Uncle George was my father’s younger brother. A zoologist and paleontologist in Israel, he stayed with us in Valhalla, New York on his many trips to the U.S. His trips involved meeting with his colleagues to discuss the latest fossil finds and to look at specimens at the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. My sister and I have fond memories of behind-the-scene tours at the museum, as he peered into the spider cages and looked at fossil bones. He went on collecting trips around the country and brought back turtles and snakes. According to family lore, he kept his finds in our parents’ Upper West Side apartment bathtub while he waited to ship them to Israel.
The painting includes a portrait from a photo surrounded by his life interests: his snakes, fossils, a turtle, and a sketch of a bird and bunnies made as a youngster under the watchful eye of Uncle Bernard. The rabbits might be an inside joke, as Haas means rabbit in German.