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The Eye of The Collector: The Jewish Vision of Sigmund R. Balka

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The Eye of The Collector: The Jewish Vision of Sigmund R. Balka

Edited by Jean Bloch Rosensaft
Foreword by David Ellenson
Essays by Matthew Baigell, Laura Kruger, and Jean Bloch Rosensaft
Biographies of Artists by Bryony Roberts
Research by Marilyn Symmes

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York

Published in conjunction with the exhibition
The Eye of the Collector: The Jewish Vision of Sigmund R. Balka

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum
September 19, 2006 – January 30, 2007

Jean Bloch Rosensaft, Director
Laura Kruger, Curator
Judy Becker, Margot Berman, Bernice Boltax,
and Karen Palmer, Curatorial Assistants
Rachel Litcofsky, Museum Coordinator
Leah Kaplan, Public Programs Coordinator
Sara Burford, Faye Cassell, Sarah Friedman,
Abigail Greenbaum, Alixandre Greenberg,
Lawrence Kornreich, Sara Radin, Polina Vasilchenko, Museum Interns

Design: Dessolena Bottiglieri for Chikara Entertainment
Photography: Ben Cohen

The Eye of the Collector: The Jewish Vision of Sigmund R. Balka
Copyright © 2006 Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored In a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.

Front cover: Issachar ber Ryback, In The Shtetl, Lithograph.

Back cover: Agnes Weinrich, Patriarch, Drawing. 

Foreword

The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum is the visual extension of the spiritual, cultural, and educational life of the College-Institute. The Museum’s mission is to present the creativity of artists of all faiths exploring Jewish identity, history, and experience; to encourage contemporary artists to illuminate issues of faith and culture; to foster a deeper appreciation of Jewish heritage; and to build bridges of multicultural and interfaith understanding.

The Museum is a valuable resource for the College-Institute’s faculty and students, for the treasures of Jewish material culture offer amplification to the study of text and interpretation of tradition and thought. Furthermore, the Museum is a portal to the larger community and serves as a welcoming environment to engage visitors of all backgrounds and generations in the riches of our Judaic heritage and opportunities for Jewish learning.

We are enormously grateful to Sigmund Balka, the distinguished attorney and civic activist, for entrusting his art collection to our institution. The Sigmund R. Balka Collection encompasses the expression of European and American artists of the 19th and 20th century as they encountered the challenges of modernity. Images of traditional study and worship, the Jewish home and neighborhood, and reflections of religious faith mingle with depictions of assimilation and acculturation, the struggle for human rights and social justice, and the tragedy of those who perished in the Holocaust. The full trajectory of Jewish fate and survival are captured among the Collection’s paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and Judaica.

The Sigmund R. Balka Collection depicts the Jewish journey over the past two centuries and reminds us of the enduring values that have sustained our people throughout the millennia. It manifests the role of the artist as chronicler, interpreter, and prophet of his or her day. Most importantly, these images of artistic beauty, power, and imagination demonstrate the vitality of the human spirit.

Rabbi David Ellenson
President
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion 

Sigmund R. Balka: The Collector’s Vision

Jean Bloch Rosensaft
Director
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum

Sigmund Balka has gifted the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion with an encyclopedic survey of the major European and American Jewish artists and Jewish themes in art during the 19th and 20th centuries. Assembled over a period of five decades, Balka has sought out drawings, prints, photographs, and artist’s books by renowned and emerging artists that offer a panoramic impression of Jewish life and Jewish cultural production during a golden era of creativity. By donating his art to the College-Institute’s Museum in New York, Balka has demonstrated his strong commitment to the importance of Jewish material culture as a core component of the educational process within a seminary setting. The Balka Collection at the College-Institute exemplifies the meaningful role that the private collector can have on the development of a university art museum as an essential educational resource for faculty, students, and the larger public.

In reflecting on his role as a collector and the significance of this collection, Balka traces the genesis of his involvement from his earliest childhood. “My interest in the arts started when I was 4 or 5 years old. My parents, who were married in 1930, were influenced by the Depression, which set the tone for a conservative lifestyle. Despite her monetary limitations, my mother bought original paintings or an Oriental rug by asking the gallery to set them aside until she could pay for them. She did not settle for something that was just ordinary. My home environment was the basis for my appreciation for fine arts and antiques.”

He further developed his knowledge about art during his studies at Central High School of Philadelphia, renowned for the celebrated artists and collectors who had attended there, including Thomas Eakins, John Sloan, William Glackens, and Dr. Albert Barnes. “Central High School to many in my generation was a gateway to America. I was a member of the 198th class, having started with the 199th class but then accelerated my course in order to attend college in the Fall. Certainly it was the school that was influential in paving the way for opportunity to inherit the riches of a fine education and the road to taking advantage of the land of opportunity. Through teachers like Fred Gill, I was able to appreciate that there was an aesthetic side of life. I marveled over the great number of outstanding Central High School graduates who became artists.”

During his years at Williams College (B.A. 1956), where many current museum directors and curators have studied, he amplified his studies in political science and English literature with informal studies of art history and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He began collecting art while a student at Harvard Law School (J.D. 1959). Upon his return to Philadelphia to practice law, he became acquainted with a number of prominent contemporary Philadelphia artists.A few years later, Balka moved to Washington, DC, to work for the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations. He served as an Administrative Law Judge at the Interior Department, helped set up the Chief Counsel’s Office of the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, and served in the division of the Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation in the Labor Department. Simultaneously, his interest in art flourished. “I was exposed to the Washington Color School, seeing the work of Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland for the first time at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art. The Washington Print Club and Franz Bader Gallery were other important venues for my development as a collector.”

The impulse to acquire and live with art, and then to ultimately share it with teaching institutions, has animated Balka’s life. “It gives me satisfaction to establish relationships, in an orderly way, among different producers of creative talent in the arena of their own making, and to link their work and come up with something that is beyond the work of any one of them but is the essence of the work of all of them. These artists share commonalities plus talent that make a mark upon the people who have the opportunity to view and study their material. Being a collector enhances my opportunity to capture my own little worlds that hopefully represent more than just things of interest to me but that have a significance that stems from the spring of the human spirit to be the force that helps to regenerate mankind.”

Over the years, Balka has developed several major collections that reflect the scope of his interests. His collection of Early American Decorative Arts includes 80 rare pieces of decorated stoneware and also wood turned objects. “I am interested in master craftsmen’s contemporary pieces as well as beautiful historical pieces that had a functional use.” His collection of Modern and Contemporary Ceramics includes early 20th century pieces, which he likes “for their aesthetics as well as novel techniques and experimental glazes that reflected the creativity of groups of artists working in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.” He has acquired 75 sculptures by Canada’s Inuit population, a collection of Jewish theater posters from the Second Avenue Yiddish theaters of the early 20th century, a collection of works by artists who went to Central High School of Philadelphia, and thousands of volumes on art and Jewish life – all in addition to the collection of works of Jewish interest that he has donated to the College-Institute.

Balka’s enjoyment of the interplay of works of different eras, cultures, and traditions reflects the early influence of the Barnes Collection on his imagination. “While in Philadelphia I often visited the Barnes Collection, established by Dr. Albert Barnes, the famous collector and alumnus of my high school. He influenced my direction as a collector by the way in which he integrated varied collections of different kinds of art in the permanent display in his house. He combined his love of Pennsylvania Dutch furnishings, from chests to metalwork pieces, with his appreciation for the work of the leading Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Modern artists of his day. This showed me that I could combine collections also by putting things in the same house that had relevance in their own fields but were able to live together happily.”

His recent gift of 210 works to Williams College dovetails with the collection goals of their College Museum by adding key contemporary prints to their important holdings. Furthermore, it reinforces the Williams philosophy that teaching from art is at the heart of the educational process. The Balka gift includes 78 lithographs by the Philadelphia artist Benton Spruance, which amplify the history of art as well as the artistic process. “There are multiple versions of the same print, some reworked by the artist in between impressions. Such visible manifestations of the artist’s decision making will allow students to understand the creative process behind the finished work of art and provide opportunities for new research.”

The Balka Collection at the College-Institute represents a broad array of techniques in works on paper, including drawings and different print-making processes. Balka has a tremendous interest in the process of making art that has led to his acquisition of as many as seven or eight states of work by a given artist. “It appeals to me to see the creative play and an artist’s mental processes as he goes through the execution of a piece of art in the way of a graphic.”

The Collection he has gifted to the College-Institute grows out of a strong sense of Jewish identity and heritage. “My parents, and particularly my mother, were heavily involved in Jewish organizational activities. I had a religious education, attended synagogue at Adath Jeshurun, and at one point seriously considered entering the rabbinate and going to the College-Institute in Cincinnati or New York. It was therefore natural for me to think about the College-Institute as the appropriate venue for this collection of Jewish art. As a teaching institution, these works will be integrated into the educational experiences of faculty and students and engage the public audience. Furthermore, the College-Institute will be able to circulate these works to its other campuses and around the country to other academic institutions and centers of Jewish learning.”

Indeed, Balka has always collected art with the thought of sharing it. “Art is not of value if it is not presented so that people have the opportunity to interact with it. I don’t think I am anything but a custodian during my lifetime. We all have so few years of our lifetime to really be custodians of art. But the art speaks for itself. And the more public the opportunity to have it speak for itself, the better society is, in general.”

This vision has enriched his professional association with Krasdale Foods, Inc. in White Plains, NY since 1980, where he currently serves as Vice President, Public and Cultural Affairs and General Counsel. He is the Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Krasdale Galleries in White Plains and New York City, where he has curated over 100 exhibitions of modern and contemporary art in all media by artists from around the world. His collector’s eye has transformed the major grocery distributor into an art venue at the company headquarters in White Plains and into a prime alternative exhibition space in the resurgent area of Hunts Point in the Bronx, a vibrant center for artists’ studios, arts projects, and exhibit spaces associated with the International Center for Photography and Hostos Community College.

“A bare wall is like a blank mind. I had been at the company for some years, when in 1986 I approached Charles A. Krasne, the president of Krasdale Foods, with the idea of mounting changing exhibitions so that employees, business visitors, and the general public could be intellectually stimulated. Mr. Krasne said “Let’s give it a shot,” and the response was tremendously positive. I am proud of the fact that our exhibitions and opening receptions provide a favorable way of linking the community. I feel that it is worthwhile to have work that is provocative and will make people think. Within a short period of time, we realized that the employees were part of the whole enterprise. Art has become an integral part of their everyday life. It has brought them closer together and added to their quality of life.

”Balka’s commitment to linking art with the larger community extends to his having chaired the Fellows Council and having served on the Visiting Committee of the Williams College Museum of Art, chairing the Exhibitions and Acquisitions Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Queens Museum of Art, and serving on the Advisory Council for Visual Arts at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Center for Innovative Print and Paper. He also has served on the Board of Directors of the Bronx Council on the Arts, chaired the Hunts Point Sculpture Park Task Force, and currently serves as President of the Print Connoisseurs Society of New York, Chair of the Jewish Repertory Theater, and on the Boards of The Judaica Museum, the Bronx Council on the Arts Longwood Center, and the Museum of Ceramics of New York.

In addition to his association with Krasdale Foods, Inc., his distinguished professional career has encompassed service in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, as well as with the New York State Power Authority and as Vice-President – General Counsel of Brown Boveri Corporation (US); positions of leadership in the Greater New York Metropolitan Food Council, American Corporate Counsel Association and Foundation, American Bar Association Committee of Corporate General Counsel, and the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel; and service on the Art Law and General Counsel Committees of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He is a Fellow of the American and New York Bar Foundations, a member of the New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania Bars, and admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.

An avid community and environmental activist, Balka is the Former Chair of the Society for a Better Bronx and of the Economic Development and Law Committees of the Forest Hills/Rego Park Community Planning Board, and has served on Borough President Ferrer’s Task Force on Hunts Point, Mayor Giuliani’s Citywide Recycling Advisory Board and the Hunts Point Environmental Protection Council. He is in the process of producing a book capturing the Jewish history of his residential community on its 100th anniversary, entitled “Forest Hills: A Jewish Golden Land.”

But it is art that is Sigmund Balka’s lifelong passion, one that complements his professional, communal, and environmental commitments. Not a day passes that Sigmund Balka is not looking at art, meeting artists, acquiring works, guiding the development of museum collections, or organizing his next exhibition. It is a constant preoccupation that energizes his intellectual curiosity and his open-hearted and generous spirit. “Collecting art, curating exhibitions, and serving on museum boards are for me as natural as breathing. In this past century of Holocaust and destruction it is my link with man’s creative spirit, which in the end must prevail or we will extinguish ourselves.”

Balka’s vision of continuity and survival for the Jewish people and humankind reinforces the mission of the College-Institute. Within his collection, the images of Jewish life and expressions of social activism and spirituality that he has chosen convey the essence of a heritage that seeks universal justice, peace, and human freedom. The Sigmund R. Balka Collection at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum is a testament to the soul of the collector, the creativity of artists past and present, and the purpose of the College-Institute – and will serve as an enduring source of inspiration to all those who will enjoy and learn from its treasures. 

The Collection In Its Historical Context

Matthew Baigell
Professor Emeritus of Art History
Rutgers University

Sigmund Balka’s collection is the cumulative statement of a person with a distinct vision, one that clearly reflects his abiding concerns and interests. True, there are the occasional odd pieces acquired over the years, but the collection, primarily black and white drawings and prints, is remarkably coherent and therefore more than the sum of its individual parts, interesting as each might be. More often than not, the works are intimate in nature and include many, many portraits as well as persons engaged with each other in several different activities. Sometimes, they appear relaxed and at other times completely absorbed in the business at hand. It is the human element that seems most to have caught Balka’s attention. With some works, the viewer seems almost to intrude on a subject’s reverie or on the interactions between two or more people. This is all the more remarkable since Balka found his preferred images in artists from different time periods and countries and who embraced different styles. These include Rembrandt, Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, Jules Pascin, Leon Golub, Chaim Gross, Joseph Hirsch, Jack Levine, Louis Lozowick, and Raphael Soyer, among many others.

Although Balka’s concern is with people in general, an underlying interest is his attraction to Jewish subject matter. Perhaps to a greater extent than anybody else in recent years, he has amassed a body of work that reflects and records Jewish secular and religious experiences in Europe and America. One of the great strengths of his collection, excellent individual examples aside, is that one can read it as a chronological history of those experiences and as such it provides a wonderfully informative visual record of Jewish life over the last two centuries.

One scene that artists have portrayed over and over again in Europe and America is quite literally the Jewish street. What does it look like? How does it function? Who goes there? Fortunately, a handful of works in the collection indicate the different ways it has been portrayed, sometimes accurately and sometimes quite elegantly in order to introduce it to curious potential visitors as a quaint and picturesque part of a town or city. The hand-colored wood engraving, Francfort-La Rue des Juifs (Frankfort, Jewish Quarter ca. 1850-1900), is of the latter sort. We see a very colorful and clean street in which bedding is hung out to air – meaning that like other modern, cosmopolitan citizens, the inhabitants observe sanitary procedures. And merchants display their goods to potential clients including locals who are dressed in modern western clothing as if they had just wandered over from any other commercial street in Frankfort. There is nothing of the often caricatured filthy, overcrowded eastern European ghetto here. In fact, we are looking at the home of the Rothschild family, a family which follows the same codes of conduct as any other financially secure, modern German middle- or upper-class family.

We might contrast this work with Market Scene: Jewish Goose Peddler (1869) by Wilhelm Unger (1837- 1932) after Alois Schonn (1826-1897) in which at the unpaved market square we observe, along with at least one barefoot boy, the transaction taking place between traditionally garbed, eastern European Jewish men. The rickety nature of the large building behind them suggests their poverty as well as their indifference to pleasant living conditions.

A similar comparison of religious ceremonies can be made between a late nineteenth- century German hand-colored wood engraving of elegantly attired, if in eastern European garb, group of men taking part in the taschlich ceremony on Rosh Hashanah, according to which each individual casts his or her sins upon the water,  and the Blessing the Moon (1922), the ceremony known as Rosh Chodesh, by the Austrian- born American artist Lionel Reiss (1894- 1988) (Figure 4). It is from a series of ghetto and shtetl scenes composed of more shabbily dressed, gaunt men and children. Balka obviously noticed the link between these two works, which demonstrate that whatever the inroads of assimilation and acculturation, the old ways live on, in this instance through traditional religious piety and practice. Since Reiss spent his adult years in America, his Blessing the Moon, one of many such works by American artists, both memorializes and eulogizes the shtetl as the idealized home, the source of one’s heritage and culture, one’s sense of Yiddishkeit. One of the most touching examples of the link between the old and the new is Our Heritage by the Russian-born American Saul Rabino (1892-1969) in which the rabbi passes on the Torah to the young bar-mitzvah boy, now just become a young man, symbolic of the continuity of Jewish heritage from one generation to the next (Figure 5).

It should be noted at this point that at least one work in the collection reflects the point of view that the old could be combined with the new to create an unprecedented modern Jewish art, one that drew on the old as it reflected the new. This sense of a springtime for Jewish art appeared briefly in Russia at the time of the Revolution in 1917 when the new Soviet government granted autonomy to all national minorities including Jews. Several artists, free of all restrictions, hoped that a modern Jewish style might emerge from a mixture of traditional Jewish customs and folk art with modern western styles such as cubism and futurism. By the early 1920s, however, the authorities, now firmly in control, squelched all such aspirations for the next several decades-until the start of perestroika in the late 1980s and the collapse of the Communist regime a few years later. By that time, it was too late, of course, to imagine the development of a Jewish art in Russia with its own recognizable style and content. The lithograph, In the Shtetl (1917) by Issachar ber Ryback, is one of the might-have-beens, a work that might have served as a model, even an early example along with work by Chagall and others, of a modern Russian Jewish art.

Several Russian Jewish artists immigrated to Western Europe in the early 1920s, but the main developments in a Jewish-inflected art occurred in America, particularly in New York, which replaced Kiev, Moscow, Leningrad, and Warsaw as the center of Jewish art activity. But that activity spun off in two directions, one nostalgic for the old ways of living in the shtetl and the other committed to a secular politics of change. With regard to the latter, we can say quite briefly, that many deracinated artists who had thought that they had abandoned their heritage nevertheless substituted a belief in modern political (read socialist) progress, especially during the Great Depression of the 1930s, for the traditional Jewish prophecies of the better world to come. For many, whether they knew it or not, this belief was all that remained of their Judaism.

Of the very few overtly political works Balka collected, two stand out – Unemployed Marchers by Poland-born Leon Bibel (1913-1995) and Unemployed by Russian-born American Raphael Soyer (1899-1987). Both reveal the effects of horrid work conditions and of the economic malaise of the time. In both, there is the implicit hope of improving the desperate conditions of the time. Bibel’s stark, black-and-white lithograph shows a line of faceless, downcast men seen from the rear marching toward a city, presumably to a factory. Soyer’s color lithograph reveals a group of men sitting and waiting in an employment agency.

Many more politically neutral works by known and relatively unknown artists describe working class neighborhoods, the activities on the street, and the exchanges that occur between merchants, street vendors, and buyers. Balka clearly prefers images of the daily bustle of city life to those of the large, impersonal modern industrial city with its massed buildings and empty streets. Massachusetts-born Philip Cheney (1897- 1992) with Street Vendor (1934) and Seth Hoffman with East Side, New York (1942) chronicle the nimble give-and-take between sellers and buyers. Nikolai Cikovsky’s Lower East Side records the helter-skelter, hurried movements of anonymous urbanites at a busy street crossing.

The most notable group of works, however, reveals Balka’s interest in the continuation of traditional religious activities. One can imagine a lifetime sequence beginning with The Lesson (In the Classroom) by the Russian-born American Saul Raskin (1878-1966) (Figure 10), which shows an old-fashioned heder, the young boys dutifully, repeating their lessons for their melamid or teacher, to the mother of one or more of the boys Lighting Sabbath Candles by Austrian-born American Chaim Gross (1904- 1991) (Figure 11), to Breaking Bread by American-born Bernard Brussel-Smith (1914-1989) (page 47) in which one of the boys, now an old man, intones the prayer said before eating a piece of bread. This is a Jewish version of the stages of one’s life.

One can set up an equivalent sequence concerning the study of the holy books by bracketing the young with the old: Student by American-born Irving Amen (b. 1918) with Rabbi by the Austrian-born American Joseph Margulies (1896-1984).

As if stalking the subject matter of these prints and infusing them with a quality of sadness and loss, there looms the Holocaust. The lithograph, Holocaust Scene, 1939, by American-born Laurence Nelson Wilbur (1897-1988), like paintings and prints of the late 1930s and after, self-evidently describes the early effects of German anti-Semitic policies-refugees on the road. Latvian-born Isaac Friedlander (1890-1968), in a group of wood engravings from his portfolio, Milestones on the History of the Jew, envisaged the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and the fanciful Toward the New Day depicted a group of people rising from death and destruction in order to battle their way to freedom and, in affirmation of their survival, a new day.

Although there are no depictions of the horrors of camp life, the collection contains two works that only begin to suggest their psychological effects on individuals: Richard Gross’s painting, Untitled and the print, Eyewitness (1998), by the Israeli-born American Natan Nuchi (b. 1951). Gross effectively silhouettes two downcast anonymous figures against a scratchy background who, to no special purpose, wander off in different directions. Nuchi, the son of a survivor, suggests, through the use of digital imagery, the psychologically crossed wires that inhabit (perhaps for the rest of their lives) the minds of survivors. It would appear that both artists describe their subjects’ inability to reclaim their individuality.

