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September 28, 2016 / 25 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Museum’

Polish Righteous Gentile Donates Memorabilia to Jewish Museum

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

A Polish historian and statesman who was imprisoned at Auschwitz and recognized as a Righteous Gentile for saving Jews in World War II has donated a collection of his memorabilia to a museum in Poland.

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, 91 and a  former member  of the underground “Żegota” Polish Council to Aid Jews during the Holocaust, presented his donations to the new Museum of the History of Polish Jewish in Warsaw at a ceremony on Wednesday.

He also has twice served as Poland’s foreign minister and has held other senior positions and received many international honors.

The museum said the memorabilia include his Righteous among Nations medal, which he received in 1966; a certificate of his planting of a tree in honor of “Żegota” at Yad Vashem; his honorary citizenship of the State of Israel; the Elie Wiesel Award, which he received this year from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington; an original ring made in the Litzmannstadt (Lodz) Ghetto; as well as various books and historical documents from the period of World War II.

“One never knows what will and what will not pay off in life, but one always knows what is worth doing,” he said during the ceremony, recalling his experience in “Żegota.”

JTA

Putin Visits Russian Jewish Museum

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian dignitaries joined Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar for a special tour of the Russian Jewish Museum of Tolerance, considered the largest Jewish museum in the world.

Federation of Jewish Communities president Alexander Boroda also was present to escort Putin at the museum exhibits in the 90,000-square-foot former bus garage. The $50 million facility opened last year after four years of construction. The museum is intended to explore Jewish civilization and its cultural foundations and achievements, while advancing tolerance and harmony.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Vienna Jewish Museum Contains Looted Objects, Officials Say

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Officials from the Jewish Museum of Vienna said that hundreds of objects in the museum’s possession were looted from Jewish families during the Holocaust.

A review of the artifacts found 490 objects and more than 980 books that may have been stolen from Jewish owners, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

“For historic reasons, people did not see themselves responsible for investigating the collection referring to provenance,” Christian Kircher, a member of the museum’s board, told the newspaper. “This attitude changed completely during the last few years.”

Museum officials said that researching the origin of Judaica can be quite difficult, given the few identifying markers and the fact that most Jewish institutions that existed before the Holocaust were destroyed. They also cited the lack of funds for such research.

“Our situation is not comparable to any other museum in Austria,” said Danielle Spera, who became the museum director in 2010.

“Anything that was acquired illegally ought to be returned,” she told the Austrian Der Standard daily last month. “There will not be a hint of hesitation.”

JTA

Crossing Borders: Masterpieces from the Bodleian Library

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Jewish Museum: 1109 Fifth Avenue @ 92nd Street www.thejewishmuseum.org – 212 423 3200 Until February 3, 2013

In the eyes of the ram lies the artist’s commentary on the Rosh Hashanah piyyut “The King Girded with Strength.” From the Tripartite Mahzor (German 14th century), this illumination simultaneously echoes the piyyut’s praise of God’s awesome power and expresses the terror of actually being a sacrifice to God. The ram is but a reflection of Isaac. It is all in the eyes.

Nearby another German Mahzor (14th century) is open to the same piyyut,here illuminated in a simpler manner: Isaac is on the altar ready to be slaughtered, Abraham heeds the angel and a collection of medieval grotesques, animals and men react to the horrible event. God’s strength is reflected in the ability to summon obedience to a deadly command.

Mahzor (14th century) “King Girded with Might”
Courtesy Bodleian Library & Jewish Museum

Two very different interpretations of the same piyyut probably created within decades of one another. And are both shown at the Jewish Museum’s “Crossing Borders,” an exhibition of medieval manuscripts from the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. This extraordinary exhibition presents the vibrant cross-cultural influences in the creation of medieval Hebrew manuscripts in the context of both Christian and Islamic cultural production. Additionally it explores the fascinating relationship between text and image in illuminated manuscripts.

The exhibition opens with three radically different manuscripts. A Hebrew Bible from Tudela (or Soria), Spain by artist and scribe Joshua ibn Gaon of Soria, (c.1300) displays the overwhelming Islamic decorative influence in Spain at the time. The facing carpet pages brilliantly shows interlocking abstract designs, one framed by a textual border, the other a heavy gold-leaf frame.

