Joseph Oppenheimer (1876-1966) was a great artist, but a modest man. From his earliest youth, his life and his love was painting. He had no interest in fame or fortune and never agreed to be represented by galleries or art dealers. This allowed him the luxury of freedom to paint what he wanted, when and where he wanted, but it also meant that after he died in 1966 he became a forgotten genius as there was no one to keep his name and works alive. Luckily his works survived, and while many are found in museums and private collections around the world, and with other members of his family, the bulk of his extensive oeuvre remained under the control of his daughter, the famous artist Eva Prager, O.C., and her son Vincent.
Joseph Oppenheimer’s dying wish, as expressed to his wife Fanny, was that his works be kept together as much as possible to be seen and enjoyed by future generations, but he was unable to do this himself. The Joseph and Fanny Oppenheimer Foundation, which I, his eldest grandchild, have had the privilege of establishing as a memorial to my grandfather, his wishes and his works aims to do posthumously what he was not able to do during his lifetime. Its purpose is to ensure that the works of Joseph Oppenheimer – and now also his daughter Eva Prager O.C. – will be preserved and made available for public viewing and be given their due place in the world of art and culture, as they deserve.
In the initial years of the Foundation, and in order to raise funds to allow for its future activities, it organized exhibitions and sales of the works of Joseph Oppenheimer in various European centres – London, Berlin, Wurzburg, etc. These were very successful, and remain as part of the focus of the Foundation. Exhibitions were also held at the Wurzburg City Gallery in Germany and at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Canada, and these institutions accepted donations of some of these exhibited works by Joseph Oppenheimer for their permanent collections. Further such exhibitions and donations are planned in Germany, the U. K. and Canada in the future. But the real goal of the Foundation has always been to open a museum dedicated to Joseph Oppenheimer ‘s works, life and times – and to include, similarly, those of his beloved daughter Eva Prager once she had passed away.
The formal opening of the Oppenheimer-Prager Museum at Dayspring took place in June of 2014. The Museum is located in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick, Canada in a magnificent mansion, Dayspring, a space uniquely suited to the impressionist styles of both artists, the lives they lived and the people they knew. The Museum has started operation with over 300 works of these two artists, but also includes much about their lives and times in a most original installation put together to interest and delight all who come to visit. The Foundation hopes to expand and change the exhibits on a regular basis and to sponsor an “artist-in-residence” each year to study the art on display as well as the very extensive and complete family archives leading ultimately in part also to the publication of a “catalogue raisonee”. The Foundation also sponsors a Museum website which we hope you will visit: www.museumatdayspring.org.