Although the collection includes completely secular works as well as examples from non-Ashkenazic sources, its main strength lies in recapitulating the trajectory of European-American Jewish history and the ways artists dealt with their heritage. As such, it is instructive and informative and provides a visual complement to the many written histories of the events of the past two-hundred years. Its gaze is panoramic but obviously the result of one person’s vision. Nevertheless, it reveals a clarity of focus that, as indicated earlier, imbues it with an importance beyond its individual parts. 

Sigmund R. Balka: A Visionary Collector

Laura Kruger
Curator
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum

Collectors have many traits in common; passion, scholarship, discernment, direction. An important part of their psyche finds satisfaction in the pursuit, the hunt, the discovery of hitherto unknown or undervalued pieces. It might be a subject, a medium, a time frame, a place, but a seemingly unknown force compels them to explore the frontiers of their interest. The serious collector is motivated neither by investment gains, decorative value, celebrity, nor implied social status, but rather by a sense of involvement in the creative process itself. The intent in creating a collection may not be to mold history but indeed that is the result of these efforts, for without the commitment and focus of the individual collector, the juxtaposition of particular items would never occur. Therefore, a great collector creates an historical corridor for the viewer to travel, by combining artistic personalities that may never have met before, but, once placed side by side, create their own subtle connections. Similar to the characters in Tom Stoppard’s play, Travesties, just being in the same place at the same time changes the course of destiny.

Sigmund Balka recognized that the 20th century was a threshold for Jewish artists. The adherence to the 2nd Commandment, Exodus 20:4 “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth,” kept most observant Jews from creative graphic expression for millennia. Persecution, exile, dislocation and economic restrictions added another dimension that stifled graphic creativity. Not until the mid-19th century, after the Napoleonic Wars and the Emancipation of the Jews, did Jewish artists, depicting Jewish subjects, begin to make an appearance.

The significant change continued with the massive immigration to the New World and the cataclysmic rupture with life patterns of the past. Torn from the traditional European communities, talented people recorded their visual thoughts much in the manner of those with a literary bent who kept diaries, wrote novels and plays. Personal expression surged ahead of studio training. The camaraderie of like-minded persons forged communities of artists and spirited exchanges fueled their sense of belonging in an otherwise alien world. They grew up with feet in two continents, firmly embracing the new, the modern, and the seemingly boundary-free scope of America, at the same time tethered to Jewish Orthodox educational values. As young children they had absorbed the horrors of persecution, of pogroms, of privation and these early lessons became the seeds for social protest and political activism in their art.

Virtually all Jewish artists working in America are permanently impacted by their own epic immigration or that of their parents, of the struggle for acceptance in the American culture, by the economic devastation of the Great Depression (1929-1939), and the ultimate horror of the Second World War and the Holocaust. The shades and depth of bleak survival differ for each individual, but it is always present in each work. The more joyful scenes have a tentative suggestion of threat, of impermanence, the hope-deprived Holocaust images are despair incarnate. From generation to generation, they follow the thread of Jewish history, each layer becoming the foundation for the next, nothing forgotten, nothing concealed. The artists in this collection are linked by their heritage and memories.

Much of the Balka collection is in the form of works on paper: ink drawings, etchings, watercolor, woodcuts, linocuts, lithographs, collage and photography, each the immediate and intimate hand of the artist, a spontaneous conversation between the artist, the subject, and the viewer. Previously considered a lesser medium, watercolor and drawing gained new recognition between 1910 and the mid-1920s with the rise of modernism. The acceptance of works on paper by European artists such as Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso contributed to the general embrace of this form. The Jewish artists, in the whirl of cultural change, were always sketching, recording, observing the scenes and people abounding with life. These quick sketches made with inexpensive materials were within the reach of novice collectors eager to support the new art. The strong technique of woodcut and linocut, a visual memory of their Eastern European roots, was easily adapted to emphasize the power and vitality of the American scene.

The Balka Collection abounds in portraits of serious and time-weary activists: rabbis, tradesmen, factory workers, scholars, mothers, care givers – dedicated, serious, and learned, ready to continue with the tasks they diligently started. The prolific family of artists – Isaac, Moses and his twin brother Raphael Soyer – epitomizes the transition from Old World to the New. The twins born in 1899, and their brother, Isaac, born in 1907 emigrated from Russia to Philadelphia and settled in the Bronx in 1912. They each studied at Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design. They ultimately found their respective ways to the nurturing Educational Alliance, where they studied their craft, made seminal friendships with other Jewish artists, and went on to become art instructors at the school. Strongly embracing Social Realism, they found their subject matter at every turn. Each an individual, each with his own style and focus, they warmly nurtured their Yiddish- Jewish heritage. Friendships with Jewish authors led them to collaborative work, with Raphael illustrating the surreal stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer. Although they embraced social change and depicted the suffering of the working poor, the unemployed, the disenfranchised, their innate sensitivity to people transcended polemics and propaganda.

Saul Raskin (Russia, 1878-New York 1966), renowned illustrator, engraver, and etcher, is, for many viewers, their first introduction to 20th-century Jewish art. Many grew up with these widely distributed books, the Hagadah for Passover (1941) or Pirke Aboth, the Sayings of the Fathers (1940), which linked European and Middle- Eastern imagery with masterful etching. With sketchbook in hand, Raskin prowled the streets of New York catching the vivacity, cunning and bravado of trade people and Jewish communal personalities, each very much an individual. As one of the Jewish artists committed to surrealism, he continued his exploration of surreal symbols in order to “paint his dreams.”

The acutely drawn images by Sigmund Abeles (Brooklyn, New York, 1934), exploring every wrinkle and vestige of care-worn faces, beautiful in their exquisite execution and their compassionate understanding, form an underlying motif in the Balka collection. His etching, Seated Man, demands attention as an individual exhausted by life (Figure 27). Each artist envisages a sympathetic approach to his subject, gently encouraging and uncritical of the vicissitudes of time.

The hyper-realist, Max Ferguson ((New York, 1959), continues this tradition of meticulous craftsmanship in his virtuoso drawing of his father. In the etching, My Father in the Empire State Building (1984), we see the back of a sophisticated man, his father, waiting patiently for the elevator the door to open. There is an exquisite ambivalence in the scene, a sense of mystery and tension. The startling Self-Portrait by Leonard Baskin (New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1922-2000) merges the mythic imagery of the Biblical Prophets with the heroes of the Greco-Roman tradition. The son of a rabbi and yeshiva educated, Baskin was a prolific artist particularly adroit in all of the techniques of works on paper. Printmaking, etching, watercolor, woodcuts, and lithography define his style and the heroic biblical, classical, and mythological metaphors infuse it with a timeless, universal sensibility.

Sigmund Balka has an early history of championing female artists. Included in the Collection are works by several brilliant but less well known women, such as Reba Rottenberg (New York, 1912-2002). Her mystical watercolor portrait, Angst, is androgynous, relating entirely to humankind and not to gender differentiation (Figure 29). Rottenberg, an ardent supporter of Jewish culture, heritage, music and art, was a dramatic water colorist always going for the bold effect. Her photography, also in an impressionistic style, took on large scale natural phenomena: storms, cumulous clouds, shadows and light.

Joyce Kozloff (Somerville, New Jersey, 1942) is represented in the Balka Collection by ReNaming (2004), a layered ‘map mutation.’ In this water color which explores map making and the implications of dislocation, Kozloff questions how we are affected when the familiar names and places are appropriated and re-allocated. Certainly this is a reference to the displaced millions of the Holocaust, the obliterated cities and towns, the effects of brutal conquest (Figure 30). Melissa Gould created a largely fictional map of New York City with Berlin street/place names of the Nazi era.

Tamar Hirschl, born in Zagreb, Croatia at the onset of World War II, is not content to let go of the past. Ever exploring mindless conflict and senseless brutality through her art, she seeks to find a clue to unreason. Few women artists depict chaos with such mastery. In her mixed media on paper, Broken Dreams (2002), the explosion of shapes, forms, and colors, confuse and bewilder the viewer, and do not ever afford an explanation. Some of the other ground-breaking female artists included in the collection are Isabel Bishop, Selma Bluestein, Hermine David (who was the wife of Jules Pascin), Esti Dunow, Evelyn Eller, Grace Graupe-Pillard, Ruth Leaf, Louise Nevelson, and Bernarda Bryson Shahn (the wife of Ben Shahn).

Sigmund Balka does not shy away from the darkest subject, the Holocaust, but with understanding and concern has selected several artists to bespeak this black void. Natan Nuchi (Israel, 1951) uses digital technology to draw the ultimate witness, a portrait of capillary-like threads defining a fragile head and aptly titled Eyewitness (1998). We can only ‘see’ by looking inside ourselves. Nuchi combines the hallmarks of the Balka Collection – work on paper, portrait, Jewish – to define dread (Figure 17). The thronging crowd of beleaguered Jews clutching their babies and bundles, fleeing, but not knowing where, was captured with deft crayon strokes in the lithograph, Holocaust Scene (1939) by Laurence Nelson Wilbur. His own saga and background was as exotic as his work but it is the immediacy of his intellect and compassion that called him to Balka’s attention. The Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto is a wood cut of powerful despair by Isaac Friedlander who invests the scene with inevitable reality.

The Sigmund R. Balka Collection is proof that the sum is truly greater than the parts. Any of these works is strong enough to be placed in individual splendor, however their collective energy is unique, and their partnership sets them off to form a new consideration of time and place. The comfortable connections of artists who knew one another and yet voiced their common experiences in varied styles, the influence of one generation on the following, the ebb and flow of subject matter, the persistence of universal themes, the long generational memories, and the depth of traditional Jewish values marks this as a major undertaking.

 

Biographies of Artists

Bryony Roberts

Sigmund Abeles (1934- )

A talented printmaker and teacher, Sigmund Abeles is known for his thoughtful studies of the human figure. Abeles was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1934, but moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with his mother in 1936 when his parents divorced. He was determined to be an artist at a young age despite the protests of his mother, who imagined him becoming a doctor or a lawyer. As an adolescent, he visited the sculpture park at Brookgreen Gardens and spent hours drawing and painting from the figures. While still in high school, he studied with Gerald Tempest, who became an important mentor for the young artist. When Abeles enrolled at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, he was uncomfortable with the preponderance of abstract art, and left after one semester for the University of South Carolina. To satisfy his mother, he enrolled in the pre-med program, but took summer classes with Reginald Marsh, Morris Kanter and Harry Sternberg at the Art Students League in New York.

In 1955 and 1956 he studied with Isabel Bishop, Edwin Dickinson, and Ben Shahn at the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting in Maine. During this time Abeles was highly influenced by Social Realism, a style which was reflected in his woodcuts of the figure, and became involved in the civil rights movement. After participating in a civil rights sit-in, he was encouraged to graduate early from USC. He went on to earn his M.F.A. at Columbia University in New York in 1957 and was drafted immediately following graduation.

In the 1960s, Abeles married and settled in New England, where he taught at the Swain School of Design, Wellesley College, Boston University, and eventually, University of New Hampshire. During these years, he made many prints of his family alongside politically charged works of the Vietnam War. Like much of his mature work, the prints are skillful renditions of the human form that combine elegant lines with expressive mark-making.

Abeles returned to New York City in 1994, where he currently teaches painting at the Art Students League. He has had solo exhibitions of his work at the Portland Museum of Art, the Bates College Museum of Art, and the Burroughs/Chapin Art Museum, several of which have traveled nationally. His works are in major public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the British Museum, and the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts and in the private collections of the late Leonard Baskin, Raphael Soyer, and Lewis Mumford.

 

Irving Amen (1918- )

During his long life, Amen has left his mark as a painter, a printmaker, and an instructor. Born in New York City in 1918, he proved himself a talented and motivated child. He began to draw at the age of four, and by fourteen had won a scholarship to study art at Pratt Institute. He admired Michelangelo and learned from his drawings, but was determined to find his own personal style. The characteristic work that emerged is a unique fusion of naturalistic and stylized figurative forms, a style that is most evident in his prints, where the human form is enveloped in complex compositions of abstract patterns and shapes. This unusual approach manifests the influence of a variety of artists and movements, including Paul Klee, Cubism, and Pablo Picasso’s figurative works. Amen’s work often employs iconic imagery from religious and historical narratives. Through symbolic arrangements of human figures, he delves into these narratives and expresses his deep concern for humanity.

After serving in the Armed Forces during 1942–1945, Amen led mural projects in the United States and Belgium. His first exhibitions in 1949 were at the New School for Social Research in New York and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. Amen was deeply inspired by his travels. After visiting Italy in 1953, he created a series of eleven woodcuts, eight etchings, and several oil paintings, one of which, the woodcut “Piazza San Marco #4”, is permanently installed in the Smithsonian Institution. His 1960 retrospective at the Artists House in Jerusalem reflected his travels in Israel, Greece, and Turkey. Amen also lived and studied in Paris, where he produced several one-person shows of painting, woodcuts, and sculpture. Throughout his life, he has taught sculpture and printmaking at prominent institutions of higher learning, including Pratt Institute and Notre Dame University. Among his most notable commissions were a Peace Medal in honor of the Vietnam War and twelve stained glass windows for the Agudas Achim Synagogue in Columbus, Ohio.

 

Will Barnet (1911- )

Born to immigrant parents in 1911 in Beverly, Massachusetts, Will Barnet was a New York- based artist, best known for his geometric, figurative paintings and prints. A contemporary of the Abstract Expressionists of the 1950s, his work had a more figurative bent than his peers, incorporating influences and imagery from the Renaissance and Native American Art. He was a key figure in the New York movement called Indian Space Painting, a group of artists who based their abstract and semi-abstract work on Native American art.

Barnet became interested in printmaking as a teenager. During the many hours he spent in museums and libraries, he discovered the beauty of fifteenth-century woodblock prints and tried his hand at the linoleum block print. His earliest influences were the German, Italian, and Flemish artists of the Renaissance whose work he found in books. Barnet studied at the Boston Museum School between 1928 and 1931 before winning a scholarship to study at the Art Students League in New York. There he learned lithography from Charles Locke and studied with Stuart Davis. At this time he began to admire Daumier and the Mexican muralist Orozco, and his prints reflected their influence. After mastering the many techniques of printmaking, he became a professional printer for the Art Students League, and in 1936 served as a technical advisor and printer for the Graphic Arts Division of the Works Progress Administration.

Barnet made his entrance into abstraction in the 1930s when, influenced by Picasso, Klee, and Miro, he began making abstract paintings that incorporated styles and techniques from printmaking and employed printmaking to try out new ideas. In the 1940s he taught at the Art Students League and later at Cooper Union, while exhibiting regularly in New York. Over the next decade, he produced geometric, flat works that incorporated iconic imagery in reaction against Abstract Expressionism. In the mid 1950s, he became part of the Indian Space Painting Movement, an artistic community in New York that admired the art of the Hopi and Northwest Coast Indians. His work evolved throughout his lifetime, even reflecting a visible Asian influence after a visit to Japan in 1984 to study with Japanese print masters. His best-known pieces are his portraits and figure studies from the late 1950s, which contrast simple silhouettes against planes of color.

Barnet has exhibited at many major museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. He taught for short periods at Yale University, the Boston Museum School, and Washington State University, before securing a teaching position at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he remained until 1992. He currently resides in New York City.

 

Leonard Baskin (1922–2000)

A highly respected draftsman, printmaker, teacher, and sculptor, Leonard Baskin gained international recognition for his charged portrayal of the human condition. Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1922, he had a strong Jewish upbringing, which he says became the foundation for his artwork. He was both the son and brother of orthodox rabbis, and after his family moved to New York City in 1929, he attended what he later called a “dark, medieval” yeshiva in Brooklyn and worked in a synagogue for pocket money as a teenager.

Baskin studied at the Educational Alliance in New York with Maurice Glickman, at the NYU School of Architecture and Applied Arts (where he concentrated on sculpture but made linoleum cuts as early as 1939, later incorporating his prints into book design), and at the Yale School of Art (where as a student he founded the Gehenna Press to produce and publish his own prints and was expelled in 1942 when he became too distracted by his private intellectual investigations). Baskin subsequently enlisted in the Navy and served in its Air Force during World War II. After the war, he studied at the New School in New York as well as in Paris and Florence. The Gothic and Early Renaissance sculptures he saw in Europe influenced him greatly and he longed to continue his tandem pursuits in sculpture and printmaking. When he settled in Worcester, Massachusetts with his wife in 1952, he finally had enough space for both media. He began teaching at Smith College and stayed there for the next twenty years.

During his years at Smith, Baskin delighted in the monumental, creating prints as large as eight feet by three and a half feet, an achievement in print-making. By the mid-1950s, Baskin became well known for his prints and sculpture. His figurative prints of the period, dense with tense, bold lines, explored the existential questions of life, deviating from the mainstream of Abstract Expressionism. He became isolated from his peers and misunderstood, yet refused to discard the human figure as his subject and used it to explore man’s bestiality, fragility, and corruption. He was not interested in literal naturalism; instead, he distorted the body to communicate emotion. Baskin was strongly influenced by classical forms, and his work reflects his interests in Greek mythology and Jewish tradition and culture.

He and his family moved to Devon, England in the 1970s, but still spent their summers in Maine. Baskin’s exploration of materials continued to evolve late in his life; he made his first monotypes in 1982 and created two large-scale memorial sculptures in the 1990s, including a seven-foot bronze figure for the Holocaust Memorial at the First Jewish Cemetery in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a thirty-foot-long bas-relief for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. In 1984 he designed and illustrated The Five Scrolls (Ecclesiastes, Esther, Song of Songs, Ruth, and Lamentations) for the Central Conference of American Rabbis Press. His work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Vatican Museum. Baskin died in 2000 in Northampton, Massachusetts.

 

Max Beckmann (1884-1950)

One of Germany’s foremost modernists and leading artists of the twentieth century, Max Beckmann is known for his narrative, metaphorical treatment of political subjects. Beckmann was born in Leipzig in 1884, the youngest of three children. When his father, a grain merchant, died in 1894, his mother raised the family in her hometown of Braunschweig, Germany. Over the protests of his family, Beckmann enrolled in the Grandducal Art School in Weimar in 1900 and studied with Carl Frithjof Smith. He worked in Paris in 1903, moved to Berlin in 1904, where he gained recognition and exhibited with the Berlin Secession group, a cadre of artists who withdrew from the established academic societies or exhibitions, creating alternative exhibition opportunities, and received the Villa Romana Prize to study in Florence for six months.

In 1909 he met Emil Nolde and participated in an exhibition at the Salon d’Autumne in Paris. At this time he made his first lithographs; his work in this medium, as in painting, evolved from traditional figure studies to more iconic, symbolic images. Frustrated with the Berlin Secession, Beckmann resigned from its board in 1911 and formed the Salon de Refusés with members of the Brücke group. The year 1912 ushered in his first one-man show at Galerie Paul Cassirer in Berlin and his first monograph, written by Hans Kaiser. In the following year, Beckmann participated in his first group show in the United States – Contemporary German Art at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Beckmann was highly influenced by the destruction of the First and Second World Wars. He served during Word War I in the field hospital corps in East Prussia, Flanders, and Strasbourg, and after being discharged for an emotional breakdown, settled in Frankfurt am Main where he became a professor at the Städelsches Kunstinstitut. In the 1920s he developed his mature style, combining elements of Cubism, Northern Gothic art, and Expressionism in figurative scenes that addressed contemporary politics. He allowed only the Neue Sachlichkeit movement to claim him as a comrade, denying any connection to Expressionism. Before the Nazis came to power in 1933, he was exhibiting widely and spending his winters in Paris.

The Nazi regime destroyed Beckmann’s career in Germany. They declared his work ‘degenerate’ and dismissed him from his teaching position. After the Beckmann gallery at the Nationalgalerie in Berlin was forced to close, he left Germany In 1937, a week before the “Degenerate Art” exhibition opened with ten of his paintings. Beckman spent the next ten years in exile in Amsterdam. In 1947 he left Europe and accepted a teaching position at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He had his first U.S. retrospective at the City Art Museum of St. Louis and moved to New York in 1949, where he taught advanced painting at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. In 1950, the year he died, he represented Germany in the Twenty-Fifth Venice Biennale. His work has been collected by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Tate Britain, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, the Kunstmuseum Basel, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

 

David Bekker (1897-1955)

David Bekker was a painter, sculptor, stained glass designer, and printmaker of religious themes, as well as an ordained rabbi. He was born in Vilna, Poland, in 1897, and studied art at the Antokolsky School in Vilna, Poland, at the Palestine Academy of Art under Boris Schatz, and at the Bezalel School in Jerusalem under Abel Pann. He served in Bucharest, Romania during World War I and after the war, moved to the United States, where he began rabbinical studies and was ordained as a rabbi in Casper, Wyoming.

Deciding to pursue a career as an artist instead, Bekker studied at the Denver Academy of Fine Arts and then settled in Chicago in the 1920s. He was deeply religious throughout his life and his Jewish identity remained important to his work. During the Depression, he worked as a WPA artist, painting murals of human suffering in Illinois public buildings. He taught art at the Hull House in Chicago and in 1932 published a portfolio of woodcuts titled Myths and Moods. Bekker exhibited eight times at the Art Institute of Chicago between 1934 and 1945 and was commissioned to make ivory portraits and two plaques of the Royal Family of Romania. His work is in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Museum of American Art, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and the Tel Aviv Museum. Bekker died in Chicago in 1955.

