To Paint is to Live:

The Artwork of Erich Lichtblau-Leskly


The exhibition, “To Paint is to Live” highlights the life and works of Erich Lichtblau-Leskly, a Czech Jewish painter from Moravia whose peaceful life with his wife Elsa and promising career as a commercial designer were shattered following the Nazi partition and subsequent invasion of Czechoslovakia. Following the invasion, they moved to Prague and were eventually deported to Theresienstadt.

Though imprisoned and forced into slave labor, Lichtblau-Leskly continued to use art to express himself, document life around him, and make sense of the horrid situation. His satiric, cartoonish representations of daily life in Theresienstadt juxtapose shocking scenes of banal brutality with a light, ironic style, exposing the absurdity and audacity of his and other’s experience while remaining jarringly human. Miraculously kept secret and saved by his wife, Lichtblau-Leskly’s originals are collected and displayed next to restored, further detailed pieces from the artist’s life in Israel after the war.

This exhibition is comprised of over 70 pieces of original art by Erich Lichtblau-Leskly, which is the largest of its kind in the world. This includes the preserved fragments the artist created while in Theresienstadt alongside later pieces created after the artist emigrated to Israel.

All artwork is framed. Holocaust period pieces measure approximately 15” x 20” in size, and the Israel period pieces measure approximately 27” x 35” in size. The size of the travelling exhibition is flexible, and the number of pieces can be adjusted to fit varying spatial requirements, often traveling with between 20-40 pairs of artwork. The exhibit also includes individual captions for each set of artworks, and 2 additional text panels – an introductory panel about the artist and the history of his work, and another discussing the Theresienstadt ghetto. 

For more information, please contact:

Christie Jovanovic, Collection Manager