In the second floor of my friend Misha's home he built a gallery, which took 10 years. He built it himself, saved his money and all to showcase the paintings of his father (a friend and neighbor of Chagall). In 1989 when Russia was forced to allow Jews to leave amid pressure from the first George Bush, they approved only paintings to leave that were registered under his father's name. Any paintings that were painted by anyone else in the family had to be recovered/painted over and their father's signature applied. He showed me a few, and they made notes on the backs of the paintings. I asked why he never put his signature back on the canvas and he said, "It's history."
After two airport delays and the bribery of a couple officials with a bottle of vodka, as one of his relatives told me, it was a miracle that a female Russian officer allowed the paintings to pass when they were in Moscow.
His father, having already left Minsk refused to leave ahead of his paintings unless he knew for sure they would follow. It took six months to pack the paintings to ensure safe arrival.
Many paintings are quite large as you will see in the photographs, and hundreds more are housed in his basement having never been seen by anyone outside of his family. To them, he was a famous painter, to the world he is not relatively well known. So, I bring to you...
The art of Chaim Livshultz. (Click photos to enlarge)