 

Leon Bibel (1913-1995)

Poland-born painter Leon Bibel lived and worked in the United States most of his life, creating a legacy as a social realist in his prints and paintings. An artist of the New York City WPA Federal Art Project in the 1930s, he was passionate about labor and union issues and concerned with justice as it impacted on the very poor in the Depression.

Bibel arrived in the U.S. as a child when his parents immigrated to San Francisco from their native town of Szczebrzeszyn, Poland. He attended the Polytechnic High School and studied at the California School of Fine Arts. After winning a scholarship to study with the German Impressionist Maria Riedelstein, Bibel collaborated with Bernard Zackheim, a student of Diego Rivera, on the frescoes of the San Francisco Jewish Community Center and the University of California at San Francisco’s Toland Hall. In 1936, he moved to New York and worked as a WPA artist at the Harlem Art Center in New York City, making extra income teaching at P.S. 94 and the Bronx House. The themes of the Depression era infused his work; he devoted himself primarily to portraying the conditions of the working class and the politics of protest, although he also depicted more conventional landscapes and cityscapes. Although he experimented with many media and styles throughout his life, this social realist work is his lasting legacy.

When Bibel’s WPA program ended and the Second World War began, he and his wife and several friends moved to New Brunswick, New Jersey to live as chicken farmers. For more than twenty years he lived removed from the art world, but he returned to art in the 1960s with renewed enthusiasm and a radically changed style. He experimented with wood sculpture, creating miniature buildings, figures within shadow boxes, and a synagogue ark. A close companion of sculptor George Segal, Bibel became the frequent subject of the other artist’s work at this time, appearing in works such as “Depression Bread Line,” installed at the FDR Memorial. Bibel exhibited extensively after the mid-1960s, at the Newark Museum, the Jersey City Museum, the National Academy of Design, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum, and the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum. His work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Newark Museum, the Zimmerli Art Museum of Rutgers University, the Amon Carter Museum, and the Art Collection of the Federal Reserve Board, as well as in many university, corporate, and private collections. Bibel died in 1995.

 

Uriel Birnbaum (1894-1956)

Uriel Birnbaum was an Austrian painter, caricaturist, writer and poet, born in Vienna in 1894, the youngest son of Nathan Birnbaum, a Jewish philosopher, and Rosa Korngut. The artist died in 1956 in Amersfoort, Netherlands.

 

Isabel Bishop (1902-1988)

American urban realist painter Isabel Bishop overcame the challenges of a predominately male art community in her day to be a successful painter, printmaker, teacher, and spokesperson for the arts. Her best-known work is of the working class women she observed in New York City, particularly in Manhattan’s Union Square, where she held a studio from 1934-1984.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1902 and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where she attended the Wicker Art School, Bishop came to New York when she was sixteen to attend the New York School of Applied Design for Women. After two years, she enrolled at the Art Students League, where she studied with Kenneth Hayes Miller, who encouraged her to depict street life and emphasized the importance of drawing. Bishop attempted suicide three times in the 1920s and during these tumultuous years, she produced many baroque-influenced drawings and paintings of women’s faces, sometimes in strange contortions, manifesting the influence of 17th-century Baroque painters such as Rembrandt and Rubens. In 1934 she married and moved to Riverdale, New York, but until 1984 maintained a studio on Union Square at 14th Street, rooting her in a hub of urban and artistic activity. She became the only female member of the “Fourteenth Street School,” which included Reginald Marsh, the Soyer brothers, and Kenneth Hayes Miller. For the rest of her life she would paint the mostly working class women she observed in the park and streets of her neighborhood, giving even the most quotidian and banal scenes nobility, grace, and linear movement.

Bishop was a skilled teacher and community leader. She taught at the Art Students League in New York (where she was the only female full-time instructor) from 1935-1937, and at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. In 1938, she worked as a WPA muralist, and completed a mural for the Post Office in New Lexington, Ohio. In 1946 she served as the vice- president of the National Institute of the Arts and Letters, making her the first woman to hold an executive position in that organization.

In her lifetime, Bishop produced fewer than two hundred canvases, but she exhibited extensively. Her works were exhibited in solo and group shows at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Corcoran Gallery, the National Academy of Design, Library of Congress, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and several Venice Biennales. She is featured in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the New York Public Library, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. A year after she died, the Midtown Galleries in New York held a retrospective of her work. Bishop was widely recognized for her accomplishments – she received an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in 1943 and an award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts presented to her by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, along with numerous honorary doctorate degrees. She died in 1988 in Riverdale, New York.

 

Julius Bloch (1888-1966)

Julius Bloch, a social realist painter, devoted his career to exposing injustice by depicting the working poor, blacks, strikers, and prisoners in the United States. A Jewish immigrant to the U.S. (born in Kehl, Germany in 1888) and the youngest of four children, he and his family settled in Philadelphia when he was five years old. Bloch grew up in the financial instability of a family struggling to find a better way of life in America. Despite their poverty, Bloch’s mother, the dominant influence on his life, exposed him to literature and music, and encouraged him to become an artist. He attended Central High School, the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, which at the time, was highly influenced by European modernism and a group of artists known as the Philadelphia Modernists. Bloch stood out from his peers with his unusual interest in Realism and affinity with the art of Thomas Eakins.

Bloch was drafted into service and fought at Verdun in World War I. He returned from the war emotionally scarred from the horrors that he had witnessed and began to depict war scenes and dead soldiers in his paintings. He wrote avidly in journals, which enabled him to elucidate his cultural critiques of war, poverty, and social injustice. Like many other social realists, Bloch admired Daumier greatly and adopted a similarly compassionate, figurative style. He supported himself in part by teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, but also had many affluent patrons, whose support enabled him to spend summers in Woodstock, New York, and to travel to Italy and Greece. It has been said that about Bloch that “with the support of the rich, he portrayed the poor.”

In the 1930s, Bloch turned to racial inequality and the Depression in his lithographs and oil paintings. He published lithographs in the New Masses, a left-of-center publication, and used his art to support leftist political causes. In 1934, he shocked society by submitting a portrait of an African American man, Alonzo Jennings, for display in the window of an elite Center City department store. Store officials said it was one of the finest paintings they had seen, but that the store “could not exhibit a portrait of a Negro in its windows.” When asked if he had pictures of white people, Bloch said he did, but that they were not available. Bloch is now acknowledged as the first American artist to portray black persons with the dignity generally reserved for portraits of powerful white figures. He gained national recognition in the 1930s, and Eleanor Roosevelt purchased one of his paintings for the White House.

He abandoned his figurative style suddenly in the 1940s and began making abstract work, possibly because he feared being blacklisted during the McCarthy era. In 1962 he was forced to retire from the Academy, which had been his “lifeblood,” and had to rely on his friends for support. When Bloch died suddenly in 1966, his works had been acquired by the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; he left his works to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

 

Selma Bluestein (1935-1985)

Active both in the art world and politics, Selma Bluestein was a printmaker and anarchist. Born in the early twentieth century, she studied art at Cooper Union in New York, and subsequently met her lifelong partner Abe Bluestein, an anarchist activist who kindled her interest in politics. She worked with Moses Soyer in New York on WPA projects from 1935 to 1937 and then she and Abe went to Spain to support the Spanish Loyalists during the Spanish Civil War. There, she worked as an artist while Abe was a reporter for anarchist and labor organizations.

In the 1940s, the couple returned to the United States and settled in Croton, New York, where Abe became active in the Jewis Labor Movement and solidified his friendship with Emma Goldman. Selma raised their four children while exhibiting her art across the United States, participating in solo and juried exhibitions, including the New York City WPA Exhibition and a show at the Parsons School of Design in 1977. She is best known for her printmaking abilities, which she perfected while working as an artist in Bob Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop. She was also an accomplished illustrator for The Web. She died in 1985.

 

Jack Bookbinder (1911-1990)

Jack Bookbinder is known for his luminous representational paintings, lithographs, and illustrations of the human figure or landscape, and for his participation in the Philadelphia art community. Born in 1911 in Odessa, Bookbinder moved to Philadelphia as a young man and simultaneously pursued a Bachelor of Science in Education at the University of Pennsylvania and studied art under Henry McCarter and Daniel Carger at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He earned an M.F.A. at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in 1946.

Throughout his life, Bookbinder was as invested in art education as he was in creating art. He was a consultant to the Department of Education at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 1945 to 1946, a special assistant to the Director of Art Education in the School District of Philadelphia from 1946 to 1959, and the Director of Art Education of that district from 1959 through the 1970s. He lectured at the Barnes Foundation during 1936-1944, at the University of Pennsylvania during 1947-1959, and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1949 to 1961. Bookbinder also wrote several books, contributed essays to magazines, and produced several television series about art and artists.

At the same time, he exhibited constantly, participating in approximately fifty exhibitions around the world in his lifetime. He exhibited regularly at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1944 to 1954 and less frequently during the late 1950s and 1960s, at the Library of Congress during the 1940s, and at the Corcoran Gallery during the 1940s and 1950s. Internationally, Bookbinder exhibited at the Royal Academy of the Arts in London, and in Mexico City. His work is in the collections of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery. Bookbinder died in 1990 in Philadelphia.

 

Bernard Brussel-Smith (1914-1989)

Bernard Brussel-Smith was one of the few artists to succeed in the difficult medium of wood engraving. Born in New York City in 1914, he studied wash and lithography with Roy Nurse and Henry McCarter at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on a scholarship from 1931 to 1936 and won the Cresson Fellowship for foreign travel in 1935. In 1941 he had his first experience with wood engraving at the New School for Social Research in a course with Fritz Eichenberg, whose teaching assistant he became within a year. Wood engraving is similar to the woodcut, except that it is applied to the end grain of a block of wood and allows for much greater detail. Brussel-Smith modeled his personal technique after that of Thomas Bewick, who was considered the master of wood engraving.

He spent most of his life in New York City, teaching at the Brooklyn Museum, Cooper Union, and the National Academy and supporting himself by working in advertising and doing freelance wood engraving and illustrations for publications such as Holiday, Life, Saturday Evening Post, and Reader’s Digest. To broaden his skills in the field, he studied calligraphy, typography, and layout and designed two complete alphabets for the printing firms Westcott and Thomson and Savina Uncial. Eventually he also mastered the intricate process of color wood engraving, which required as many as nine or ten separate blocks for each color.

Brussel-Smith’s engravings depict a wide range of subjects, including urban scenes, Jewish rituals, portraits, and landscapes. He achieved great ease with his technique, creating images that are subtle, layered, and richly detailed. His travels in the second half of his life broadened his style and subject matter. Between 1957 and 1958, he studied with Stanley William Hayter in Paris and executed relief etchings inspired by William Blake. From 1957 to 1980, he spent summers with his family in Collonges-la-Rouge, France, where the natural beauty inspired his landscape engravings. Brussel-Smith had solo exhibitions abroad at Galerie St. Jacques in Collonges-la-Rouge, Musée Ernest-Rupin in Brive, France, and the Olthuysen Ateliers in Rotterdam, Netherlands. In the United States, his one-man exhibitions included the Desert Museum in Palm Springs, California, and the Bethesda Art Gallery in Maryland; a retrospective of his work at the Farleigh Dickenson University Library (1983); the Sterling Memorial Library of Yale University (1988), and the Associated American Artists. His work is in the permanent collections of the New York Public Library, the National Academy of Design, the Library of Congress, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Boymans Museum in Rotterdam, and the Lenin Library in Moscow, among other museum and library collections in the U.S. and abroad. Brussel-Smith died in Bedford Hills, New York in 1989.

 

David Burliuk (1882-1967)

David Burliuk was one of the stars of the Russian avant-garde and the father of Russian Futurism. He was talented in many disciplines, earning recognition as a painter, lecturer, writer, and poet. Burliuk was born in 1882 in Kharkov, Russia (now Ukraine) to a family descended from wealthy Ukrainian peasants. During his childhood, he traveled extensively through Russia, visiting the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow when he was fifteen, where he was deeply influenced by the paintings of Shishkin, Kuindzhi, Repin, and Serov. He studied at art schools in Kazan, Odessa, Munich, Paris, and Moscow during his youth and acquired the skills of traditional painting.

In 1904, he met the young Kazimir Malevich, who shared his affection for Shishkin and Repin, but both artists soon rejected this Russian art, and all previous methods of art making, in favor of a “new art of wild beauty.” Burliuk collaborated with Vladimir Mayakovsky, Mikhail Matiushin, Malevich, and many other Russian avant-garde artists during this period to create a new art form. His vision, which generated Russian Futurism, was to form a universal movement that could express its ideas through a fusion of different media. Burliuk’s writing was the linguistic equivalent of modernist painting and was very influential to Russian literary circles. He was also involved in significant art movements within and outside of Russia, including the “Jack of Diamonds,” “Sturm,” and “Der Blaue Reiter” (The Blue Rider). After the Russian revolution of 1917, Burliuk moved to Japan and then to the United States in 1922.

Soon after his arrival in New York, Burliuk exhibited with the Société Anonyme and at the Whitney Museum of American Art. While living in Hampton Bays, Long Island, during the 1930s, Burliuk and his wife Marussia co-published the magazine Color and Rhyme, a review of poetry and modern art. Since he believed that the two forms of artistic expression enhanced each other, Burliuk often interwove the verses with reproductions of paintings. In later years, Burliuk exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Art Institute of Chicago. His diverse work can now be seen in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Burliuk died in 1967 in Northampton, New York.

 

Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

Chagall was born Moishe Segal on June 7, 1887 in Vitebsk, Russia, the oldest of nine children in an impoverished, close-knit Jewish family led by his father, a merchant and his mother, Feiga-Ita. As a young child, Chagall attended cheder (religious school) and was influenced by Habad Hassidism’s worship through fervent prayer and joyful song and movement, love for story-telling, and the belief that holiness could be discovered in the everyday, the weary, and the poor.

During his adolescence, Chagall’s parents supported his early studies in painting with the famed Vitebsk artist Yehuda Pen. He moved to St. Petersburg in 1906 and attended the school of the Imperial Society for the Protection of Fine Art and the Zvantseva School. In 1910 his patron Max Vinaver supported his move to Paris, where he settled in a studio at “La Ruche,” amidst many immigrant artists. Chagall eventually befriended Robert Delauney and the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, who helped him to achieve a solo exhibition at Der Sturm in 1914, launching his career. Soon after, he exhibited at the Salon des Indépendents and the Salon d’Automne.

In 1914, shortly before World War I broke out, Chagall returned to Russia to marry Bella Rosenfeld. After the 1917 revolution, he was appointed Commissar of Art in Vitebsk and its region, and founded a museum and an art school, at which he invited El Lissitzky, Kasimir Malevich, and Jean Pougny to teach. Pushed out of his position by Malevich, he went to Moscow, where he designed theater sets and costumes for Moscow State Jewish Theater. He left Russia for the last time in 1922 for Berlin, where he studied printmaking with Hermann Struck, experimented with lithography and woodcuts, and developed a preference for etching – creating etched illustrations for his autobiography, Mein Leben (My Life). Returning to Paris in 1923, Chagall was commissioned by the noted art dealer and publisher Ambrose Vollard to illustrate Gogol’s Dead Souls (1923-27), La Fontaine’s Fables (1928-31) and the Bible (1931-39, 1952-56).

After the fall of France to the Nazis, Chagall was arrested in the South of France in 1941. Through the efforts of Varian Fry and the Emergency Rescue Committee and an invitation by the Museum of Modern Art (also offered to Matisse, Picasso, Dufy, Rouault, Masson, and Ernst), the American Consul in Marseilles arranged for his release. His arrival in New York was soon welcomed with retrospective exhibitions at both the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at the Art Institute of Chicago. After the war, he returned to France permanently, and exhibited throughout Europe.

Chagall’s instinctive and inventive style and romantic spirit merged the experiences of dreams and reality, incorporating Hassidic and biblical iconography from his Vitebsk childhood, impressions of Paris and Palestine (later Israel), and experiences during the Russian Revolution and the Second World War. He did not conform to any of the art movements of his day, but his work incorporated some elements of Surrealism, Fauvism, Cubism, and Expressionism. He expressed his imagination through painting, drawings, printmaking, mosaics, set designs, large-scale commissions for New York’s Metropolitan Opera House and the Paris Opera, and stained glass works for the United Nations, the Cathedral at Metz, and the synagogue of the Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem. Chagall died on March 28, 1985, in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France.

 

Samuel Chamberlain (1895-1975)

Samuel Chamberlain excelled as a printmaker, architectural illustrator, writer, and teacher. Born in Cresco, Iowa in 1895, he attended the University of Washington for his undergraduate education and studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During World War I, he served as an ambulance driver in France, a period he referred to as his “traveling fellowship.” Chamberlain and his wife remained in France during the 1920s and enjoyed the lively bohemian atmosphere, befriending Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. In 1925, Chamberlain studied with M. Edouard Leonand in Paris and by 1926 he was exhibiting at the Paris Salon. He won a Guggenheim Fellowship that year to study at the Royal College of Art in London. The Chamberlains returned to the United States in the 1930s and settled in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Chamberlain taught graphic arts at MIT, where he lectured on etching, drypoint, and softground etching and taught Gordon Bunshaft and I.M. Pei. During this time, he also became interested in photography and served as a reconnaissance photographer during World War II, earning a meritorious conduct award from the Army Air Force.

Chamberlain’s architectural training is evident in his detailed drawings and deft use of light and shadow to create illusions of depth. He authored and illustrated nearly 100 books of architecture and interiors such as Beyond New England Thresholds, Behold Williamsburg, and Domestic Architecture in Rural France, and in later years diversified his illustration projects to include images for cookbooks and the fashion industry. In 1968 the Boston Public Library held a large retrospective of Chamberlain’s work and published a major biographical catalogue entitled Etched in Sunlight. His work can now be seen in the collections of the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Bibliothèque Nationale. He died in Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1975.

 

Philip Cheney (1897-1992)

Philip Cheney was a lithographer and painter of dramatic American landscapes. Born in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1897, he studied at Harvard College and at the American School in Fontainebleau, France, before moving to Wilmington, Vermont. He settled in Warrenton, Virginia in 1959 and lived there until his death in 1992. Cheney is best known for his lithographs, which depict the expansive beauty of the American wilderness. Using dramatic compositions, high contrast, and dynamic forms, Cheney conveyed the majesty of mountain ranges and plains. During his lifetime, he exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Cleveland Art Museum, the Los Angeles Museum, the Corcoran Gallery, the Library of Congress, and the National Academy of Design. His work is in the collections of the Yale University Art Gallery, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the IBM Corporate Collection.

 

Nikolai Cikovsky (1894-1987)

A Russian painter and printmaker, Nikolai Cikovsky made subtle, observational landscapes of American scenery. Born in 1894 in Pinsk, Poland (now Russia), Cikovsky studied art at the Vilna Art School, the Penza Royal Art School, and the Moscow High Tech Art Institute (where he studied with Favorsky and Mashkow), and taught for several years at the Ekaterinenberg Higher Tech Art Institute (1919-21). In 1923 he immigrated to the United States and settled in the Midwest. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s he exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Art Institute of Chicago; taught courses at the Cincinnati Art Academy and the Art Institute of Chicago; and spent several years living in Washington, DC, exhibiting at the Corcoran Gallery, and working as a WPA muralist for the Department of the Interior. In 1940 he participated in the New York World’s Fair.

Cikovsky spent summers on Long Island, New York, where he moved permanently in the late 1970s. The seaside scenery became the subject of quiet oil paintings, of which he once wrote, “spectacular or sensational elements do not interest me, preferring as I do intimate subjects that I see and have contact with in everyday life – fishing houses, gardens, ponds, city squares, parks and streets.” His works were predominantly still lifes and seascapes, with a few industrial scenes. The representational works bear the influence of modernists such as Cézanne, with impressionistic, loose brushwork and bold colors. Cikovsky also produced graphic, figurative lithographs of New York City, His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Phillips Collection, the Hirschhorn Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He died in 1987 in Washington, DC.

 

Hermine David (1886-1970)

Hermine David was a French artist celebrated for her painting, printmaking, and book illustration. In 1902, at the age of sixteen, David became one of the first women to study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Two years later, she began exhibiting regularly at the Salon des Femmes Peintres et Sculpteurs. In the following years she also participated in exhibitions at the Salon des Artistes Français and the Salon d’Automne.

David was quite established as a painter, miniaturist, and printmaker when in 1907 she began a relationship with Jules Pascin, the Bulgarian-born artist who dressed as a dandy and was an eccentric figure around Paris. David and Pascin lived together first in Montmartre and then in Montparnasse at the height of Pascin’s notoriety. In 1915, the couple moved to New York and married there, but they separated after 1920.

