Exemplary Hebrew Printed Books:
The Library of Joseph Gradenwitz
Kestenbaum & Company
12 West 27th Street, New York
Auction to be held on Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Ma’aseh Tuviah. By Tobias Cohn.
Shulchan Aruch. By Joseph Karo.
Gradenwitz’s collection is much more extensive than the miniature prayer book, the body-house and the Shulchan Aruch. But the three are quite typical of the collection, and they convey Gradenwitz’s collecting preferences. The show helps explain how Hebrew manuscripts are an evolving process: Rather than being completed and “dying” when the illustrator finished his work, many of the manuscripts in the Kestenbaum show were rebound and reinvented by Gradenwitz, the collector-artist. Many of the texts carry important prayers and truths that transcend their time, and the artistic and collecting decisions to preserve the books ensure that the tangible, book-object also survives.
Menachem Wecker is a painter and assistant editor of B’nai B’rith Magazine in Washington, D.C. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Menachem Wecker, who blogs on faith and art for the Houston Chronicle at http://blogs.chron.com/iconia, welcomes comments at email@example.com.
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