In the iconic photograph “The Boy From Warsaw,” taken by a Nazi SS officer, a group of Polish Jews is herded out of the Warsaw Ghetto to the death camps. The 1943 image was part of a report created by a Nazi general, titled “The Jewish Quarter of Warsaw Is No More!”

The figure of a terrified young boy in a newsboy cap, his arms raised in surrender, stuck. It even inspired a 2010 book, “The Boy: A Holocaust Story,” by Dan Porat, which attempts (but does not ultimately manage) to figure out who he was. A new show at Paul Kasmin Gallery takes a different look at the searing image.

New York-based artist Nir Hod, a native of Tel Aviv, made it his mission to shed light on another of the photograph’s subjects: the woman next to the boy, whom Hod calls “Mother.”

“She’s in the front, but she’s in the shadows — nobody notices her,” says Hod. “For me, focusing on her is a correction. It became something completely new about the history.”

Hod painted a series of nine identical closeups of the woman, meticulously re-creating the photo with oils and adding a pop of color to each. A 10th painting, at 10 feet tall, is twice as large as the others.

Hayden Dunbar, one of the gallery’s directors, says he was blown away by the concept and message of the show. “Knowing the historical gravitas,” says Dunbar, “how he’s been able to focus it into this contemporary subject of the mother and transform her from that original photograph — it’s a rather remarkable and incredible feat.”

Hod’s “Mother” runs Wednesday through April 28 at Paul Kasmin Gallery, 515 W. 27th St.; 212-563-4474, paulkasmingallery.com.

 


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