When David returned to Paris, she began her most productive period, opening exhibitions in London and Paris, and enjoying great critical acclaim over the next two decades. During that time she began to distinguish herself in illustration and was commissioned to illustrate many books, including Rimbaud’s Une Saison en Enfer, Verlaine’s La Bonne ChansonThe Anatomy of Dandyism, and Madame de La Fayette’s The Princess of Clèves. For these illustrations and her own prints she used the techniques of drypoint engraving and lithography. Her oeuvre includes fifty drypoints and twenty lithographs. Influenced by Modernism, her prints employ flat spaces and economy of line, and the scenes depicting elegant figures bring Chagall and Picasso’s drawings to mind, but with a softer, idlyllic grace. In the later years of her life she concentrated on watercolors, and she died in 1970.

 

Yussel Dershowitz

Yussel Dershowitz resides in Brooklyn, New York, where his work has been shown at the Hassidic Art Institute. He is a cousin of Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School.

 

Werner Drewes (1899-1985)

Werner Drewes was a German painter and printmaker who, after training at the Bauhaus in Germany, became an important figure in the Modernism movement in the United States. Drewes was born in Canig, Germany in 1899, the son of a conservative Lutheran minister. He served on the Western Front as a soldier during World War I, after which he studied architecture in Berlin and Stuttgart. He studied at the Weimar Bauhaus between 1921 and 1922 with Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Johannes Itten, Oskar Schlemmer, Lyonel Feininger, and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. He traveled abroad during 1923 to 1927, studying the Old Masters in Italy and Spain, and then continued on to tour Latin and Central America, Japan, Korea, the USSR, and the United States, documenting his travels with etchings, and completed his Bauhaus training in Dessau in 1929.

Drewes immigrated to New York City in 1930 and became active in the Modernism movement there, helping, along with Lyonel Feininger and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, to introduce the ideas of the Bauhaus to the United States through his abstract prints. He produced woodcuts and lithographs, which he exhibitied at Katherine Dreier’s Société Anonyme throughout the 1930s, and in 1934 he published a portfolio about the Nazi threat, titled 10 Block Prints by Drewes – It Can’t Happen Here.

Drewes taught painting, drawing, and printmaking at the Brooklyn Museum (1934-1956) and Columbia University (1937-1940), and in 1946 was given a tenured position as Professor of Design at Washington University at St. Louis, where he taught alongside artist Max Beckmann. He was a founding member of the American Abstract Artists, and served as Director of Graphic Art for the WPA Federal Arts Project in New York (1940). In 1944, he studied printmaking at Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17. Drewes maintained close relationships with giants of the art world, including Dreier and Marcel Duchamp, both of whom he brought to speak to his students. When he retired from teaching in 1965, he settled in Reston, Virginia, but continued to travel widely for the rest of his life. In his later years, he exhibited in Germany, Turkey, and Central America, and had a retrospective devoted to his prints at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art in 1984. Drewes continued producing art until his death in 1985.

 

Esti Dunow (1948- )

Esti Dunow is equally accomplished as an artist and art historian. After receiving her B.A. at Brandeis University in 1970, Dunow studied at the New York Studio School and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. In 1981 she earned her Ph.D. in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. While developing her career as an art historian, Dunow has never relinquished her ambitions as a fine artist. She has been exhibiting her work in the Northeast since the late 1970s and has had several solo exhibitions at the Bowery Gallery and Studio Gallery 88, both in New York City. She has participated in many group shows, including exhibitions at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, Threadwaxing Space in New York City, and the Springville Museum of Art in Utah. Dunow was also awarded a Visual Artist Residency at the Cummington Community of the Arts in Massachusetts (1989 to 1990).

Dunow works primarily in oil, creating loose, boldly-colored paintings leaning toward abstraction. In 2001 she created a series of vibrant aerial views of farm country composed of wide brush-strokes and saturated color-fields, in a style suggestive of the influence of Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, and Andre Derain, as well as the post-war Bay Area painters Richard Diebenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud. Figuration falls away further in her 2002 series inspired by a Jewish cemetery in Poland. Even more abstract than her previous landscapes, the paintings appear at first to be compositions of color and shape, but upon closer inspection, the viewer can make out sunlight falling on the side of a tombstone and deep blue shadows cast by the stones and the trees above. Her work has been acquired by numerous private, public and corporate collections including Citibank, Forbes Magazine, McGraw-Hill, and the City College of New York.

While working on these paintings, Dunow has also organized exhibitions and authored catalogues of Lithuanian-born French expressionist painter Chaim Soutine’s work. Among her many publications are Soutine’s Catalogue Raisonné, published by Taschen, and the catalogue for the Jewish Museum of New York’s Soutine exhibition. She has been a consultant for exhibitions at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Céret, France, the Jewish Museum in New York, and the Museo d’Arte Moderne in Lugano, Switzerland. She also co-curated an exhibition of Soutine’s work that traveled throughout Japan.

 

Amram Ebgi (1939- )

Born in Morocco in 1939, Ebgi immigrated to Israel in 1960, where he studied at the Avni Institute, the School of Advanced Painting, and the Tel Chai Institute. He came to New York in 1969 with a scholarship from the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Currently residing in Israel, Ebgi’s work has been displayed in exhibitions in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Panama, Baltimore, Washington, Miami, New York, and Los Angeles. His works are included in the permanent collections of the Arkansas Art Center, Florida Gulf Coast Art Center, Salt Lake City Art Center, University of Miami, Vassar College, University of Alabama, University of Michigan, University of California, Los Angeles, Yale University, and Princeton University.

 

Evelyn Eller (1933- )

Native New Yorker Evelyn Eller is a contemporary artist known for her artist’s books – one-of-a-kind, hand- made collage objects. She attended an arts-oriented New York City high school in the late 1940s, where she studied under a former student of Hans Hoffman, and from 1951 to 1954 studied at the Art Students League in New York, taking courses taught by Morris Kantor and Will Barnet. Eller won a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the Academia Di Belle Arti in Rome from 1954 to 1955 and she subsequently held a residency at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York. During the 1980s, she studied at the Pratt Graphic Center and the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Eller has worked in a variety of media, including oil painting, acrylic painting, and printmaking, but her current work is the paper collage that she uses to create unique books. Each small volume is created from handmade paper, board, string, and cloth, and expresses the artist’s socio-political commentary through topics such as words and language, womanhood, and travel. Her book Defining Women explores the roles of women in western society; other significant book projects are Reliquary for the Book (1996) and Words and Music (2003). Eller has always been curious about other cultures and languages, and this interest is visible in her use of diverse language fragments throughout the work.

Eller has taught collage and painting for over ten years at the Alliance of Queens Artists. She has exhibited her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Queens Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Jewish Museum, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, as well as in museums in Mexico, Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, India, and Germany. Her work is in many public and corporate collections, including those of Citicorp, Exxon, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Yale University Art Gallery.

 

Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956)

Feininger was born in 1871 in New York City, the son of the German concert violinist Carl Feininger and the German-American singer Elizabeth Cecilia Lutz. The musical atmosphere of his childhood, along with the sights and sounds of New York, had a profound influence on his artistic development. At age nine, his father gave him lessons in the violin, but Feininger was more interested in drawing steamboats and building model ships. In 1887, he left for Germany to study music but within a year chose to study art instead. He enrolled in the Konigliche Akademie in Berlin and studied with Ernst Hancke. He began drawing caricatures and soon was working as a caricaturist for the weekly magazine Humoristische Blatter. After completing his schooling at the Konigliche Akademie, Feininger worked as a caricaturist for both German and American journals, and was commissioned by the Chicago Sunday Tribune in 1906 to do two series of comic strips: the Kin-der-Kids and Wee-Willie Winkie’s World. Thirteen of his caricatures were included in the Great Berlin Art Exhibition. Feininger spent most of 1907 in Paris, taking classes at Colarossi’s studio and frequenting the Café du Dome, where he met German artists and students of Henri Matisse. It was in Paris that he did his first oil painting − a still life − and saw the paintings of Cézanne, Van Gogh, and William Turner.

Soon after, Feininger returned to Berlin, became a member of the Berlin Secession, and began to delve into Cubism as the result of his frequent trips to Paris and friendship with French Cubist painter Robert Delaunay, who he met while exhibiting his work in the Salon des Indépendents. At the same time, he was in close contact with the German avant-garde, particularly Franz Marc, the expressionist group Die Brücke and the gallery Der Sturm. Feininger had his first one-man show at Der Sturm but encountered some difficulties as an American in Germany after World War I. During this time he began producing woodcuts, since wood was more readily available than paint in the post-war era. In 1919 Walter Gropius invited him to join the staff of the Bauhaus and in 1921 he created a portfolio of twelve woodcuts for the first Bauhaus publication. While at the Bauhaus he also returned to music and composed thirteen fugues between 1921 and 1928.

Feininger enjoyed growing fame in America because of his association with the artists of Der Blaue Reiter − Paul Klee, Alexej von Jawlensky, and Wassily Kandinsky. He was visited by Alfred Barr Jr., in the 1920s and participated in the “19 Living American Artists” show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Feininger and his wife left Germany after Hitler closed the Bauhaus in 1933 and classified his work as Degenerate Art. More than four hundred of Feininger’s works were confiscated from German museums and nineteen were shown in the traveling “Degenerate Art” exhibition of 1937. After spending time in California and New England, the couple settled in New York. Feininger painted three monumental murals for the Palace of Fine Arts of New York World’s Fair in 1939. This commission helped to launch his career in America; he enjoyed a large retrospective with Marsden Hartley at the Museum of Modern Art and an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Boston with Jacques Villon. In the 1940s, Feininger taught at Black Mountain College. In 1956, he died in his New York apartment at the age of eighty-five.

 

John Fenton (1912-1977)

A New York-born painter and printmaker, John Fenton made imaginative artworks, sometimes based on Jewish culture. Born in Mountaindale, New York in 1912, he studied at the Art Students League with Kenneth Hayes Miller, Allen Lewis, and Samuel Adler. When living in Paris a few years later, he worked with Federico Castellon and studied at the Atelier 17. Castellon’s bizarre, slightly grotesque aesthetic had an impact on Fenton, whose paintings developed an eerie, exaggerated quality with long, wispy forms − as in Mannerist or El Greco paintings − and a dark color palette. He made many etchings of Jewish scenes, with compositions less macabre than his paintings, that were rendered with the comic exaggeration of caricatures.

After Fenton had his first solo exhibition at the Babcock Galleries in New York City in 1955, his career developed rapidly, leading to six more one-man shows between 1958 and 1964. During that time he also exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Corcoran Biennial. The Association of American Artists commissioned an edition of prints from him and in 1960 he created a short film based on Edgar Allen Poe’s story “The Black Cat,” which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1961.

In addition to making art, Fenton also taught at New York University, Goddard College, and Scarsdale High School in New York. He lived in Woodstock, New York for many years before he passed away in 1977. His works can now be found in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, the Pratt Contemporary Print Center, and the Miami Museum of Modern Art.

 

Max Ferguson (1959- )

Max Ferguson is a photo-realist painter best known for his New York cityscapes. A native of New York City, he was born in 1959 and studied animation at New York University before he spent a year abroad at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. There, he became enamored with seventeenth-century Dutch painting, switched his major to painting and graduated from New York University in 1980.

With photographic precision he works with oil paint on board, integrating seventeenth-century ideas of craftsmanship with contemporary imagery. For him, photo-realism is not solely about the technique, it is about creating images that are meaningful and historical. He brings iconographic places and people of New York to vivid life, creating stills that capture elements of the city that are rapidly vanishing. His portraits of Jewish historical figures and places, both present and past − Katz’s deli, knish bakeries in Brooklyn, scholars poring over texts − are slices of Jewish life or contemporary snapshots of a bygone era. His recent work has been based on his travels to the Czech Republic, Ireland, and Israel. The beauty of his images comes from their balanced, well-organized compositions, vibrant color palette, and representations of light.

Ferguson has produced numerous commissioned portraits for prominent New Yorkers and, as a result of a commission from Transit Display, Inc., had his painting displayed on the side of hundreds of buses in twenty American cities. He has had solo exhibitions in New York at ACA Galleries, Gallery Henoch, and Littlejohn-Smith Gallery, and has participated in New York group exhibitions at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Armory, and internationally at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Art Basel, and Art Cologne. Ferguson’s work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, the New York Public Library, the Museum of the City of New York, the U.S. State Department, the Forbes Magazine Collection, and the Brooklyn Historical Society.

 

Herb Fichter (1920-1995)

In addition to being one of the most celebrated bank-note engravers of North America, Herb Fichter was also a painter and printmaker. Born on December 25, 1920 in New York City, as a child he was always fascinated with miniatures, especially stamps, and he planned to be a professional illustrator. He attended Pratt Institute and won a scholarship to the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts in 1939. In 1941 he enrolled in the 10-year apprenticeship program at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, where he mastered the “bank-note” or “Morghenesque” style of engraving, a craft of such detail that Fichter could spend up to four months on a two-inch square area of a steel plate. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he volunteered for the Army and served under General Patton from 1942 to 1945. Fichter earned five battle stars, fought in five major campaigns, and earned the Medal of Verdun.

When he returned home, he resumed his apprenticeship and was selected to exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, in a show that brought him national recognition and led to his membership in Washington’s Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors, Etchers, and Engravers, the Chicago Society of Etchers, and the Boston Printmaker’s Society. His quickly growing reputation led to a show at the Smithsonian Institution. Fichter brought an unusual degree of creativity to his position as a bank-note engraver. In 1962, he became the Chief Engraver at the Jeffries Bank-Note of Los Angeles, but retired from that position in 1984 to focus on his own art. Over the next ten years, he had solo exhibitions of his work at the Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC and the Fine Arts Federation in Los Angeles. He participated in group exhibitions at the Carnegie Institute, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Library of Congress. Many significant public and private institutions collected his work, including the Library of Congress, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Time-Life Magazine, the American Print Collection, the Kennedy Memorial Library, the Bank of America, and the Wells Fargo Bank. Before he died in 1995, Fichter was one of only fifteen master bank-note engravers on the North American continent.

 

Ernest Fiene (1894-1965)

A German-American lithographer and painter, Ernest Fiene created mostly landscapes and city views. Born in Elberfeld, Germany in 1894, Fiene immigrated to the United States with his family in his youth. He studied at the National Academy of Design between 1914 and 1918, while also taking classes at the Beaux Arts Institute. When Fiene attended the Art Students League in 1923, he studied with Joseph Pennell and Charles Wheeler Locke and learned the art of lithography, the medium for which he would be most recognized. Fiene traveled to Europe at the end of the 1920s and studied at L’Académie de La Grande Chaumière in Paris. During a brief return to the New York Area, he taught at the Westchester County Center but left again for Europe in 1932. In Florence, he learned the technique of fresco painting, which prepared him well for WPA mural commissions upon his return to the United States. He painted a post office mural in Canton, Massachusetts titled “Paul Revere as an Industrialist,” a 2,000-square-foot fresco mural for New York’s High School of Needle Trades, and third mural in Washington, DC.

Fiene continued to pursue lithography. In the 1930s and 1940s, his idyllic landscapes, industrial cityscapes, and labor themes were well received. He was loosely associated with the American Art Deco movement, and the flattened shapes of mountains, trees, and buildings in his paintings resonated with the aesthetic of the era. Fiene taught art at schools across the country, including the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Cooper Union in New York. He was a member of the Art Students League from 1938 to 1964 and served as a supervising faculty member at the Famous Artists School in Westport, Connecticut. His work has been collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Library of Congress, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, the Tel Aviv Museum in Israel, the Los Angles County Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the National Academy of Design, and the Phillips Collection, among others. He died in Connecticut in 1965.

 

Tully Filmus (1903-1998)

Tully Filmus was a Russian-American realist painter whose work stemmed from his deep involvement with the Jewish community. Born in 1903 in Otaki, Russia, Filmus came to the United States with his family at an early age. He won a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and was chosen to attend seminars with Dr. Albert Barnes at the Barnes Foundation, where he was exposed to the French painters who were transforming the art world, including Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, and Picasso. In 1927, he won a Cresson Traveling Fellowship that enabled him to study in Paris with André Lhote and to work independently in Florence, Rome, and Munich. Filmus returned to America in the midst of the Depression but he found support in the friendships of other artists, including Anton Refregier and Willem de Kooning. He settled in New York, where he would remain for the rest of his life, and took classes at New York University and the Art Students League.

Filmus primarily painted New York urban scenes, but after the horrors of the Holocaust he focused particularly on life in the Jewish community. He believed that his talent must be used to preserve memories of the lost shtetl culture and to document contemporary Jewish life. He demonstrated great sensitivity to his subjects and an ability to capture their energy and individuality. His preferred medium was oil painting, although his drawings also earned critical acclaim. Filmus taught at both the American Artists School in New York and Cooper Union. He exhibited regularly, showing at the American Artists Congress from 1935 to 1939, the Whitney Museum of American art from 1940 to 1946, the Art Institute of Chicago in 1941, the Carnegie Institute from 1941 to 1946, the Corcoran Gallery in 1941, and the ACA Gallery in New York in the 1970s. His portraits of Army and Navy officials are in the Headquarters of the New York National Guard, and his work can be found in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Syracuse University Museum. Filmus died in 1968 in his home in Fern Hill, New York.

 

Isaac Friedlander (1890-1968)

Isaac Friedlander’s politically-charged prints attest to his traumatic adolescence in Latvia. He was born in 1890 in Mitau (now known as Jelgava), Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire. He was arrested at sixteen and sent to a Czarist prison (conflicting reports on the cause of his arrest suggest that either Friedlander had been protesting curfews and compulsory uniforms or was falsely accused of killing his teacher). He spent four years in prison, many of them in solitary confinement. During that time he became interested in art, and when he was released went to Italy to study painting and printmaking. Other than a brief period of study at the Academy of Rome, where he learned etching, drawing, and relief printing, he had no formal art training. In Rome, he associated with Russian expatriate artists, particularly Maxim Gorky who was very supportive of his work. After the Revolution of 1917, Friedlander returned to Russia and settled in Latvia where he taught art to middle and high school students. He married there and had a daughter, but divorced in 1929; his wife and child would later perish in the Holocaust. His cousin, art collector Joseph Hirshhorn, encouraged him to come to North America and paid for his passage to Toronto through New York. He married his second wife in Toronto in 1937 and the couple immigrated to New York City. Hirshhorn and Friedlander had a falling out, so this connection did not advance Friedlander’s career, but a large collection of his prints ended up in the Hirshhorn Museum nonetheless.

New York City became the main subject of Friedlander’s work, and his prints of this period display two faces of city life at the time: those exploring the effects of the Great Depression depict poverty with a grim realism; his prints of New York performers celebrate vitality. Between 1939 and 1943, he created his “Autobiography” prints, whose complex compositions swirl with linear movement. When news reached him of the Holocaust, he made an arresting series of somber works, whose emotion is intensified by the dramatic contrast of light and shadow. Friedlander died in New York in 1968 but his widow survived him to see many exhibitions of his work. In 1984 Georgetown University exhibited his Holocaust prints in an exhibition titled “My People, Their Suffering, Their Sustaining Faith” and his widow donated over 100 prints to the Georgetown University Graphic Arts Collection. In 1991, the Jane Halsem Gallery mounted a mini-retrospective of his work. Friedlander’s prints can be found in the collections of the Neuburger Museum in Purchase, New York, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, the Brooklyn Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others.

 

Tully Filmus (1903-1998)

Tully Filmus was a Russian-American realist painter whose work stemmed from his deep involvement with the Jewish community. Born in 1903 in Otaki, Russia, Filmus came to the United States with his family at an early age. He won a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and was chosen to attend seminars with Dr. Albert Barnes at the Barnes Foundation, where he was exposed to the French painters who were transforming the art world, including Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, and Picasso. In 1927, he won a Cresson Traveling Fellowship that enabled him to study in Paris with André Lhote and to work independently in Florence, Rome, and Munich. Filmus returned to America in the midst of the Depression but he found support in the friendships of other artists, including Anton Refregier and Willem de Kooning. He settled in New York, where he would remain for the rest of his life, and took classes at New York University and the Art Students League.

Filmus primarily painted New York urban scenes, but after the horrors of the Holocaust he focused particularly on life in the Jewish community. He believed that his talent must be used to preserve memories of the lost shtetl culture and to document contemporary Jewish life. He demonstrated great sensitivity to his subjects and an ability to capture their energy and individuality. His preferred medium was oil painting, although his drawings also earned critical acclaim. Filmus taught at both the American Artists School in New York and Cooper Union. He exhibited regularly, showing at the American Artists Congress from 1935 to 1939, the Whitney Museum of American art from 1940 to 1946, the Art Institute of Chicago in 1941, the Carnegie Institute from 1941 to 1946, the Corcoran Gallery in 1941, and the ACA Gallery in New York in the 1970s. His portraits of Army and Navy officials are in the Headquarters of the New York National Guard, and his work can be found in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Syracuse University Museum. Filmus died in 1968 in his home in Fern Hill, New York.

 

Isaac Friedlander (1890-1968)

Isaac Friedlander’s politically-charged prints attest to his traumatic adolescence in Latvia. He was born in 1890 in Mitau (now known as Jelgava), Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire. He was arrested at sixteen and sent to a Czarist prison (conflicting reports on the cause of his arrest suggest that either Friedlander had been protesting curfews and compulsory uniforms or was falsely accused of killing his teacher). He spent four years in prison, many of them in solitary confinement. During that time he became interested in art, and when he was released went to Italy to study painting and printmaking. Other than a brief period of study at the Academy of Rome, where he learned etching, drawing, and relief printing, he had no formal art training. In Rome, he associated with Russian expatriate artists, particularly Maxim Gorky who was very supportive of his work. After the Revolution of 1917, Friedlander returned to Russia and settled in Latvia where he taught art to middle and high school students. He married there and had a daughter, but divorced in 1929; his wife and child would later perish in the Holocaust. His cousin, art collector Joseph Hirshhorn, encouraged him to come to North America and paid for his passage to Toronto through New York. He married his second wife in Toronto in 1937 and the couple immigrated to New York City. Hirshhorn and Friedlander had a falling out, so this connection did not advance Friedlander’s career, but a large collection of his prints ended up in the Hirshhorn Museum nonetheless.

