Northwest Indiana prominent artist featured in Valparaiso U exhibit


Valpo U showcases Northwest Indiana artist Hermann Gurfinkel

From May 15 to Aug. 9, the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University will be showing art from sculptor, goldsmith and refugee Hermann Gurfinkel.

Gurfinkel escaped Nazi Germany by way of England, thanks to Erich Kilbansky, a former school headmaster who organized the escape of 130 students. Once in the United States, Gurfinkel worked as a jeweler in Chicago along the prestigious Oak Street corridor.

Many years after he fled, in 2000, Gurfinkel received one of Germany’s highest civilian awards, the Cross of Merit.

Hermann Gurfinkel's Man of Steel from 1976. (Valparaiso University, Handout)
Hermann Gurfinkel’s Man of Steel from 1976. (Valparaiso University, Handout)

Gregg Hertzlieb, Director and Curator of the Brauer Museum of Art, gave insight to the importance of Gurfinkel’s pieces at Valparaiso University. “This exhibition is a chance to recognize the important works of a very fine artist.”

Gurfinkel’s work in the Hermann Gurfinkel: Hidden Northwest Indiana Legend art exhibit at the Brauer Museum will be showing pieces from throughout Gurfinkel’s career. “We’re getting the finest pieces together in a museum space. It’s exciting in that regard too,” said Hertzlieb.

Gurfinkel lived in Northwest Indiana from the 1970s until his death in 2004 and his work can be seen throughout the community in public landscapes. Examples of his public works can be seen in Hammond’s Harrison Park, Lake County Reference Library, the La Porte Hospital and the Temple Israel in Valparaiso.

“We are lucky to bring to the community the awareness of a very fine artist,” said Hertzlieb, “one who lived and worked in the area and is worthy of greater appreciation.”

The show will, “bring together the familiar and the unfamiliar with extreme range,” according to Hertzlieb.

The exhibit is open to the public from May 15 to Aug. 9 and admission is free.

Beth Casey is a freelance writer.

Hermann Gurfinkel: Hidden Northwest Indiana Legend

Brauer Museum of Art, 1709 Chapel Drive, Valparaiso

May 15-Aug. 9

Tickets: Free

Information: 219-464-5365 or

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s