Michael Mahzor (1258) piyyut for Shabbos Shekalim
Courtesy Bodleian Library & Jewish Museum

Next is the earliest known dated and illustrated Mahzor (1257-1258) from Germany open to the page with the special piyyut for Shabbos Shekalim. The initial word panel is illuminated with an intriguing stag hunt scene featuring the two hunters whose helmets cover their faces. This sensitivity about depicting the human face is seen throughout this Mahzor and likely reflects a lingering concern over the second commandment that flourished in southern Germany in the 1230’s. But most surprisingly is the fact that the whole charming scene is depicted upside down! One reason given in the original catalogue essay by Eva Frojmovic for this singular depiction has been attributed to a Christian artist’s mistake, being unable to read the Hebrew text, and assumed it worked better upside down with the image centered at the bottom of the page. The curator of the Jewish Museum installation, Claudia Nahson, more plausibly explains that this upside down scene may be a reflection of the piyyut being recited right before Purim, when everything is “turned upside down,” especially in the narrative of the oppressed and hunted Jews.

Finally, the “Even HaEzer” (1438) from the Arba’ah Turim of Jacob ben Asher (the Tur) reveals sumptuous early Italian Renaissance manuscript illuminations. Gold leaf abounds amid peacocks, exotic birds and fantastic creatures surround the text “It is not good for man to be alone…” echoing the depiction of the creation of Eve in the Garden of Eden. Adam lies asleep as a winged Creator, complete with halo, kneels next to him, about to extract Eve from his side. On the right we see Adam and Eve poised before the forbidden tree and the tempting snake. The extremely unusual depiction of the Deity in a Hebrew manuscript reflects the highly acculturated nature of the Italian Jewish community almost certainly working with a Christian artist.

In these intriguing examples one can treat the visual as decorative and incidental to the text, thereby discounting the inherent and potentially disruptive meaning of the images. Or one can attempt to integrate image and text and see them in a creative relationship, effectively arriving at a new meaning of both text and image. Considering the enormous cost of illuminating manuscripts, the competition with surrounding non-Jewish elites, and the fact that manuscripts with such subversive images continued to be prized and used, I cannot believe for a moment such images were anything but intentional.

Richard McBee

Crossing Borders: Masterpieces from the Bodleian Library

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Jewish Museum: 1109 Fifth Avenue @ 92nd Street
www.thejewishmuseum.org – 212 423 3200
Until February 3, 2013

In the eyes of the ram lies the artist’s commentary on the Rosh Hashanah piyyut “The King Girded with Strength.” From the Tripartite Mahzor (German 14th century), this illumination simultaneously echoes the piyyut’spraise of God’s awesome power and expresses the terror of actually being a sacrifice to God. The ram is but a reflection of Isaac. It is all in the eyes.

Mahzor (14th century) “King Girded with Might”
Courtesy Bodleian Library & Jewish Museum

Nearby another German Mahzor (14th century) is open to the same piyyut, here illuminated in a simpler manner: Isaac is on the altar ready to be slaughtered, Abraham heeds the angel and a collection of medieval grotesques, animals and men react to the horrible event. God’s strength is reflected in the ability to summon obedience to a deadly command.

Two very different interpretations of the same piyyut probably created within decades of one another. And are both shown at the Jewish Museum’s “Crossing Borders,” an exhibition of medieval manuscripts from the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. This extraordinary exhibition presents the vibrant cross-cultural influences in the creation of medieval Hebrew manuscripts in the context of both Christian and Islamic cultural production. Additionally it explores the fascinating relationship between text and image in illuminated manuscripts.

The exhibition opens with three radically different manuscripts. A Hebrew Bible from Tudela (or Soria), Spain by artist and scribe Joshua ibn Gaon of Soria, (c.1300) displays the overwhelming Islamic decorative influence in Spain at the time. The facing carpet pages brilliantly shows interlocking abstract designs, one framed by a textual border, the other a heavy gold-leaf frame.