New York City became the main subject of Friedlander’s work, and his prints of this period display two faces of city life at the time: those exploring the effects of the Great Depression depict poverty with a grim realism; his prints of New York performers celebrate vitality. Between 1939 and 1943, he created his “Autobiography” prints, whose complex compositions swirl with linear movement. When news reached him of the Holocaust, he made an arresting series of somber works, whose emotion is intensified by the dramatic contrast of light and shadow. Friedlander died in New York in 1968 but his widow survived him to see many exhibitions of his work. In 1984 Georgetown University exhibited his Holocaust prints in an exhibition titled “My People, Their Suffering, Their Sustaining Faith” and his widow donated over 100 prints to the Georgetown University Graphic Arts Collection. In 1991, the Jane Halsem Gallery mounted a mini-retrospective of his work. Friedlander’s prints can be found in the collections of the Neuburger Museum in Purchase, New York, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, the Brooklyn Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others.

 

Morton Garchik (1929- )

Best known for his woodcuts, Morton Garchik is a New York artist with an expressive, humorous style. He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1929 and attended the Art School of the Brooklyn Museum from 1948 to 1950. After serving in the military during the Korean War, he began studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York, winning prizes for drawing and illustration. After he left school, the scratchy, folksy style of his woodcuts gained recognition and he began exhibiting throughout the United States. Garchik had one-man shows in New York, Chicago, and Toronto, Canada. Also an accomplished illustrator, he has published illustrations in many books and magazines, including Harpers. Besides illustrating many fine novels of fiction and children’s literature, Garchik authored two important books on art instruction, Art Fundamentals: Basics of Drawing, Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking (1979) and Creative Visual Thinking (1981). Many of his original prints were published by the Associated American Artists of New York, which from the 1930s to the mid- 1980s was a leading publisher of American lithographs, etchings, and woodcuts. His work can be found in the collection of the MIT List Visual Arts Center.

 

Albert Gold (1916-1972)

A Philadelphia artist with a social conscience, Albert Gold worked in a wide variety of media. Born in 1916 in Philadelphia, Gold studied at the Philadelphia Museum School of Art from 1935 to 1939 with Henry Pitz, Franklin Wakins, and Earl Horter. His artistic training landed him a position as a combat artist in England during World War II. After the war, he returned home to work in painting and printmaking, exploring the scenes and characters of urban life. He became interested in the history of American illustration, and began to teach courses in illustration at the Philadelphia College of Art, becoming director of the Illustration Department after 1950.

Gold illustrated many publications, including the Army magazines Salute and Yank. During his lifetime, he exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the World’s Fair in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Venice Biennale of 1941, and the National Gallery in London. His commissions include twelve paintings of Pennsylvania for the Gimbel Brothers (1947-1948) and murals for the Bureau of Agriculture. His work is in the collections of the New York Public Library, the Pentagon, the United States War Department, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Abbott Laboratories. Gold died in 1972.

 

Norman Goldberg (1921-1998)

A representational artist specializing in New York street scenes, Norman Goldberg was also an active liberal and political cartoonist. Born in June of 1921, Goldberg lived in New York City for most of his life. In his youth, he was a professional boxer, but retired when he found that the lifestyle did not suit him. Always an admirer of representational art, Goldberg attended the Art Students League and began making art seriously. His work was always infused with his leftist politics and he achieved modest fame as a witty political cartoonist. He greatly admired the Mexican muralists Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco, and their influence can be seen in his many street scenes of New York neighborhoods. Before his death in 1998, Goldberg taught at Cooper Union and married twice. Many of his works are now in the Connecticut home of his second wife, Mildred Goldberg.

 

Leon Golub (1922-2004)

Leon Golub made a significant contribution to twentieth-century painting with his representations of war and racial conflict. Originally from Chicago, Golub was born in 1922 and earned his B.A. in art history from the University of Chicago in 1942. Immediately after graduation, he served in the U.S. Army Engineers as a cartographer during World War II. After the war, he earned a B.F.A. (1949) and M.F.A. (1950) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on the GI Bill. In 1951 he married artist Nancy Spero, who would be his companion for the next fifty years. The couple often exhibited together and won several joint awards.

Golub’s work was largely a personal response to the political and social forces that he saw shape the world during the Vietnam War and at home in the United States. He depicted power relationships, war, human suffering, racism, and terrorism, aiming to depict violence differently from the way it was portrayed by the media. This work evolved as did America’s participation in world politics. After World War II, his paintings were full of the kings, monsters, shamans, and warriors of classical art. His Vietnam-era series “Napalm and Vietnam” focused Golub’s social conscience from the generic to specific outrage. During the 1970s, he painted portraits of political and religious leaders, from Castro and Franco to Nixon and Kissinger. In the 1980s he explored terrorism in its many forms − killing fields, political oppression, torture, sexual enslavement, and urban street violence. From hundreds of photographs of people, he amalgamated figures that were flat and stranded on a color plane. Golub likened the physical act of painting to a sculptural technique, repeatedly layering and scraping away the surface of a work until it bore its own history of markings.

After brief sojourns in Florence (1956-1957) and Paris (1959-1964), with the help of a Ford Foundation Grant) that were motivated by the belief that Europeans would be more receptive to Golub’s representational style, Golub and Spero settled in New York, where he divided his time between making art, teaching, writing, and political activism. Golub taught at Write Junior College in Chicago (1950-1955), Indiana University (1957-1959), the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the School of Visual Arts in New York, and in later years as Professor in the Visual Arts Department at Rutgers University. He was active in the Artists and Writers Protest Group against the war in Vietnam from 1964 to 1972, authored essays on contemporary art, and wrote for Artforum.

Golub had his first solo show at the Contemporary Gallery in Chicago in 1950, followed by one-man exhibitions at the Pasadena Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Saatchi Collection in London, the Eli Broad Family Foundation in Los Angeles, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Brooklyn Museum, the Musée d’Art Contemporaine de Montréal, and the Malmö Konsthall in Malmö, Sweden. He participated in group shows, including the Museum of Modern Art (1959), the Sao Paulo Biennial (1962), the Corcoran Gallery Biennial (1963), the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1964, 1966), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (1972), and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Collection of Fine Arts, the Smithsonian Institution, the Hirshhorn Museum, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel, among others. Golub died in 2004.

 

Bernard Gotfryd

Photographer and Holocaust survivor Bernard Gotfryd was born in Radom, Poland. He knew that he wanted to be a photographer from an early age and, just after World War II broke out, he began an apprenticeship at a photography studio owned by a family friend. He became involved with the Polish resistance and risked his life to steal photographs of Nazi atrocities that SS and Gestapo members had taken to the studio where he worked. With the help of the resistance movement, he attempted an escape in 1943 but was caught and sent to the Majdanek concentration camp. By the time of his liberation in 1945, he had survived six concentration camps: Majdenek, Plaszow, Wieliczka Salt Mines, Mauthausen, Gusen1, and Gusen 2.

In 1947 Gotfryd came to the United States and began his career as a photojournalist. When he was drafted into the US Army in 1949, he became a combat photographer to the 3rd Signal Corps. He joined the staff of Newsweek in 1957 and for the following thirty years photographed celebrities in the arts, letters, and politics. Among his many subjects were Woody Allen, Saul Bellow, Toni Morrison, Betty Friedan, Primo Levi, Robert Moses, Leonard Bernstein, Yitzchak Rabin, Harold Bloom, and Alan Greenspan. He exhibited his work at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1976.

Only after photographing Holocaust survivors in Washington for Newsweek did Gotfryd begin to write about his own experiences. The result was a collection of twenty-one short stories, Anton the Dove Fancier and Other Tales of the Holocaust, which became instantly successful both in the U.S, and in Europe. In 1991 he won the Pen/Martha Albrand Special Citation for non-fiction by an American writer. Danish playwrights bought the rights to eight stories in Anton and in 1996 the play opened to critical acclaim. Gotfryd now divides his time between Forest Hills and Easthampton, New York, and continues to pursue his writing, lecturing, and photography.

 

Melissa Gould

Contemporary artist Melissa Gould depicts the horrors of the Holocaust in a variety of media. Born in New York, Gould earned her B.F.A. in photography at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and completed the RISD European Honors Program in Rome. She has been making conceptual art, installations, sculptures, and prints about the Holocaust for over a decade. She appropriates and transforms historical artifacts, often playing with language to make political statements. Among her most significant projects are the Schadenfreude Installation for which she created wallpaper and faux historical objects, and the photolithograph Neu-York, a collaboration with Jonathan Higgins and Katy Lyness, in which she digitally manipulated vintage maps of Manhattan, replacing all of the street and place names with those from World War II-era Berlin to offer a vision of what New York would have been like had the Nazis won the Second World War. Gould states that it is also “an exploration of psychological transport, place, displacement, and memory. This re-imagining of the city plays with comparison and misrecognition, exploring the coexistence of past and present, fiction and reality.”

Gould has also collaborated with the musician Alvin Curran on sound installations and she has worked in graphic design and website design. In the past decade, she has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, MASS MoCA, the Noekulturforum in Austria, Exit Art, Artists Space, the International Print Center in New York, and the White Box Gallery in New York. Her work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the RISD Design Museum, the Zimmerli Museum of Fine Arts at Rutgers University, and in numerous private collections. Gould currently lives and works in New York City.

 

Grace Graupe-Pillard (1945- )

Grace Graupe-Pillard is a contemporary artist whose work combines political subjects with “personal reverberations.” Her German-Jewish parents fled their home country in the 1930s and settled in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. Sixty-eight members of their family were killed during the Holocaust. The burden of those deaths weighed heavily on the couple as they raised a family of their own. Graupe-Pillard and her twin sister were born in New York City, where their father and mother were working as an architect and a dress designer, respectively. Graupe-Pillard began to draw at a young age, but did not initially pursue an education in art until she had completed her B.A. in history and political science at the City College of New York in 1963 and did graduate work in Russian studies at the City University of New York. At this point she turned to art and began taking painting and figure drawing at the Art Students League of New York.

Graupe-Pillard began to produce art that explored ideas, outsider artists, trauma, war, and the media. She tends to work in series which address specific political issues. In a series about the Holocaust, titled “Nowhere to Go,” she combined painted images with photographs from her father’s collection of materials on the Shoah. The series was shown at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton and ten of the paintings were turned into banners and purchased by her mother’s hometown of Rheda-Weidenbruck in Germany. Graupe-Pillard’s work changed dramatically when she began to explore digital media. She discovered Adobe Photoshop, and began to alter her source imagery, modifying and appropriating images from movies, newspapers, and art history, creating dynamic compositions painted in oil and alkyd on large, sometimes cutout canvases. In her most recent project, “Interventions,” she collaged images of the war in Iraq with photographs of ordinary American East Coast landscapes, and projected these digital images to an accompanying soundtrack. She has shown this work at Donahue/Sosinski Art and The Proposition in New York.

Graupe-Pillard has had solo shows at the New Jersey Center for the Visual Arts, the New Jersey State Museum, the Port Authority at 42nd Street, Hal Bromm Gallery, and Klarfeld Perry Gallery. She has participated in multiple group shows at the Drawing Center, the Museum of Modern Art, Exit Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and P.S.1., and at the Contemporary Museum of Baltimore and the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been commissioned for display at the New Jersey Transit, the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York, AT&T, and American Express. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the New School for Social Research, the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, the New Jersey State Museum, the AT&T Corporation, and the Newark Museum. Graupe-Pillard currently lives with her husband in a former synagogue in New Jersey.

 

William Gropper (1897-1977)

Best known for his bitterly satirical cartoons, William Gropper was a painter, lithographer, cartoonist, and illustrator whose difficult childhood in New York motivated his social criticism. In 1897 Gropper was born to immigrant parents from the Ukraine and Romania who had met in the garment industry in New York City. He worked in the sweatshops as a small child, a horrific experience necessitated by his family’s limited income. Despite his obligation to work, Gropper began drawing at the age of six and took art classes with George Bellows and Robert Henri at the Ferrer School when he was thirteen. His professors encouraged freedom of expression and nonconformity, giving Gropper the confidence to develop his bold style. He won a scholarship to the National Academy of Design in 1913 but was expelled because his education was at odds with the traditional discipline. He was later discovered during his courses at the Ferrer School by Frank Parsons, the president of the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. Under Parsons’s mentoring, Gropper excelled and gained a reputation in New York. Following in the footsteps of the social realists Goya and Daumier, his work confronted the hypocrisies of the social elite and the humor of everyday urban life. His flare for capturing the essence of gestures and personalities with a few bold, wiry lines was recognized by The New York Tribune, Vanity Fair, and Spur, who hired him as a cartoonist in 1917. After 1921, Gropper began painting seriously, always beginning with a series of drawings.

Gropper had his first one-man show in 1936 at a New York gallery. In the 1930s he was on the editorial board of New Masses, and completed WPA murals at the Department of the Interior in Washington, DC, the U.S. Post Office in Freeport, New York, and the Northwestern Postal Station in Detroit, Michigan. During his life he made several series of artworks; after visiting Eastern Europe in 1948, he decided to make one painting a year as a memorial to the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Commissioned by the Associated American Artists, he tried etching for the first time in 1965 and created a portfolio of prints. He exhibited his work at the ACA Gallery in New York, the Society of Independent Artists, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery Biennials from 1941 to 1953, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1939 to 1948, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Academy of Design, the Museum of Modern Art, the Manne Museum in Prague, and the Piccadilly Gallery in London. In addition, the municipal governments of Moscow, Warsaw, Sofia, and Prague arranged one-man shows for him. His work is in the permanent collections of major museums throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American art, the Phillips Collection, the Museum of Western Art in Moscow, the National Gallery in Prague, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Groppe died in 1977 in Great Neck Estates, New York.

 

Chaim Gross (1904-1991)

Chaim Gross was born in 1904 in Wolowa, Austria and moved with his family to Kolomyya in 1907. His father and other relatives were lumbermen who passed their leisure hours whittling objects out of wood. Gross always associated wood carving with the peaceful years of his childhood, before the invasion of the Russian Cossacks, who in 1914 dispersed his family. Gross fled to Vienna, where he began to draw and quickly attracted attention for his skill. He entered a competition and won a full scholarship to the Kunstgewerbeschule art school. In 1921, he came to New York and attended the Educational Alliance Art School, where he befriended Moses and Raphael Soyer, Peter Blume, and Adolph Gottlieb and became acquainted with Ben Shahn and Barnett Newman. He continued his studies at the Beaux Arts Institute of Design in New York and at the Art Students League, where, under the guidance of Robert Laurent, he learned the method of direct carving, and became one of the leading artists working in the medium.

Gross created elegant, inventive figures in wood, often based on circus performers and dancers. His primitivist style and interest in performers was shared with other modern sculptors. After the Holocaust, during which he lost two siblings and a niece, Gross turned to Jewish subject matter for the first time. Projecting the personalities of his lost family members onto mythical Jewish figures, he created poignant portraits carved from wood. In the 1950s Gross branched out to bronze casting and furthered his explorations in watercolor, drawing, and illustration.

In the 1920s and 30s, Gross exhibited frequently at the Society of Independent Artists. Subsequently, he showed at the Gallery 144, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial, the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Modern Art. The Jewish Museum in New York held a large retrospective of his work in 1977, which included 200 works. Gross’s work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution. His public sculptures can be seen at Fordham University and Pace University in New York.

Gross never stopped experimenting in different media; he illustrated children’s stories by N. Gross and wrote essays on art and art films. He taught for sixty years, beginning in 1927, at the Educational Alliance Art School, and in 1948 joined the faculty of the New School for Social Research. The artist died in 1991.

 

Richard Gross

Richard Gross currently lives in New York City and has been a practicing artist since the 1960s. He attended Central High School in Philadelphia, which was a starting point for such renowned artists as Julius Bloch, John Sloan, and Thomas Eakins. Early in his career, he devoted his art to expressing the horrors of the Holocaust. The painting included in the Balka Collection exemplifies his life-long project.

 

Jolán Gross-Bettelheim (1900-1972)

Jolán Gross Bettelheim was one of the most celebrated female WPA artists in Cleveland. She was born in 1900 in Nyitra, Hungary but left Hungary at the age of nineteen to study art in Europe. She studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna from 1919 to 1920 with the Expressionist painter Emil Orlik, and at the Akademie für Bildende Kunste (Academy of Fine Arts) in Berlin from 1920 to 1922 with Karl Hofer. During the two years she spent in Paris from 1922 to 1924, she took classes at L’Académie de la Grande Chaumière and L’École des Beaux Arts. Her work from this period, primarily in painting and pastels, shows the influence of her Expressionist mentors. After Bettelheim married a Hungarian in 1925, she moved with him to Cleveland, Ohio, which was a common destination for Hungarian immigrants. There she studied at the Cleveland School of Art under the modernist Henry Keller and developed her skills in etching and lithography. She exhibited frequently during the following thirteen years and focused her attention on printmaking. This shift in medium reflects the popularity of printmaking both in Cleveland and during the interwar period. Her etchings, drypoints, and lithographs were exhibited almost annually at the Cleveland Museum of Art from 1927 to 1937.

In 1936, Bettelheim joined the Graphics Division of the Federal Art Project (FAP), which was a branch of the WPA. Like most of the artists working for the FAP, Bettelheim depicted American scenes with a realist style heavily influenced by Modernism. The members of the Cleveland FAP were also known for their left-wing slant and Bettelheim was no exception; she was a member of the Communist Party and published her prints in the left-of-center publication New Masses. Her work from this period depicts urban architecture, the struggles of the working class, and the threat of war. In addressing all of these subjects, she employed a style that combined elements of Futurism, Constructivism, Expressionism, and Cubism. In 1938, she and her husband moved to the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, New York, and Bettelheim began exhibiting across the United States, at the Library of Congress, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Seattle Art Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Bettelheim’s husband died suddenly in 1956, prompting her to move back to Hungary, in time to witness the failed revolution. The Hungarian artistic community was disillusioned and scattered at the time and she found it increasingly difficult to make art. Bettelheim died in Hungary in 1972 but her work can be found in the permanent collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum.

 

Elias Mandel Grossman (1898-1947)

A skilled etcher and engraver, Elias Mandel Grossman sought out unusual characters and landscapes as his subjects. Born in Kobryn, Russia in 1898, Grossman immigrated to the United States in his youth and settled in Brooklyn, New York. He studied art at the Educational Alliance Art School, Cooper Union, and the Art Students League. In New York, Grossman studied with William Starkweather, a landscape and portrait painter, and during a brief stay in Paris, he took classes with Réné Ligeron. Grossman soon gravitated to printmaking and perfected a traditional, representational technique in etching and engraving.

While still at art school, he developed an interest in the odd characters that wandered the streets of New York City and he often invited eccentrics up to his studio to pose. He became skilled at capturing the personalities of his sitters and eventually did portraits of notable figures such as Albert Einstein, Benito Mussolini, Mahatma Ghandi, as well as many important Jewish intellectuals. In addition to his portraits, Grossman was celebrated for his urban views of New York City and other major American centers. During the 1930s and 1940s, he traveled the world in search of scenes and interesting characters, visiting London, Egypt, Italy, Spain, Poland, France, Belgium, and Holland. Of all of his destinations, he was most inspired by Israel and completed many etchings of important religious sites.

From the late 1930s through the 1940s, Grossman exhibited extensively at the Grand Central Art Gallery, the Maryland Institute, the Library of Congress, and the National Academy of Design. In 1937, he published a book of annotated etchings titled An Etcher’s Intimate Album. Examples of his work are to be found in the public collections of Georgetown University, Lauinger Library at Georgetown University, the British Museum, the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, the Tel- Aviv Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art. The artist died in Brooklyn, New York in 1947.

 

George Grosz (1893-1959)

Known for his pitiless caricatures of German society figures and politicians, George Grosz was an important member of the Berlin Dada group. Grosz’s childhood years were divided between Berlin, where he was born in 1893, and Stolp, Pomerania, to which his family moved. When his father died in 1900, Grosz’s mother moved the children back to Berlin, but Grosz returned to Stolp to take private drawing lessons. He was expelled from grammar school as a youth but accepted into the Royal Academy in Dresden, where he studied from 1909 to 1911. In 1912, after receiving honors from the Academy, Grosz moved to Berlin and took classes at the Art School of the Museum of Arts and Crafts. His skill was in drawing, but he also undertook projects in book illustration and began painting in oil.

