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The Hare with Amber Eyes tells the story of the Ephrussi family — celebrated in the 2010 memoir of the same name by Edmund de Waal. The exhibition explores the family’s rise to prominence in the first half of the 19th century, followed by a focus on the prolific collector and historian of art, Charles Ephrussi, to the inter-war years, and finally World War II, when the family lost its fortune and collection to Nazi looting. It brings together pieces from the Ephrussi’s collections to examine the ways in which objects can function as storytellers, symbols of resilience, and monuments of a family legacy, including artworks by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Gustave Moreau and Auguste Renoir, among others.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, working closely with de Waal and the Jewish Museum, created an interpretive installation using art and artifacts, loaned variously by the family and by other cultural institutions. The domestic setting of the Jewish Museum evokes the architecturally distinguished homes the Ephrussi family inhabited over the course of generations. Their stories are brought to life through audio excerpts from The Hare with Amber Eyes read by Edmund de Waal and encountered by visitors at specific locations throughout the exhibition, giving context to the wide range of objects on display.

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