creation! His existence compels me to excel in all that I do." His parents, his mother Lida, loving and caring, his father, Itzhak, poet, folklorist, scholar and teacher, his sisters, Bella and Dora, his family and friends are forever his pillars.

"My father," says Ginzburg, "is fluent in art. On many occasions, he tried, in an objective way, to analyze my work, but never tried to influence me with his advice. Information on a subject? Yes! My father has an encyclopedic mind from European literature and politics to world religion. He answers my questions on many subjects, whether it be Beethoven’s 5th Symphony or a question from Biblical Amos.... But, never, ever does he tell me how to use this knowledge in my art. I can say though, that my earlier works were probably a combination of my family and myself. I remembered the stories and conversations I had with them about my grandparents and other family members who perished in the war. It set a foundation for my Judaic themes. The flowers I created were the metaphors for these humble and decent people that perished.

Common to all of Yankel Ginzburg’s art as well as his daily activities, whether it is from his earlier days or from the most recent ones, is a sense of hope. It is as if Ginzburg is saying never lose hope, don’t give up.

Not for a day does Ginzburg forget his obligation toward the needy, the hungry, and the oppressed of the world. He has flown to Cambodia to distribute food and medical supplies. He has delivered a transport plane full of food, clothing and medicine to the cities of Kalinin and Moscow. Ginzburg is always involved.

His largest undertaking by far, was the creation of The Fund for Democracy and Development. His involvement began in 1990 after his first trip back to Russia since the days of his childhood. As a world renowned artist and humanitarian with a Russian background, Ginzburg was encouraged by both Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, President of the Russian Federation to establish a non-governmental organization that would aid the people of the crumbling Soviet Union and help to turn this once Communistic and totalitarian country into a strong and working Democracy. Ginzburg rose to the challenge and a few months later with the help of his good friend, Ronald L. Scheman, the Fund became a reality. The late President Richard M. Nixon served as the first honorary chair. As of March, 1994, the fund is credited with channeling over 240 million dollars worth of staples and medical goods to the former Soviet Union.

Yankel Ginzburg could be just another philanthropist giving only money to better the world, but Ginzburg believes he should give more of himself. To quote Ginzburg, "Artists are individualistic, each one has his own style. They depend on their inner world; nevertheless, an artist deserves recognition only if he benefits society. If he enriches only himself, it is greed not greatness. In my heart, I follow my own instinct, my personal style that befits me as a contemporary artist. But, when it comes to public life, I cannot keep myself isolated from the world around me. I learned from my father who always quotes from a great uncle of ours, Moshe Yankel Mortenfeld, one of the leaders of the Jewish community in the town of Piotrkow, Poland. ‘Never isolate yourself from your community.’ What happens in Rwanda, in Bosnia, in Moscow, in Jerusalem or Gaza, directly or indirectly, is my concern. I feel an obligation to dedicate part of my time to the struggle for world peace, for human rights, to the building of bridges instead of walls...."

As one listens to Ginzburg talk about his family and his past, it becomes easier to understand the loves and hates, the turmoil and the misery expressed in his earlier paintings. What is also apparent are the influences the American spirit, the love for his wife, and the joy of his son have had on his works. Light giving color and optimism are as free flowing and lush as is his personal happiness.

Today, Yankel Ginzburg’s art is a collection of new visionary concepts, incomparable and extraordinary. His paintings and sculptures are exceptional expressions by a great talent, recognized by critics and art lovers worldwide. They consider Yankel Ginzburg an exceptional human being and artist extraordinaire. What is remarkable about Yankel Ginzburg is not just the variety and strength of his art and the scope of his genius in the interplay of colors; what is noteworthy are the vibrations people get when gazing at his works and learning about the human being Yankel Ginzburg. "Genuine talent combined with humanity, blended together with a brush led by God’s Hand...." This is real talent. This is the real Yankel Ginzburg. His ladder truly touches heaven.

- Herman Taube