Michael Mahzor (1258) piyyut for Shabbos Shekalim
Courtesy Bodleian Library & Jewish Museum

Next is the earliest known dated and illustrated Mahzor (1257-1258) from Germany open to the page with the special piyyut for Shabbos Shekalim. The initial word panel is illuminated with an intriguing stag hunt scene featuring the two hunters whose helmets cover their faces. This sensitivity about depicting the human face is seen throughout this Mahzor and likely reflects a lingering concern over the second commandment that flourished in southern Germany in the 1230’s. But most surprisingly is the fact that the whole charming scene is depicted upside down! One reason given in the original catalogue essay by Eva Frojmovic for this singular depiction has been attributed to a Christian artist’s mistake, being unable to read the Hebrew text, and assumed it worked better upside down with the image centered at the bottom of the page. The curator of the Jewish Museum installation, Claudia Nahson, more plausibly explains that this upside down scene may be a reflection of the piyyut being recited right before Purim, when everything is “turned upside down,” especially in the narrative of the oppressed and hunted Jews.

Finally, the “Even HaEzer” (1438) from the Arba’ah Turim of Jacob ben Asher (the Tur) reveals sumptuous early Italian Renaissance manuscript illuminations. Gold leaf abounds amid peacocks, exotic birds and fantastic creatures surround the text “It is not good for man to be alone…” echoing the depiction of the creation of Eve in the Garden of Eden. Adam lies asleep as a winged Creator, complete with halo, kneels next to him, about to extract Eve from his side. On the right we see Adam and Eve poised before the forbidden tree and the tempting snake. The extremely unusual depiction of the Deity in a Hebrew manuscript reflects the highly acculturated nature of the Italian Jewish community almost certainly working with a Christian artist.

In these intriguing examples one can treat the visual as decorative and incidental to the text, thereby discounting the inherent and potentially disruptive meaning of the images. Or one can attempt to integrate image and text and see them in a creative relationship, effectively arriving at a new meaning of both text and image. Considering the enormous cost of illuminating manuscripts, the competition with surrounding non-Jewish elites, and the fact that manuscripts with such subversive images continued to be prized and used, I cannot believe for a moment such images were anything but intentional.

Richard McBee

Polish Billionaire Donates 20 Million Zloty to Jewish Museum

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Polish billionaire Jan Kulczyk’s company Kulczyk Holding has donated zł.20 million, or close to $6 million, for the construction of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, reports Gazeta Wyborcza.

The total cost of construction is expected to reach zł.320 million, or around $96 million, with the museum opening its doors in 2013.

“Life is not just a business, not just economics. We must remember what was,” Kulczyk said in a statement.

The sum donated by Kulczyk is the largest gift made by an individual donor to the museum project so far.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Edouard Vuillard, 1890-1940, at the Jewish Museum

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

“Edouard Vuillard: A Painter and His Muses, 1890-1940” has opened at the New York Jewish Museum and will run through September 23.

The exhibition offers a fresh view of the French artist Edouard Vuillard’s career, from the vanguard 1890s to the urbane domesticity of the lesser-known late portraits. The presentation focuses on the inspiration provided by friends and patrons whose support became inseparable from the artist’s achievement. Featuring some fifty key artworks in various media, the exhibition extends pioneering past projects of The Jewish Museum, New York, on the significance of collectors and patrons for the development of modern art.

The youngest of three children, Edouard Vuillard was born on November 11, 1868, in the town of Cuiseaux in eastern France. After the family moved to Paris Vuillard attended the prestigious Lycée Condorcet.

In 1891 Vuillard met the three Natanson brothers, Thadée, Alfred, and Alexandre, who had founded the progressive arts magazine La Revue Blanche. Thadée was in charge of art criticism and invited Vuillard to show work in the magazine’s offices that fall—his first one-person exhibition. Over the next several years the Natansons and their circle commissioned important works from Vuillard. Thadée’s wife, Misia, became Vuillard’s particular muse and appears in numerous works of the period.

After the turn of the century, the Revue Blanche ceased publication and the Natanson milieu began to fragment. Vuillard found a new supporter in the art dealer Jos Hessel, who began representing him and many of the Nabi painters after 1900.

After the end of World War I, Vuillard was a much sought-after portraitist; portraiture became the centerpiece of his life’s work between the wars. Chief among his subjects was Lucy Hessel, whom he painted innumerable times. With the German invasion of France, Vuillard fled Paris with the Hessels. He died in La Baule, Brittany, in June 1940.

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/edouard-vuillard-1890-1940-at-the-jewish-museum/2012/05/08/

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