He visited Paris for the first time in 1913, and a year later was conscripted into the German army. Grosz was released in 1915 as unfit for duty, but the Germany army, desperate for soldiers, enlisted him again in 1917. After attempting suicide and being threatened with execution, he was discharged and immediately joined the Communist Party. After 1918 Grosz was a leading member of the Berlin Dada group, which included Otto Dix, Max Ernst, and Kurt Schwitters, and he made collages characteristic of that movement. He enjoyed moderate commercial success; he sold a painting and had his first one-man exhibition at Hans Goltz in Munich. While active in the Dada group, Grosz collaborated frequently with John Heartfield, made animated films, and ran a political cabaret. In the 1920s, he made political drawings for periodicals, which often incited the wrath of public figures. His scathing caricatures of politicians and the social elite revealed his gift for capturing the eccentricities of individuals. In the late 1920s, Grosz was on trial several times for blasphemy, obscenity and slander.

Grosz lived in France from 1924 to 1927 before moving to New York City. In 1932, he began teaching at the Art Students League in New York and started his own school, the Grosz School. He made many watercolors of New York street scenes, which were more observational than his scathing political work, and contributed watercolors to The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. Grosz continued to travel extensively in Europe and as the Nazis gained control of Germany his work became darker and more apocalyptic. He won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1937 and 1938, at the same time as his work was included in the Nazis’ “Degenerate Art” exhibition in Munich. In New York he exhibited frequently and was represented first by the Walker Gallery and then by Associate American Artists. After 1941, he taught at the School of Fine Art at Columbia University and resumed teaching at the Art Students League. He spent his summers in Cape Cod and moved to Huntington, Long Island in 1947, where he opened a private school in his home. In 1954 the Whitney Museum of American Art mounted a large retrospective of his work and in 1956 he taught at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Before his death in 1959, Grosz made collages that combined the imagery of popular advertising with Dada absurdity. Grosz also exhibited at the XVIII Venice Biennale, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Akademie der Kunste in Berlin, among others.

 

Philip Held (1920- )

A twentieth-century New York painter, Philip Held was also a printmaker and a teacher. Held was born in New York in 1920 and studied at the Art Students League from 1938 to 1942, and again in 1946. During his time there, he studied with Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Ernest Fiene, Arnold Blanch, Doris Lee and Vaclav Vytlacil. From 1947 to 1948, Held studied with Moses Soyer at the School of Art Studies in New York, and in 1949 he enrolled in a serigraphy class with Arthur Young at Columbia University Teacher’s College. Although he enjoyed working in printmaking, Held still found oil painting to be his medium of choice. He began his teaching career in 1947, when he accepted a position at the Scarborough School in New York. Five years later he left to teach at the Fieldston School in Riverdale, New York, where he stayed until 1962. Taking a break from teaching to concentrate on his art, he began exhibiting more frequently: at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1962, at Brown University in 1963, at the University of Massachusetts in 1966 and at the Fontana Gallery and the Polari Gallery in Woodstock, New York in 1970. After moving to Florida, he taught at the Fine Arts Program of Booker-Bay Haven School in Sarasota, Florida, from 1971 to 1972. During his lifetime, Held won several awards for his printmaking and his works can be found in the permanent collections of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, the Philadelphia Museum Lending Collection, and the Art Students League Collection.

 

Joseph Hirsch (1910-1981)

Interested in the common man and his labors, Joseph Hirsch created social realist paintings and prints. Born in Philadelphia in 1910, Hirsch won a four-year scholarship from the city of Philadelphia when he was seventeen to study at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art. In subsequent years, he studied privately with Henry Hensche in Provincetown and George Luks in New York City. The influence of George Luks on Hirsch’s career cannot be understated. One of “The Eight,” Luks rebelled against modernism by realistically depicting ordinary people and everyday life. One of the predecessors of the social realism of the 1920s and 1930s, Luks showed Hirsch the possibilities for social commentary in art. Hirsch was never dogmatic in his presentation of social issues; instead he allowed for a range of individual interpretations. He was drawn to workmen and their machinery, which he often presented in a celebratory manner.

An enthusiastic traveler, Hirsch spent five years living in France. During the Great Depression, he joined the easel painting division and the mural division of the WPA, executing murals in the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Building and the Municipal Court. He first experimented with printmaking at this time and purchased an etching press. Printmaking was ultimately not as enjoyable for him as painting, but later on he often produced lithographs of his painted works. When World War II broke out, Hirsch worked at Abott Laboratories, along with other members of the Associated American Artists, to help promote the war effort. He designed a bond poster, “Till We Meet Again,” which became immensely popular. Hirsch was also was hired to document naval aviation training, Navy medicine and the Army’s operations in Italy and North Africa. The works he created are now in the U.S. Army Art Collection.

After the war Hirsch returned to New York and resumed his successful art career. He exhibited in New York galleries, received commissions, and designed playbills. During the 1960s and 70s, he developed a new style with different layers of imagery, where depth was created with layering rather than with perspective. Hirsch taught at several different institutions in his lifetime, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Academy of Design, the American Art School, University of Utah, and the Art Students League in New York. His works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Corcoran Gallery, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Army Center of Military History. Hirsch died in 1981.

 

Tamar Hirschl

Tamar Hirschl is a contemporary artist who makes politically-charged work based on the traumatic events of her life. Hirschl was born in Zagreb, Croatia, when Europe was facing the first bitter winter of World War II. Encouraged by her mother, she began drawing at an early age. A bright Zagreb childhood was deeply darkened when her father was abruptly arrested and subsequently executed in the Jasenovac concentration camp. An unsuccessful escape attempt brought Hirschl, her mother, and sister to a detention camp in Hungary. Eventually they were released to find their way back to Zagreb on foot. The family relocated to Israel in 1948, when the new state was embroiled in a struggle for its existence. Hirschl’s memories of those years – filled with fears of war, terrorism, and the isolation imposed by the new language barrier – are filtered into her works.

Hirschl worked on theatrical sets and designed textiles in her teens, studied at the Bezalel School of Art, the Tel Aviv Kalisher School of Art, and the State College of Art in Tel Aviv. There she learned traditional, figurative methods, which she quickly discarded in favor of expressive primitivism and abstraction. She lived in Tel Aviv for much of her life and raised a family of her own, during which time she occasionally visited the United States. After she moved to the United States permanently in 1998, she earned her M.F.A. at Lesley College in Boston in studio art and art therapy and worked as an art therapist for many years. While helping children communicate their emotions through art, Hirschl also employed a childlike figurative style and returned to her personal history for subject matter.

In recent years Hirschl has branched out into many different media and stylistic approaches. Her work has become increasingly political, as she addresses violence in the Middle East and the policies of the American government. Simultaneously, she has been mining the traumatic images in her memory and releasing them in her work. Her methods range from expressive abstraction to realistic figuration and she often combines many methods in a single piece. Hirschl always begins with a concept, which she researches extensively, and then decides on the most appropriate formal approach, be it collage, painting, or sculpture. The subject can come from her personal experience or from current events, but most of her projects address issues such as war, terrorism, the environment, and the collision of cultures. Hirschl communicates her feelings about an issue by employing symbols that will be meaningful to people of all cultures. Recently, she has been painting large photographic collages printed on vinyl, a process that generates dense, layered images. The result combines Abstract Expressionism with a postmodern appropriation of media imagery.

She has had solo exhibitions at the Philadelphia Art Alliance in 2004, projects for the 51st Venice Biennale and the 9th International Istanbul Biennial, and has participated in group shows at the Peekskill Project in Peekskill, New York, and at the Queens Museum. The Government of Croatia and Jerusalem Film co-produced a documentary about her life, Bridges of Memories (2000), which was narrated by Martin Sheen. Her paintings can also be found in the permanent collection of the Queens Museum of Art and in many private and corporate collections.

 

Seth Hoffman (1895- )

Seth Hoffman was a printmaker of the early twentieth century known for his monotypes. Born in 1895 in Philadelphia, Hoffman studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Philip Hale, Emil Carlsen, Daniel Garber, Charles Grafly, and Henry McCarter. His professors were primarily painters who had mastered an Impressionist-inspired naturalism. After leaving the Academy, Hoffman studied in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts. Despite his extensive training in painting, he found himself drawn to printmaking, especially monotypes. After settling in New York, Hoffman created prints inspired by the street life and urban characters that he observed. His work was representational but his marks were soft and atmospheric, revealing the influence of his professors at the Pennsylvania Academy. He began exhibiting extensively in the 1940s at the National Academy of Design and with the Pepsi-Cola Foundation. Hoffman had solo exhibitions at the Grand Central Station Gallery, the Milch Gallery in New York, the Casson Gallery in Boston, the O’Brien Gallery in Chicago, the Tilden and Thurber Gallery in Providence, the Milwaukee Art Institute, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Grand Rapids Art Gallery, and the Westchester Center in White Plains, New York. His work is in the collections of the Addison Gallery of American Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

 

Karl Hubbuch (1891-1976)

Karl Hubbuch was a little-known German artist who created fantastical prints and drawings. Born in Karlsruhe in 1891, Hubbuch attended the Karlsruhe Akademie from 1908 to 1912. At the Kunstgewerbemuseum (School of the Museum of Applied Arts) in Berlin, he studied with Emil Orlik and Walter Georgi, and was a classmate of George Grosz. Hubbuch was drawn to the theaters, cabarets and beer palaces of Berlin, where he found unusual characters who inspired his drawings. From the beginning, Hubbuch liked to draw people who had bizarre, if not maniacal, expressions.

When the First World War began, he volunteered for the army and served as an artilleryman until 1918. He fell ill with malaria and spent the following two years recuperating at his parents’ home in Neuenberg. By 1920, he was well enough to enroll in Walter Coz’s etching class in Karlsruhe. Around this time, he developed his signature style, a blend of fantasy and realism, and his work attracted the interest of a patron. With his support, Hubbuch returned to Berlin for a year in 1922 and studied again with Orlik, who was teaching at the Prussian Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. In 1924, Hubbuch made another trip to Berlin and accepted a position teaching lithography at the Karlsruhe Akademie. His trips to Berlin had injected his work with a hard-edged political tone. During the 1920s and early 1930s, he participated in many group shows, including the 1925 Neue Sachlichkeit exhibition in Mannheim, the Berlin Secession show of 1928, and a show with Otto Dix and George Grosz at the Galerie Neumann-Nierendorf in Berlin.

Hubbuch did not achieve fame because his work, primarily drawings and prints, was bewildering to many. Nonetheless, his work from this period reveals his incredible drawing ability and his eye for specific detail. From 1928 to 1933 he made annual trips to Paris, which he had grown to love for its vibrant nightlife. In 1928, he was given a full professorship at the Akademie but when the Nazis came to power in 1933 he was dismissed. Hubbuch was not Jewish but he vehemently opposed the Nazi regime. He was forbidden from making art and supported himself by painting clock faces and ceramics. In 1947 he was reappointed as a professor at the Akademie and he began exhibiting again. During his lifetime, he exhibited at the Kunsthalle Mannheim, the Prussian Academy of Art in Berlin, the Pergamon Museum, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Hayward Gallery in London. After retiring from teaching in 1957, Hubbuch renewed his interest in printmaking and produced expressionistic work until his death in 1976.

 

Jozef Israëls (1824-1911)

Jozef Israëls, born in Groningen, is considered one of the leading Dutch 19th- century painters. He first studied at the Amsterdam Academy and then at the Académie des Beaux Arts in Paris, where he copied the works of old masters at the Louvre and became acquainted with the School of Barbizon. He returned to Amsterdam in 1847 and earned his living painting portraits and historical subjects, including scenes of both Jewish and Dutch history. In 1855 he moved to the fishing village of Zandvoort and began to paint fisherman and people of the countryside. His paintings of the Netherlands coast reveal the influence of the Barbizon School, while his interiors are reminiscent of 17th-century Dutch paintings. His treatment of light is similar to that of Rembrandt, as are some of his subjects, particularly his “Saul and David” and “The Jewish Wedding.” In 1871, Israëls and a number of other painters moved to The Hague, where their group became known as the “Haagse School” and produced realistic landscapes. At this time Israëls also frequently painted Jewish subjects. One of his most renowned works is “The Son of an Ancient People” (1889), which portrays a forlorn shopkeeper in the Amsterdam ghetto, a work filled with the compassion that distinguishes his best paintings.

 

Jacob Kainen (1909-2001)

During his long career as an artist and curator, Jacob Kainen was involved with both the New York School and the Washington Color School. Born in 1909 in Waterbury, Connecticut, to Russian immigrants, Kainen moved with his family to the Bronx, New York, in 1918. During high school, Kainen frequently sketched at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and he visited commercial galleries on Saturdays. He took many art courses as a teenager, beginning with the study of life drawing with Abbo Ostrowsky at the Educational Alliance, enrolling at the Pratt Institute at sixteen, studying drawing at the Art Student’s League with Kimon Nicolaides, and taking evening classes at the New York University School of Architecture. Kainen was expelled from Pratt three weeks before graduation because he rebelled against curriculum changes that prioritized commercial art. Years later, in 1942, he finally received his diploma, dated 1930.

During the 1930s, he worked in color lithography and became involved in the New York School. After renting a studio on Fourteenth Street in 1934, he befriended Willem de Kooning, John Graham, Stuart Davis, and Arshile Gorky. Kainen was closest to Gorky, and under his influence began to experiment with abstraction. Whether making social realist or abstract work, Kainen was always interested in expressing the human experience. In 1935, he joined the Graphic Arts division of the WPA, which enabled him to experiment with woodcuts, etchings, and serigraphs. Kainen underwent a political phase, publishing cartoons in The Daily Worker and New Masses and making paintings in reaction to the Spanish Civil War. When he joined the ACA Gallery in 1937, Kainen organized the gallery’s group show of the New York School. His first solo exhibition was at the same gallery in 1940, but just as his career was taking off in New York, Kainen moved to Washington, DC to work at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of American History.

Kainen befriended members of the Washington Color School – Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis – but did not affiliate himself with the group. His paintings and intaglio prints became increasingly abstract and showed the influence of Kandinsky and Rothko. As he rose to be the Curator of Graphic Arts at the Smithsonian National Museum, he hesitated to show his work because of concerns about his curatorial career. Kainen had to make art and write on his own time, which often meant staying up until the early morning. In his curatorial position, Kainen had an enormous impact on the Smithsonian collection, accumulating significant prints by modernist and contemporary artists. During the McCarthy period, the FBI investigated his earlier leftist activities but the case was eventually dropped. In 1956, Kainen traveled to Europe for the first time and in 1957, he reintroduced the figure into his work. From 1966 to 1969, Kainen was the part-time curator of prints and drawings at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art but he retired early to focus on his own work. His late work was painterly and abstract, with bold colors and geometric shapes. The artist died in Maryland in 2001 and his work can be seen in the public collections of the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Hamburger Kunsthalle, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the New York Public Library, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Walker Art Center.

 

Razel Kapustin (1908-1968)

Razel Kapustin was a Russian painter and printmaker who left her mark in Philadelphia with her politically charged work. Born in 1908 in Ladizhen, Russia, Kapustin moved to Philadelphia and studied at the Barnes Foundation. There she came under the tutelage of David Alfaro Siqueiros, one of the masters of the Mexican school of mural painting. As a selfless and relentless activist for impoverished people around the world, Siqueiros created overtly political paintings and murals. His example inspired Kapustin and she became one of the few white artists, along with Julius Bloch and Edith Scarlett, to exhibit with black artists in the 1940s and 1950s. Her work was often included by the curator-artist Humbert Howard in his exhibitions at the Pyramid Club in Philadelphia. Kapustin was also commissioned to do a mural for the Frederick Douglass School in Philadelphia. During her lifetime, she exhibited at the Albany Institute of History and Art, the Library of Congress, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Milch Gallery in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Philadelphia Print Club, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Examples of her work can be found in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

 

Hyman Z. Katz (William H. Katz) (1899-1970)

A talented etcher and printer, Hyman Katz was a Depression-era artist of many names, who was known to sign his work as William H. Katz, Hyman William Katz, Hyman Jeff Katz, Zev Katz and Zeff Katz. Born in Poland in 1899, Katz lived most of his life in New York, where he learned etching from William Auerbach Levy and Kenneth Hayes Miller at the National Academy of Design. He made his first etchings in the early 1920s and matured as an artist during the Depression. He is best known for his portraits and for his landscapes of New York and other locations. During the 1930s, Katz received crucial support from the New York branch of the WPA, which commissioned etchings from him and published them in small editions. Not until late in life did Katz receive the critical recognition that he deserved. His decorative and formal approach to naturalism set him apart from the social realists of his generation and baffled viewers in the 1930s and 1940s. The artist died in 1970 in Englewood, New Jersey.

 

Frank Kleinholz (1901-1987)

After turning to art late in life, Frank Kleinholz gained wide recognition for his warm, humanist paintings and prints. Kleinholz was born into a poor family in Brooklyn in 1901, and spent much of his childhood selling newspapers and working as an errand boy. He won a scholarship to Colby College but still worked as a furnace tender, clothing salesman, and dishwasher to support himself. After graduating from Fordham Law School and passing the New York State Bar Examination in 1923, he launched his successful career as a lawyer. In 1932, he visited France and Italy and initiated a life-long interest in traveling.

Four years later, he tried painting when he met Alexander Dobkin and joined his group of artists. From 1938 to 1939, Kleinholz studied painting and printmaking with Yasuo Kuniyoshi and in 1939 he won a scholarship to the American Art School in New York City. Between 1939 and 1940, he studied painting with Sol Wilson and by the end of the 1930s had developed a mature style. His work from this period was greatly influenced by the Depression-era social realism of Reginald Marsh and Philip Evergood, who were his close friends. His paintings depicted women and children in bold blocks of color with simplified gestures and features. His techniques showed the influence of Picasso, Chagall, and the Mexican paintings Riviera, Siqueiros, and Orozco, whose work he admired on trips to Mexico. In 1941, after the inclusion of his painting “Abstractionists” in a Carnegie Institute exhibition, Kleinholz abandoned his career as a lawyer to become an artist. The following year he had his first solo exhibition at the Associated American Artists in New York and his work “Back Street” was exhibited and subsequently purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1943, he was invited to have a one-man exhibition at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.

For the rest of his life, Kleinholz taught art, lectured, and exhibited widely. After spending two years in France between 1948 and 1950, he moved to Port Washington, New York. In 1951 he assumed the position of Instructor of Fine Arts at Hofstra College, but his career suffered two years later under the reign of McCarthyism, when he was blacklisted from several shows and dismissed from his teaching position. After the end of McCarthy’s witch- hunt, Kleinholz began exhibiting again in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. He broadened his subject matter to include urban life and war, and began experimenting with lithography and silk-screening. In 1967 he moved to Perrine, Florida. During his lifetime, he exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Carnegie Institute, the Brooklyn Museum, the Worcester Art Institute, the Chicago Art Institute and the National Academy of Design, as well as in South America, Europe, and South Africa. His work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Phillips Collection, the Hirschhorn Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Fine Arts Museum of Moscow. Kleinholz died in Florida in 1987.

 

Joyce Kozloff (1942- )

A contemporary artist known for her use of decorative patterns, Joyce Kozloff played an important role in the development of feminist art. Born in 1942 in Somerville, New Jersey, Kozloff earned her B.F.A. from the Carnegie Institute of Technology and her M.F.A. from Columbia University in New York. While she was in graduate school, she was one of the few students not to adopt the principles of Minimalism. After marrying and having her first child, she moved to Los Angeles and met other female artists who were resistant to Minimalism. Kozloff became interested in decoration and made paintings directly from patterns that she observed. Her paintings and lithographs from the early 1970s were inspired by patterns she saw in Mexico, California, and New Mexico. Though the patterns were appropriated, the colors were intuitive and always reflected her mood or memory of a place.

In the mid-1970s she returned to New York and worked on large acrylic paintings from patterns that she had sketched. She had her third solo show at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in 1974, and the work was criticized for being copied directly from the sources. This, however, was Kozloff’s radical statement. Her work was not about individual originality; it celebrated the collective, anonymous authorship of the decorative arts. Kozloff was critiquing established notions of ‘high art’ by rejecting originality as a goal and elevating decorative arts, which had been considered ‘women’s work.’ Kozloff traveled all over the world to collect patterns and often combined imagery from different cultures in the same piece. In 1975 she co-founded the Pattern and Decoration Group and in 1977 she began using collage, serigraphs, and ceramics in her work. In the 1980s she completed her conversion to craft and created “Interior Decorated,” an installation of ceramic tiles, silks and lithographs.

From the late 1980s until very recently, Kozloff worked primarily on public art projects in order to reach a wider audience. She completed public art projects, using the architecture and decorative arts of the surrounding region for her imagery, in the Harvard Square Subway Station, the Wilmington, Delaware Amtrak Station, the San Francisco Airport, the Humboldt- Hospital Subway Station in Buffalo, New York, and the Suburban Train Station in Philadelphia. During her American Academy in Rome fellowship year, she developed a project on maps, which she exhibited at DC Moore Gallery in New York in 2001. This show marked a turn away from public art and toward overtly political, anti-war work. Kozloff has taught for many years at the Chicago Art Institute, the School of Visual Arts in New York, and at Cooper Union in New York. In addition to her recent retrospective at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Kozloff has exhibited at the Boston University Art Gallery, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Midtown Payson Galleries. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Albright- Knox Art Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum, the Fogg Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery.

