You are here

Todros Geller: Strange Worlds

Todros Geller: Strange Worlds

September 6, 2018 to February 17, 2019
Past Exhibition

The exhibition Todros Geller: Strange Worlds focuses on the multifaceted oeuvre of Todros Geller, an influential Chicago artist who was central to the history of modern American Jewish art.

The exhibition draws primarily from Spertus Institute’s collection — which includes extensive holdings of Geller’s paintings, prints, and works on paper as well as preparatory sketches, letters, books, postcards, articles, photographs, posters, and illustrations — to present the broad scope of Geller’s creative endeavors. More than 30 works in a range of mediums will be on view, the majority for the first time, along with a selection of unique archival materials to allow viewers to explore the public and private concerns that animated Geller’s work.

Born in Ukraine in 1889, Geller immigrated to Chicago in 1918 and made it his home until his death in 1949. He was inspired by the complex blending of old world traditions and modern culture that characterized Chicago — what he termed the collision of “strange worlds.” An active proponent of the concept of Jewish art, he served as a mentor to numerous Chicago Jewish artists and as a prominent educator, first as a teacher at the Jewish People’s Institute and Jane Addams Hull House, then as supervisor of art for the College of Jewish Studies (later Spertus Institute).

In both work and life, Geller reflected the prevailing social, political, and artistic concerns of his time. Often fondly referred to as the “Dean of Chicago Jewish Artists,” he was intimately entwined with Chicago’s evolving Jewish community and its efforts to establish, maintain, and promote Jewish identity.

Todros Geller: Strange Worlds is curated by Ionit Behar, Spertus Institute Curator of Collections, and Susan Weininger, Roosevelt University Professor Emerita of Art History.

Todros Geller: Strange Worlds
is part of Art Design Chicago, an exploration of Chicago’s art and design legacy. Art Design Chicago is an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

Todros Geller: Strange Worlds is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

Exhibitions at Spertus Institute are also made possible through the generous support of the Harry and Sadie Lasky and Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundations.

Exhibition publication

Image at left

Todros Geller, South of Chicago, 1937, Wood engraving, 8 x 10 in., Spertus Institute, Chicago.


Opening Reception
September 6, 2018 | 5:30-8:00 pm
Free. Reservations appreciated > 

Gallery Talk
November 4, 2018 | 3:00-4:00 pm

Exhibition Curators Ionit Behar
and Susan Weininger
Free. Reservations appreciated >

Between the World Wars: Jewish and African American Art in Chicago
November 20, 2018 | 6:00-7:30 pm
Exhibition Curator Susan Weininger, arts advocate and gallery owner John Corbett, artist Fareem Majeed, and Art Institute of Chicago Curator Sarah Kelly Oehler
$8-$18. Purchase tickets online >

Segregation and Integration in Chicago Art
December 13, 2018 | 6:00-7:30 pm
Historian Dr. Deborah Dash Moore and journalist Maudlyne Ihejirika
$8-$18. Purchase tickets online >