Holocaust survivor’s painting a yard sale treasure

Holocaust survivor’s painting a yard sale treasure


Col—TrashQ. I like to go to yard sales. I bought this oil painting by Savu Petra. It measures 16” x 20”, has a date of 1968 and is in great condition. Is it trash or treasure?

A. Your painting is by the Jewish artist Savu Petra Dan. Dan was born in Romania in 1903. He had some early success in his career, which included a commission as the court painter for King Carol II of Romania, but World War II ended that. He was sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where he produced a series of paintings depicting the horrors and human struggles of the camp. He survived and continued to paint undeterred, moving to Israel and then Germany, where he died in 1986.

Many of Dan’s works, such as yours, feature Judaica-related themes. His work is primarily sold in Europe,  most often in Germany. Most paintings have sold in the $1500 range at auctions, all overseas.

Karen Waterman is a fine art, antique furniture and decorative arts appraiser in the East Bay area and will answer as many questions about your own “hidden treasures” as possible. By sending a letter or email with a question, you give full permission for use in the column. Names, addresses or e-mail will not be published and photos will be returned if requested. Send e-mails (digital photos are encouraged) to [email protected] Send snail mail to East Bay Newspapers, attn. Karen Waterman, P.O.Box 90, Bristol, RI 02809.