Reeling in the years

By Ellen Futterman, Editor

Mark Gubernik, Jesse Kavadlo and Steve Chervitz have taken the old adage “you’re never too old to rock and roll” and set it in action. Approaching middle-age, married and all dads, the three recently formed a rock band and will be playing their first gig as a fundraiser for the Shirlee Green Preschool at Congregation Shaare Emeth on Saturday, April 14.

OK, so maybe it isn’t the Pageant.

“We are having the best time. It has been amazing,” reported Gubernik, 42, whose daughter attends the pre-school with Kavaldo’s. “Music is what I thought I wanted to do forever when I graduated from high school (Parkway North). It didn’t work out that way but after not having played in a band for 20 years, and the same is true for Jesse and Steve, we are really re-invigorated and just enjoying ourselves so much.”

The ‘80s themed fundraiser, “Livin’ On A Prayer,” will include dinner, a silent auction and 80s-themed music compliments of Mack Daddyz, made up of Gubernik on drums, Kavadlo on guitar and lead vocals and Chervitz on bass and vocals.  All three are members of Shaare Emeth. 

For the past four months, the band has been practicing in Gubernik’s  Chesterfield basement every Saturday afternoon, often with wives and kids in attendance. When the Mack Daddyz perform on the 15th, expect to hear a fair amount of hard rock, along with pop-rock dance classics from Mellencamp, Bon Jovi and the Cars.

The fundraiser will take place in the temple’s auditorium located at 11645 Ladue Road, with the silent auction beginning at 6:15p.m.; dinner starting at 7 and the band playing throughout the evening. Tickets are $30 per person.  To RSVP, call 314-569-0048 or contact Dani Kaplan at 314-660-3578 or [email protected].

Art dealer helps in return of looted canvas  

Perhaps you read how a painting looted by the Nazis from the National Museum collection in Warsaw during World War II was returned earlier this month to the museum in Poland. Well it seems local art dealer Daniel Liberman had a hand in helping to secure its return.

Liberman’s son, Alex, contacted me recently with the back story. “Murzynka” (Negress-1884) by Anna Bilinska-Bohdanowiczowa was thought to be lost but last yeazr the oil painting came up for sale at Berlin’s Villa Grisebach auction house. When Daniel Liberman of Ladue learned the painting was for sale he was interested in purchasing it, but instinct told him something about the sale wasn’t kosher. 

“I wondered why it had been in a museum in Poland and now was for sale in Germany,” the elder Liberman explained when I called him. “The provenance (history of a painting) didn’t include the selling of the painting by the museum (in Poland).”

Liberman asked his son and daughter-in-law to do some research. They found the painting listed in Wikipedia in an article about the artist as artwork stolen by the Nazis. So Liberman wrote the gallery to let them know.

“Almost by accident, I have discovered that this painting by Bilinska once was listed as a war prize, taken by the Nazis,” his letter went. “Is this known, and thus is the picture cleared for sale? I am sure this is a rhetorical question, but to me surprising.”

He received this reply from the gallery: “We are very grateful indeed that you gave us the hint that this painting of Anna Bilinska formerly belonged to the National Museum in Warsaw. We have checked its provenance with the database ‘Lostart,’ where other international wartime losses are listed—although from museums in Poland. After we got your information we immediately informed the National Museum and the owner of the painting, a German private collector, about the new situation.”

The painting had been logged in Poland’s official directory of cultural heritage as lost during the war, and it was also listed in the Stolen Works of Art database of the international police network, Interpol.

Daniel Liberman said the artist was “not a terrific painter, but this one has got to be the best painting she ever did by far.”

According to several sources, Bilinska-Bohdanowiczowa was born 1857 and studied in Paris. She was particularly noted for her portraits of women. She died in 1893, suffering a fatal heart attack in Warsaw.

Bad timing

Seems unfortunate that part of the run of “Fiddler On the Roof” here coincides with the first two nights Passover. I mean, really, who exactly is the show’s audience if not St. Louis’ Jewish community?  “Fiddler” plays here from April 3 through April 8 at the Peabody Opera House.  

The first two nights of Pesach are Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7.