 

Joyce Kozloff (1942- )

A contemporary artist known for her use of decorative patterns, Joyce Kozloff played an important role in the development of feminist art. Born in 1942 in Somerville, New Jersey, Kozloff earned her B.F.A. from the Carnegie Institute of Technology and her M.F.A. from Columbia University in New York. While she was in graduate school, she was one of the few students not to adopt the principles of Minimalism. After marrying and having her first child, she moved to Los Angeles and met other female artists who were resistant to Minimalism. Kozloff became interested in decoration and made paintings directly from patterns that she observed. Her paintings and lithographs from the early 1970s were inspired by patterns she saw in Mexico, California, and New Mexico. Though the patterns were appropriated, the colors were intuitive and always reflected her mood or memory of a place.

In the mid-1970s she returned to New York and worked on large acrylic paintings from patterns that she had sketched. She had her third solo show at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in 1974, and the work was criticized for being copied directly from the sources. This, however, was Kozloff’s radical statement. Her work was not about individual originality; it celebrated the collective, anonymous authorship of the decorative arts. Kozloff was critiquing established notions of ‘high art’ by rejecting originality as a goal and elevating decorative arts, which had been considered ‘women’s work.’ Kozloff traveled all over the world to collect patterns and often combined imagery from different cultures in the same piece. In 1975 she co-founded the Pattern and Decoration Group and in 1977 she began using collage, serigraphs, and ceramics in her work. In the 1980s she completed her conversion to craft and created “Interior Decorated,” an installation of ceramic tiles, silks and lithographs.

From the late 1980s until very recently, Kozloff worked primarily on public art projects in order to reach a wider audience. She completed public art projects, using the architecture and decorative arts of the surrounding region for her imagery, in the Harvard Square Subway Station, the Wilmington, Delaware Amtrak Station, the San Francisco Airport, the Humboldt- Hospital Subway Station in Buffalo, New York, and the Suburban Train Station in Philadelphia. During her American Academy in Rome fellowship year, she developed a project on maps, which she exhibited at DC Moore Gallery in New York in 2001. This show marked a turn away from public art and toward overtly political, anti-war work. Kozloff has taught for many years at the Chicago Art Institute, the School of Visual Arts in New York, and at Cooper Union in New York. In addition to her recent retrospective at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Kozloff has exhibited at the Boston University Art Gallery, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Midtown Payson Galleries. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Albright- Knox Art Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum, the Fogg Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery.

 

Harold Kushner

Harold Kushner was a New York-based artist who used the techniques of the Old Masters to depict scenes of modern Jewish life. A devoted student of the arts, Kushner took classes at most of the acclaimed art schools in New York, including the Art Students League, the National Academy of Design, the School of Visual Arts, and Pratt Institute and earned his Master’s degree from New York University. Kushner was inspired by the work of Degas, the masters of the Italian Renaissance, especially Veronese and Parmigiano, and Rembrandt, whose influence is clearly seen in Kushner’s handling of line and form in the ink drawing of four Jewish men that is included in the Balka Collection. The lack of shading, the floating figures and the flat, abstract background in this drawing, however, make the work graphic and distinctly modern. While the ink drawing shows a naturalistic attention to detail, the background is a loose, expressive field of color. Kushner has exhibited his work and enjoyed gallery representation throughout the United States, in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Miami.

 

Ruth Leaf (1923- )

A graphic artist based in New York, Ruth Leaf took her inspiration from the people she observed on the city streets and in the rural areas of her home state. Leaf was born in 1923 in New York, where she studied art with Sol Wilson, Moses Soyer, Harry Sternberg, and at Atelier 17 with William Stanley Hayter. Her preferred medium was graphics, and her prints primarily depicted genre and street scenes. To portray the local characters, workers, and farmers who were her subjects, Leaf transformed them into lively caricatures with exaggerated, humorous postures. The print “Orchard Street” is typical of her work in its depiction of a busy street and the characters that enliven it. Leaf lived part of her adult life near Lake Success in New York and after 1963 she taught at the Ruth Leaf Studio in Douglaston, New York. During her lifetime she exhibited both in Europe and in the United States. In 1971 she had an exhibition at the De Cordova Museum in Massachusetts and in 1972 her work was shown at the Galerie Art et Gravure in Paris. Leaf won purchase awards from the Library of Congress in 1946 and Hofstra University in 1963, and her work is now in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, New York University, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and Colgate University.

 

Jack Levine (1915- )

Jack Levine’s celebrated painting style is a combination of Expressionism, Social Realism, and Old Master naturalism. Born in the South End of Boston in 1915, Levine grew up drawing the immigrants, policemen, thieves, and drunkards of his neighborhood. When his family moved to Roxbury, Connecticut, he took art classes there but at the age of fourteen he was discovered by Dr. Denman Ross of Harvard University, who offered him tutelage, studio space, and weekly stipends for two years. When Levine returned to Boston to work with Dr. Ross, he studied the Old Masters intently and began taking classes at the Museum of Fine Arts School. At the age of seventeen, he had an exhibition of his drawings at Harvard University’s Fogg Art Museum. He finished his art education at Colby College, where he studied with Harold Zimmerman, and spent the following years living in Rome and Mexico.

Levine remained committed to figural representation and continued to idolize the Old Masters, despite the rising popularity of abstraction. He achieved success by the late 1930s for his raw, satirical paintings that combined Social Realism and Expressionism. Employed by the WPA from 1935 to 1937, he continued painting and exhibited “Card Game” and “Brain Trust” at the Museum of Modern Art in 1936. Both the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired a painting by Levine the following year. In 1938, Levine had his first one-man show at New York’s Downtown Gallery, but the following year his father died, throwing him into a spiritual re-evaluation. From then on, Levine addressed religious and biblical themes in some of his work, in homage to his father’s Jewish heritage.

After serving in the Second World War and marrying the artist Ruth Gikow, Levine settled in New York, where he has remained. In 1947, he won a Guggenheim Fellowship to work in Europe, and in 1950 a Fulbright grant to study in Rome. A retrospective of his work was organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston in 1952, and traveled to the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. In the 1960s, he became more interested in printmaking, and he combined the techniques of etching, drypoint, mezzotint, and aquatint to build up layers of images within each work. For almost two decades, he worked with Emiliano Sorini, an Italian printer living in New Jersey, on intaglio prints.

For the last twenty-five years, Levine’s work has received a fresh wave of critical acclaim. The Jewish Museum mounted a retrospective of his work in 1979, which traveled to four other American museums. David Sutherland produced a documentary about Levine in the 1980s titled Jack Levine: Feast of Pure Reason, and Rizzoli Books published a monograph of his work in 1989. He also served as the president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a celebrated teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Levine’s work is in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Vatican Museum in Rome, the Jewish Museum in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others.

 

Ephraim Moses Lilien (1874-1925)

Ephraim Moses Lilien was an Austrian-born graphic artist whose work reflected his involvement in the Zionist movement at the turn of the century. Lilien was born in 1874 in Drohobycz in Galicia, Austria. He was unable to finish his studies at the Gymnasium because his father could not afford the tuition. Nonetheless, Lilien studied painting and printmaking with Jan Matejko at the Academy of Arts of Krakow from 1890 to 1892. In his youth, Lilien was involved with the Socialist movement and its utopianism appeared in his later Zionist work. After visiting Vienna and Munich, Lilien moved to Berlin in 1899, where he joined the Zionist group ‘die Kommenden,’ which included Else Lasker-Schuler, Peter Hille, Erich Musam, and Stefan Zweig. In 1900 he published the book Juda, which documented the oppression of the Jews. Lilien aimed to create a national Jewish art by interpreting traditional Jewish motifs through contemporary styles. His graphic, black and white illustrations echoed the Art Nouveau movement in their organic forms and the combination of flat space and elaborate ornamentation. His skills as a draughtsman lent his depictions of Jewish history a fluidity of line and a specificity of detail unparalleled by his contemporaries.

His reputation grew beyond the Zionist movement in the 1890s, during which time he did the illustrations for Lieder des Ghetto by Morris Rosenfeld. In 1902 he became the artistic director of the Jewish Publishing Company in Berlin, founded by Martin Buber, Berthold Feiwel, and Chaim Weizmann. In the early 1900s Lilien traveled frequently to the Middle East and from 1904 to 1906 taught painting and drawing at the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem. Lilien continued to illustrate books in the 1910s, and is perhaps best remembered for his illustrations of the Bible. In 1923, two years before he died, Lilien had his first large exhibition in New York.

 

Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973)

A significant figure in the Cubist movement, Jacques Lipchitz was a Lithuanian-born sculptor who worked primarily in bronze. Lipchitz was born in 1891 in Druskieniki, Lithuania and as a child drew and sculpted in clay. Against the wishes of his father, but with his mother’s financial help, he moved to Paris in 1909 at the age of eighteen. There he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts with Jean-Antoine Ingalbert before transferring to the Académie Julian, where he studied sculpture with Raoul Verlet. His father finally agreed to support him and provided a generous allowance. During his first years in Paris, Lipchitz visited the Louvre frequently, took evening classes at the Académie Calarossi, and began collecting tribal sculpture. In 1911 he settled in Montparnasse and in 1912 moved into a studio next to Brancusi. At this point his father could no longer support him and he had a difficult time making ends meet. Nonetheless, the early 1910s were an incredibly productive time for Lipchitz and he began making bronze casts of his clay models.

In 1913, he exhibited at the Salon d’Automne and befriended Picasso, Braque and Juan Gris. His proto-Cubist sculptures were inspirational to his painter friends and helped stimulate the Cubist movement. In 1914 Lipchitz traveled to Spain with his friend Diego Rivera and studied the work of the Spanish masters. He developed friendships with Chaim Soutine and Amedeo Modigliani. In 1915 Lipchitz created his first mature Cubist works; with flat planes and geometric shapes he depicted harlequins, musical instruments, and bathers. In 1922, Dr. Albert Barnes commissioned stone reliefs from Lipchitz for the Barnes Foundation, and the commission brought him international recognition. In 1924 he became a French citizen and in the following year moved into a house designed by Le Corbusier in a Parisian suburb. Lipchitz began making “transparents” using casting techniques that preserved the negative spaces in his work. After his first large retrospective at Jean Bucher’s Galerie de la Renaissance in Paris in 1930, Lipchitz turned to biblical themes, mythical figures and the image of mother and child. Following his a major exhibition at the Brummer Gallery in New York, he created the sculpture “Prometheus Strangling the Vulture,” which was a political allegory against Nazism, for the Paris World’s Fair (1937).

After the Germans occupied Paris, Lipchitz fled to Toulouse and then to New York, where he found representation at the Buchholz Gallery. When he moved to the United States, his style became increasingly expressionistic and dynamic. In 1946 he visited Paris for the first time after the war and was made Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government. Lipchitz settled in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, where he lived and worked until 1973.

From the 1950s on, Lipchitz enjoyed international recognition, with retrospective exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art (1954), Amsterdam‘s Stedelijk Museum’s traveling exhibition (1958), and the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Baltimore Museum of Art (1960). After 1961 he spent his summers in Italy and traveled to Israel for the first time. The artist died in 1973 on the island of Capri, but his work can be seen in the permanent collections of nearly every significant international museum, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Tate Gallery in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, among others.

 

Louis Lozowick (1892-1973)

Louis Lozowick was a member of the Precisionist movement and an early promoter of the Russian avant-garde. Born in Ludvinovka, Ukraine, in 1892, Lozowick was brought to Kiev by his brother in 1904 and accepted into the Kiev Art School. He joined his brother in New York in 1906 and worked many jobs to support himself. In 1912 he studied at the National Academy of Design with Leon Kroll and Emil Carlsen, later enrolling at the Ohio State University, where he studied with Ludwig Lewisohn and Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. Lozowick graduated from college in 1918 and joined the army but only served for a year.

He moved to Paris in 1919 and then to Berlin in 1920, where he found a large community of Russian artists. Fluent in both Russian and German, Lozowick had no trouble assimilating into the group that met at Moholy-Nagy’s apartment. He became a member of the Novembergruppe and befriended the Russian artist El Lissitzky. After having a one-man show at the Twardy Gallery in Berlin in 1922, Lozowick traveled to Russia where he met Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, and Natan Altman. In the same year, Lozowick began making “Machine Ornament” drawings and, inspired by Lissitzky’s work, made his first lithograph in 1923. His drawings and prints focused on the perfection and harmony of the machine, excluding all emotional interpretation. Indeed, Lozowick saw the art process as a mechanical form of production. In 1924 he returned to New York but still exhibited in Germany as part of the New Objectivity exhibition in Mannheim. From 1925 to 1927, he made pen and ink drawings of machines, which attracted critical attention after his solo show at Neumann’s New Art Gallery in 1926. In the same year he exhibited with Charles Sheeler and was grouped with the ‘machine aesthetic’ movement and the Precisionists. Characteristic of Precisionist art was an idealized state of order that lacked any specifics of time and place.

Lozowick also wrote extensively on art history and theory, particularly about the Russian avant- garde. The Société Anonyme published his lectures as a monograph Modern Russian Art, which played a significant role in legitimizing Russian Art in the United States. In the late 1920s he was on the executive board of the New Masses, designed the sets for Georg Kaiser’s play “Gas,” and participated in the Société Anonyme’s International Exhibition in Brooklyn, New York. Lozowick also had international one-man shows in Paris and Moscow. In the 1930s his work shifted from objectively analytical to socially involved as he turned to the intersection of the human figure with the urban environment. From 1934 to 1940 Lozowick worked in the graphic arts, easel painting, and murals divisions of the WPA in New York. In 1943 he participated in the group show “American Realists and Magic Realists” at the Museum of Modern Art and in the following year moved to South Orange, New Jersey. In the 1960s he was included in the exhibition “The Precisionist View in American Art,” which was organized by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and he had many one-man exhibitions in the greater New York area. One year after his one-man show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the artist passed away in 1973. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Center, the British Museum, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the University Gallery of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the National Gallery of Canada, among others.

 

Joseph Margulies (1896-1984)

Widely celebrated for his portraits, Joseph Margulies was born in Austria in 1896, came to New York at an early age and remained there for the rest of his life. From 1922 to 1925, he studied at the Art Students League with the master printer Joseph Pennell. Subsequently, Margulies studied at the National Academy of Design, Cooper Union, and the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. To complete his education, he carried out an apprenticeship with Maynard Waltner in Vienna. Never limiting himself to one medium, Margulies gained critical acclaim for his etchings, lithographs, and paintings. He became one of the most famous portraitists in the United States and was commissioned to paint Franklin D. Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, and Herbert Hoover, among others. His portraits of Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon were published on the covers of Newsweek magazine. In addition to his portraits, Margulies enjoyed painting landscapes and often turned to the public spaces of New York City for inspiration.

When he started spending summers in Cape Ann and keeping a studio in Gloucester, Massachusetts, dramatic harbor scenes entered his oeuvre. Like John Sloan and Edward Hopper, Margulies was captivated by that particular waterfront and began to experiment with bold color and loose brushstrokes. His Cape Ann pictures were published on the cover of The Literary Digest in 1931 and 1933. During this time he continued to work in a variety of media, including etching, aquatints, watercolors, and oil paintings, and he kept his winter studio in New York, where he completed portraits and studies of urban life. For the rest of his life, he maintained the parallel projects of Cape Ann landscapes and New York studies. By the 1950s, the style that Margulies employed lost popularity as abstraction rose to dominance, but that did not deter him. His work was collected by many prominent American institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, the New York Public Library, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Yale University Library, the Library of Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Smithsonian Institute. Margulies also contributed three original etchings to the Associated American Artists during his career. He passed away in 1984.

 

Martin Miller (1917-2005)

Martin Miller is remembered for his stunning photographs, his business savvy, and his unending fight for the equal treatment of Jewish people. Born in Cleveland in 1917, Miller was raised by his sister after his parents died in 1933. Despite his tragic adolescence, Miller developed a great enthusiasm for tennis and later photography. He attended what is now known as Case Western Reserve University for his undergraduate education and earned his Master’s degree in sociology there as well. During the Second World War, Miller moved to Washington, DC to work for several wartime agencies and thereby began a successful career in business. Between 1948 and 1975, he worked as a Treasury Department Savings Bond official for several large corporations, and was partly responsible for increasing the yearly income from Series E bonds by $2 billion. During this time he began taking photographs seriously and taught photography at the Agriculture Department’s graduate school from 1956 to 1973. His photo “The Star Spangled Banner,” which was used for a US Savings Bond poster after the Second World War, won the Kodak Amateur Photo Contest and caused the Photographic Society of America to call him one of the world’s most famous black and white amateur photographers. Miller also took memorable photographs depicting Jewish community leaders.

After Miller retired, he strove to eradicate inaccurate portrayals of Israel’s geography and history. He spent eight years persuading the State Department and CIA to change their cartographic labels of the West Bank from “Israeli-occupied Jordan” to “West Bank – Status to Be Determined” and ultimately succeeded. He also convinced the Encyclopedia Britannica to revise their Middle East maps and corresponded with The Washington Post over what he saw as inaccurate portrayals of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These actions were part of a lifelong commitment on Miller’s part to protest any bias or injustice against Israel or Jewish people. Miller died in 2005 at the age of 88 of esophageal cancer.

 

Mordecai Moreh (1937- )

A creator of enigmatic, allegorical paintings, Mordecai Moreh is a contemporary Israeli artist who lives in Paris. Moreh was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1937, but immigrated to Israel in 1951. He studied art at the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem from 1955 to 1959 before beginning his studies in Europe. From 1960 to 1962 he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence and from 1962 to 1969 he studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. Since 1962 he has been dividing his time between Paris and Israel. He uses personified animals and composite figures to indirectly address human conflict. The distorted figures confront each other with mournful looks in flat, abstracted spaces. The influence of the Surrealists and Symbolists is visible in Moreh’s work, as well as the specific forms of Odilon Redon and Paul Klee. Moreh prefers working in paint, etching, and lithography and is skilled in all three media.

Moreh has exhibited extensively since 1960, with seventy-nine solo exhibitions in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Vienna, Hamburg, Munich, Rome, Boston, New York, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. He has also participated in multiple biennials. In 1991, he received funding from the Israel Electric Corporation to execute a project in neon with Neon Necoda.

 

Ira Moskowitz (1912-1985)

An artist of Polish-Jewish heritage, Ira Moskowitz made religious rituals the subject of his paintings, drawings and prints. The descendent of a long line of rabbis, Moskowitz was born in 1912 in a small Polish village but his family moved to Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1914. When his parents moved the family to New York City in 1927, Moskowitz was fifteen years old and torn between his passion for drawing and his religious studies. From 1928 to 1932, he took classes at the Art Students League with Harry Wickey and Jerome Meyers, signaling his decision to be an artist.

After selling some of his prints, Moskowitz was able to travel to Palestine and Europe in the late 1930s, where he studied the Old Masters. In 1939 he made his first trip to Mexico, where he was fascinated by the native traditions and rituals. The prints and drawings that emerged from his travels to Mexico earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1943 and in the following year he and his wife moved to New Mexico, where they lived for almost a decade. He was an active member of the Santa Fe/Taos artist community, which had already attracted Georgia O’Keefe, Robert Henri, and Leon Gaspard. His prints and drawings of Navajo religious ceremonies brought him national recognition during this time. Moskowitz and his wife frequently hosted gatherings of artist friends, including Oscar Berninghaus, Andrew Dasburg, Ernest Blumenschein, and Mabel Dodge Lujan. Following the example of several printmakers in the area, Moskowitz experimented with lithography for the first time while in New Mexico.

After 1955, the couple lived in New York City and Moskowitz tried his hand at publishing. He edited a four-volume series Great Drawings of All Time, which was published in 1962. Between 1962 and 1967, Moskowitz divided his time between New York and Paris. When he resumed living in New York full-time, he turned to the subject of Jewish life and traditions in his work. Collaborating with Isaac Bashevis Singer, he illustrated many books about Eastern European Jewish life at the turn of the century. This later work continued his lifelong interest in religious rituals and marked a return to his cultural roots. From 1967 to 1969 he exhibited at the Haifa Museum of Modern Art in Israel and at the Waddington Galleries in Montreal. Moskowitz’s etchings, lithographs, drawings, and paintings are in major public collections in Europe, the United States and Israel. He died in 1985.

 

Robert Motherwell (1915-1991)

One of the leading Abstract Expressionists, Robert Motherwell was also a writer and teacher. Born in Aberdeen, Washington in 1915 to an upper middle-class family, Motherwell spent most of his childhood in California due to his asthma condition. As an adolescent, he studied briefly at the Otis Art Institute and at the California School of the Fine Arts in San Francisco but decided to study philosophy in college. After earning his B.A. from Stanford University, he pursued postgraduate studies at Harvard, where he met the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead who interested him in abstraction. After his studies at Harvard, he decided to become an artist, but at the request of his father took art history classes at Columbia University with Meyer Schapiro.

Upon moving to New York in 1940, Motherwell met the exiled Surrealists André Breton, Matta Echaurren, and André Masson and became interested in automatic drawing and writing. He grew close to the Chilean Surrealist Echaurren and the two artists traveled to Mexico, where the bright colors, abstract patterns, and fusion of life and death had a profound influence on Motherwell. He began painting seriously at this time and determined that his natural inclination was towards abstraction. He soon joined Jackson Pollock, Hans Hoffmann, and Willem de Kooning in transforming the face of American painting. In one of his first major series, “Elegy to the Spanish Republic,” Motherwell addressed the Spanish Civil War through black abstract forms. In 1944 Motherwell had a solo show at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of this Century, and in subsequent years showed at the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Corcoran Gallery.

