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Abraham Rattner’s ‘the Gallows of Baghdad’ to Go on View at New School Art Center

The first American showing of Abraham Rattner’s monumental series of paintings, “The Gallows of Baghdad” will go on view at The New School Art Center on Thursday. Rattner, who taught at The New School for Social Research from 1948 to 1951 and now makes his home in Paris at the age of 75, painted the 36 gouaches, one oil and two oil tryptics in the exhibition within a period of two months after he heard over the radio that 16 persons, including nine Jews, were hanged as spies for Israel in the public square of Baghdad amidst the delirious jubilation of a large crowd of onlookers. “What exasperated me was not the hanging per se” Rattner recalled in a discussion with Paul Mocsanyi, Director of The New School Art Center. “After all, history knows many hangings since the book of Esther. It was the rejoicing of the crowds, their fanatic exaltation, this ugly, vicious outburst of inhumanity that inflamed and infuriated me.”