From the late 1940s through the 1950s he taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina and in the art history program of Hunter College of the City University of New York. Motherwell also worked on publications and wrote regularly. He served as the art advisor for the journal Dada/Surrealism, and edited the journals Possibilities and Modern Artists in America with Ad Reinhardt. In 1944 he founded Documents of Modern Art, a book series that included the anthology The Dada Painters and Poets, which influenced the Beat poets.

Motherwell returned to his art with renewed intensity in the 1950s, during which time he also divorced and remarried several times. His series, “Je t’aime,” was completed during his marriage in 1958 to Helen Frankenthaler, celebrated for her color field paintings, followed by his marriage to the photographer Renate Ponsold, with whom he lived in Greenwich, Connecticut. Inspired by his summers in Provincetown, he executed the series “Beside the Sea.” Atypical of New England seascapes, this series was entirely abstract and created by flinging paint against the surface of the canvas. The theme of Spain reappeared in his work at this time with the “Madrid Suite” and he returned intermittently to the “Elegy to the Spanish Republic” series. After his 1965 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, Motherwell began a new phase of his life characterized by experimentations in printmaking, collage, and drawing. In the early 1970s he completed the “Open” series, composed only of horizontal and vertical lines. Not all of his work from his later years was as rigidly geometric, however, and much of it drew from characters in literature. Motherwell died in Provincetown in 1991 and his work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Tate Gallery in London, among others.

 

Jerome Myers (1867-1940)

A painter and printmaker of the Ashcan style, Jerome Myers presented an unusually idyllic view of New York City. Born in 1867 in Petersburg, Virginia, Myers was raised in Philadelphia, Trenton, and Baltimore. In the 1880s Myers moved to New York, where he studied at Cooper Union and at the Art Students League with George de Forest Brush. In 1887 he began painting scenes of urban life in New York, but his images were always colorful and bright interpretations of immigrant experiences. He often chose markets and playing children as his subjects, capturing the energy of the community with his loose brushwork. His mediums of choice were oil paint, pastel, watercolor, ink, and etching.

Though Myers traveled to Paris in 1896 and again in 1914, he was most inspired by the streets of New York. Myers has been linked to the Ashcan school because of his realist approach to banal subjects, but he was never part of the core group. Robert Henri rejected his work from “The Eight” exhibition of 1908 because it was too sentimental. But following Henri’s model of an artist-organized exhibition, Myers helped organize the 1913 Armory Show in New York City, in which he exhibited his work, and had his first one-man show at the American Society of Painters. Myers exhibited frequently at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annuals, the Art Institute of Chicago Annuals, and the Corcoran Gallery Biennials for the first half of the twentieth century. Between 1917 and 1938, Myers exhibited at the Society of Independent Artists twice, at the National Academy of Design five times, and at the Whitney Museum of American Art. His work is in the permanent collections of the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Rochester Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Before his death in New York City in 1940, Myers was honored with many awards and prizes.

 

Louise Nevelson (1900-1988)

A Russian-born American artist, Louise Nevelson became famous in the 1960s for her wall relief sculptures of painted wood. Five years after Nevelson was born in Kiev, her family moved to Rockland, Maine in 1905, where her father ran a lumber yard. Nevelson’s observation of his work there and as a builder undoubtedly led to her interest in wood as a medium. Her artistic talent was evident from her childhood and she benefited from the mentorship of well-trained art teachers at her high school, many of whom had attended Pratt Institute. She always knew she wanted to be an artist and, after marrying Charles Nevelson in 1920, moved to New York to start her career.

Rather than limiting herself to the visual arts, Nevelson studied singing, dance and drama as well. While taking painting and drawing classes with Theresa Bernstein and William Meyerowitz, she also studied voice with Estelle Liebling, a coach from the Metropolitan Opera, and took classes in dramatics. In the early 1920s she began teaching herself about philosophy and comparative religion, an interest that lasted her whole life. From 1929 to 1930 she studied with Kenneth Hayes Miller and Kimon Nicolaides at the Art Students League and in 1931 she studied briefly with Hans Hoffmann in Munich. While in Europe, she also worked on films in Berlin and in Vienna.

When Nevelson returned to New York in 1932, she and Ben Shahn worked as assistants to Diego Rivera while he completed a mural for the New Workers’ School in New York. In the 1930s she took dance classes with Ellen Kearns and began exhibiting her work. In 1934 she showed at the Society of Independent Artists, in 1935 at the Brooklyn Museum, and in 1941 she had her first solo show at the Nierendorf Gallery.

By the mid-1940s, Nevelson began assembling found objects into so-called “junk sculptures” and she gained wider recognition for this work. In the late 1940s, she participated in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annuals and traveled to England, France, Italy and Mexico. From 1949 to 1955 she studied intermittently at Atelier 17 in New York, first with Stanley William Hayter and then with Peter Grippi and Leo Katz. In the mid-1950s, she began putting her found objects into boxes and painting them. Her piece “Black Majesty” was bought in 1956 by the Whitney Museum of American Art, and in 1957 the Brooklyn Museum bought “First Personage.” She created her first wall sculpture of stacked boxes in 1958, one of which, “Sky Cathedral.” was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art. She exhibited this work in the United States Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1962, the same year that the Whitney Museum of Art bought “Young Shadows.” During a fellowship at the Tamarind Workshop in Los Angeles in 1963, she branched out to printmaking and completed a series of twenty-six lithographs. During the 1960s she took on leadership roles in artists’ associations, serving as president of the National Artists’ Equity and Vice- President of the International Association of Artists. In the late 1960s she began using plexiglas and aluminum in her work as well as Cor-ten steel. The Whitney Museum of American Art held a retrospective of her work in 1980 and her art was acquired for the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, New York, and the Tate Gallery in London. She created the Torah Ark for Temple Beth El in Great Neck, and fulfilled commissions for the World Trade Center in New York, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and San Francisco’s Embarcadero Center. Nevelson died in 1988.

 

Natan Nuchi (1951- )

Since the 1980s, Natan Nuchi has been making work about the Holocaust and the resilience of the human spirit. Nuchi was born in Israel in 1951 and came to the United States when he was eighteen. From 1969 to 1974, he studied art privately in Los Angeles and in 1974 he moved to New York, where for over thirty years he has been experimenting with a wide variety of media, including spray paint and computer painting programs. In 1983, Nuchi began making paintings about the Holocaust and Jewish history by creating images of floating, emaciated figures. Some paintings depict concentration camp prisoners in sitting or lying positions, their skin brightly colored to emphasize that they are flesh and blood. Others depict corpses, with ashen skin, floating against dark backgrounds. By the mid-1980s, Nuchi was exhibiting widely in New York galleries and attracting attention from art magazines. His work underwent a dramatic transformation in the early 1990s, when he began using the computer to make “Digital Drawings.” The drawings are done at an intentionally low resolution so that the images appear very pixilated when enlarged to full size.

Since the 1990s, Nuchi has exhibited his Holocaust-related work in museums around the world. The Haifa Museum of Art mounted a show of his work in 1992, and the B’nai B’rith Klutznick Museum in Washington, DC gave him a solo exhibition in 1995, the same year that he participated in the exhibition “After Auschwitz: Responses to the Holocaust” at the Royal Festival Hall in London, one of the first major group exhibitions to deal with the subject of the Holocaust. His “Digital Drawings” were shown in 1997 at the Ramat Gan Museum of Art, and in 2000 at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum in New York. Since the late 1990s, Nuchi has branched out to installation art in order to explore the marketing of Holocaust memory through books and films. He has exhibited these installations in Israel and in New Jersey as part of exhibitions on Holocaust-related art. Nuchi has also been making large wall drawings and has been using more abstract, metaphorical imagery in his paintings.

Nuchi has participated in group exhibitions at the Cooper Union Gallery, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Museum of Rhode Island School of Design, and the Sculpture Center in New York. His work is in the collections of the Jewish Museum of New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Haifa Museum, the Haifa University Gallery, the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Instititute of Religion Museum, and the Museum of Israeli Art in Ramat-Gan, Israel.

 

Bernard Olshan (1921- )

Born in 1921 in New York City, Bernard Olshan began his art studies at the age of eleven with H. Glintenkamp. He subsequently studied with Nahum Tschachbasov, Moses Soyer, Raphael Soyer, and Joe Solman at the American Artists School, as well as at the WPA Art School (1934-36). In 1939 he won the Intercity High School mural award and was commissioned to paint a mural for the Theodore Roosevelt High School cafeteria. He served in the U.S. Army during 1942-1945, and after the war attended the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris (1947-51).

His work has been exhibited at Audubon Artists, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Grace College Community Gallery, Lehman College, the National Academy of Design, Syracuse University, Ward Eggelston Galleries, Westside Gallery, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

He has served as President of the American Society of Contemporary Artists (1987-94), Vice President of New York Artists Equity, and as Director of the Cultural Arts Department at the Moshulu Montefiore YM-YWHA Community Center (1965-1978). Since 1998, he has taught on the faculty of the National Academy of Design. His work is included in The New Humanism: Art in the Time of Change by B. Schwartz and The Artist in Society by L.J. Hatterer.

 

Abel Pann (1883-1963)

With a masterful combination of naturalism and expressionism, the artist Abel Pann depicted the suffering of Eastern European Jewry, class conflict in Paris, and the stories of the Bible. Born Abba Pfefferman in 1883, Pann had an observant religious upbringing in the Vitebsk region of White Russia (now Belarus). His father was a rabbi and the head of the local yeshiva, a religious academy, and Pann attended the local Jewish elementary school until he was twelve.

Deciding to become an artist in his adolescence, Pann studied drawing with Yehuda Pen of Vitebsk, who was also Marc Chagall’s teacher. In 1898, with the help of a wealthy patron, Pann moved to Odessa to study at the Academy of the Fine Arts. When pogroms destroyed Kishinev in 1903, he traveled to the area to draw the ruins and submitted the subsequent paintings for his final review at the Academy. In the same year he moved to Paris and continued to paint scenes of Jewish life, often from memory. In Paris he perfected his academic painting skills at the Académie Julian, where he studied with William Bouguereau. His paintings from this time, such as “Refugees” (1906), are sensuous in their soft handling of light and color. Pann enjoyed modest fame for these paintings and exhibited alongside Matisse and Renoir, but he eventually abandoned academic painting and began making cartoons and caricatures for French journals. Through his cartoons, Pann expressed his biting social criticism and empathy for the downtrodden. He began working in pastels in 1913, the same year that he taught at the Bezalel School of Art and Crafts in Jerusalem. Pann fell in love with Jerusalem and wanted to stay there but on a trip back to Paris to collect his belongings he was stranded by the outbreak of the First World War.

While in Paris, Pann heard about the pogroms in Russia and made a series of paintings and prints about them. His book In the Name of the Czar: 24 Original Pictures, combining the social criticism of Daumier with the expressiveness of Munch, features images that stunningly capture the desperation of the figures and the bleakness of the landscape. For the rest of the First World War, Pann painted war subjects and visited the United States, where he exhibited in several cities. In 1920, he was at last able to return to Palestine and taught at the Bezalel School until 1924. From the 1920s onward, he made pastel drawings and prints of Biblical scenes, using the people of the Middle East as his models. By this point, Pann was an ardent Zionist and he intentionally used local people and landscapes in his drawings to celebrate the geographic origins of Jewish culture. His illustrations of the Bible brought him wide recognition and during the Second World War he continued the illustrations while making paintings of the Holocaust. Pann’s depictions of the trials and origins of the Jewish people were celebrated in both Western and Eastern Europe in the last decades of his life. The artist died in Jerusalem in 1963 and his work can be seen in the permanent collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Musée Carnavalet in Paris, the Municipal Museum of the Hague, the Chicago Art Institute, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

 

Jules Pascin (1885-1930)

Jules Pascin is remembered equally for his superb drawings and his flamboyant dandy lifestyle. Pascin was born Julius Mordechai Pincas in 1885 in Vidim, a small Bulgarian town on the Danube. When he was seven, his Sephardic family moved to Bucharest, where he lived for ten years. At sixteen he began an affair with the madame of a local brothel, where he enjoyed sketching the prostitutes. Refusing formal education, he left home at seventeen to study art in Vienna and Budapest. Pascin settled in Munich, where he studied at the Heymann Art School and associated with the Jugendstil artists, a branch of the Art Nouveau movement. In Munich, he worked as an illustrator and published the iconoclastic magazine Simplicissimus. In 1905 he moved to Paris, after stopping in Berlin, and changed his name to Pascin, an anagram of Pincas. There he befriended the artists who gathered around the Café du Dome. While living in Paris, he was granted a solo show at the Paul Cassirer Gallery in Berlin in 1907 and later exhibited at the Berlin Secession. During World War I, Pascin lived in New York and contributed several works to the Armory Show of 1913, but never exhibited widely. Although he befriended Walt Kuhn and Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Pascin often tired of the New York art scene and traveled to the far-flung ethnic neighborhoods of New York, to the southern cities of Charleston and New Orleans, and even to Cuba.

When Pascin returned to Paris in 1920, he became a notorious figure in the art community. Always seen in a sleek black suit with a cocked bowler hat, he was a lavish host and an incurable womanizer. Even after marrying the artist Hermine David, Pascin continued to keep mistresses with whom he had serious, long-term relationships. His drawings mostly depicted women in seductive poses or men experiencing women’s affections. Pascin had trouble finishing his work and rarely finished the eyes, ensuring that the subjects never directly engaged the viewer. His drawings were considered scandalous, but he managed to support himself modestly through the sale of his work. Pascin was loosely associated with the Jewish artists from Russia and Eastern Europe, such as Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, and Chaim Soutine, who called themselves “The School of Paris.” Unlike the other artists in this group, Pascin rejected his Jewish origins and did not paint Jewish subjects. What he shared with “The School of Paris” were the compounded influences of German Expressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism. Pascin’s work moves far beyond these influences, however; his nervous, emotional lines are the most memorable aspect of his work. His drawings are usually more engaging than his paintings, since his talent was as a draughtsman, yet the painting “Melancholy Woman” of 1907 stands as an exception.

Pascin remained rootless his whole life and traveled to Egypt, Algeria, and Greece before committing suicide in his Paris apartment in 1930. His work has been acquired by the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporaine in Liège, France, the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institute, the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Walker Art Center.

 

Saul Rabino (1892-1969)

Best known for his paintings and drawings of Jewish culture, Saul Rabino was a Russian-born artist who spent most of his life in Los Angeles. Born Saul Rabinowitz in 1892 in Odessa, Russia, Rabino studied art at the Russian Imperial Art School. During a brief stay in Paris, he continued his education at the École des Arts Decoratifs. After mastering techniques in painting, sculpture, and lithography, Rabino moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a WPA printmaker during the 1930s. He stayed in Los Angeles for the rest of his life, making work about political turmoil and the Jewish community. During the 1940s, he drew allegorical images of war and the plight of Jews in Eastern Europe. These political works, usually drawings or prints, are dramatic, symbolic, and emotionally rousing. He also made art portraying the scholars and religious leaders of the Jewish community, including portraits that are more delicate than his political pieces and express an obvious admiration for the leaders of his community. Before he died in 1969, Rabino exhibited at the World’s Fair New York in 1939, the Los Angeles Museum Historical Society of Art, and the Laguna Beach Art Society. His work is in the collection of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Saul Raskin (1878-1966)

A gifted printmaker, painter, and writer, Saul Raskin applied his skills to creating distinctly Jewish art. Born in 1878 in Nogaysk, Russia, Raskin spent his adolescence as an apprentice in a lithographic print shop. After his mentor, a German lithographer, encouraged him to go to Berlin, Raskin left home at the age of fifteen. On the way to Germany he studied lithography and drawing in Odessa, and subsequently attended art academies in Germany, France, Italy, and Switzerland. With his experience in commercial printing, Raskin was able to find part-time work wherever he went, and he found time to draw in the evenings.

On a whim, he joined a group of Jews from Grodno on a ship to New York and arrived in the United States when he was twenty-five years old. At that age, he was a Marxist free-spirit who spoke Russian and a little Yiddish. In New York he continued to work as a commercial lithographer and then started doing cartoons for the Jewish humor magazines Kibitzer and The Big Kundes. Through these magazines he reconnected to his Jewish heritage and began to read and write more in Yiddish. In the following years, he contributed to many magazines in the New York area.

When the First World War broke out, he enlisted in the American Army and then became a Zionist after the Balfour Declaration in 1917. Raskin went to Palestine for the first time in 1921, when he was 43 years old, and was so inspired by what he saw that he began to paint obsessively. Upon his return to New York, Raskin realized that his true calling was painting, although he continued to make prints for the rest of his life. He began painting Jewish life in New York, particularly on the East Side, and he became a famed illustrator of Jewish subjects.

By this time, Raskin saw Judaism as the core of his life and the source of his creativity. He wanted to make specifically Jewish art and focused his energy on authoring and illustrating religious texts. In addition to writing Palestine in Word and Picture, Raskin also illustrated The Genesis, The Book of Psalms, and The Haggadah. His work is primarily representational, capturing the rich details of people’s faces, garments, and surroundings. He often depicted Jews praying, studying, working and celebrating, but his oeuvre also includes traditional still lives and landscapes. Raskin was trained in a realist style but always longed to try surrealism, with which he experimented at the age of eighty-two, on his sixth visit to Israel, when he experienced a renewed excitement for painting. His later surrealist works, inspired by his dreams and religious feelngs, are swirling, layered compositions, in which Raskin combined imagery from Jewish tradition and his visions of impending death. The artist died several years later in 1966 in New York. Raskin exhibited extensively in the United States at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Print Club, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Society of American Artists. His work has been collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Art Museum, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, and the Newark Museum.

 

Lionel Reiss (1894-1988)

After achieving success as a commercial designer, Lionel Reiss made paintings that documented Jewish communities around the world. Born in 1894 in Austrian-occupied Poland, Reiss immigrated with his family to New York in 1898. Reiss taught himself the basic techniques of fine art and, after taking a few classes at the Art Students League, launched his career as a commercial artist. He was very successful in the 1920s and designed the famous MGM lion logo for his client Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

During the 1930s, Reiss began painting more seriously and traveled throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, documenting the Jewish communities he observed. When he returned to New York, he showed these paintings and drawings in a solo show at the Midtown Gallery in 1939 and he published them in the book My Models Were Jews (1938). These works now provide important documentation of communities that were destroyed during the Holocaust. In later years, Reiss compiled more drawings of Jewish communities and published them as New Lights and Old Shadows (1954) and A World at Twilight. In addition to publishing his own books, Reiss also illustrated A Golden Treasury of Jewish Literature. When not depicting Jews in other parts of the world, Reiss painted and drew the immigrants in New York City, in a style reminiscent of the Ashcan School.

Reiss exhibited at many major museums in the United States, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design, the Society of Independent Artists, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Association of American Artists Gallery. His work is now in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Jewish Museum of New York, the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York, the Sinai Center of Chicago, the Tel-Aviv Museum in Israel, the Smithsonian Institute, the Bezalel Museum in Jerusalem, Brandeis University, Harvard University, and Columbia University. Lionel Reiss died in 1988.

 

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)

Rembrandt was born in Leiden on July 15, 1606. Despite the fact that he was the son of a miller and from a family of relatively modest means, his parents took great care with his education. Rembrandt began his studies at the Latin School, and at the age of 14 was enrolled at the University of Leiden. The program did not interest him, and he soon left to study art - first with a local master, Jacob van Swanenburch, and then, in Amsterdam, with Pieter Lastman, known for his historical paintings. After six months, having mastered everything he had been taught, Rembrandt returned to Leiden, where he was soon so highly regarded that although barely 22 years old, he took his first pupils. One of his students was the artist Gerrit Dou.

Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam in 1631; his marriage in 1634 to Saskia van Uylenburgh, the cousin of a successful art dealer, enhanced his career, bringing him in contact with wealthy patrons who eagerly commissioned portraits. In addition, Rembrandt’s mythological and religious works were much in demand, and he painted numerous dramatic masterpieces based on biblical subjects. Because of his renown as a teacher, his studio was filled with pupils, some of whom (such as Carel Fabritius) were already trained artists. In the 20th century, scholars have reattributed a number of his paintings to his associates.

In contrast to his successful public career, however, Rembrandt’s family life was marked by misfortune. Between 1635 and 1641 Saskia gave birth to four children, but only the last child, Titus, survived; her own death came in 1642 at the age of 30. Hendrickje Stoffels, engaged as his housekeeper about 1649, eventually became his common-law wife and was the model for many of his paintings. Despite Rembrandt’s financial success as an artist, teacher, and art dealer, his penchant for ostentatious living forced him to declare bankruptcy in 1656. An inventory of his collection of art and antiquities, taken before an auction to pay his debts, showed the breadth of Rembrandt’s interests: ancient sculpture, Flemish and Italian Renaissance paintings, Far Eastern art, contemporary Dutch works, weapons, and armor. Unfortunately, the results of the auction - including the sale of his house - were disappointing. These problems in no way affected Rembrandt’s work; if anything, his artistry increased. His personal life, however, continued to be marred by sorrow. Hendrickje died in 1663, and his son, Titus, died in 1668 at only 27 years of age. Eleven months later, on October 4, 1669, Rembrandt died in Amsterdam.

 

Peter Ritzer (1942- )

In his serene, idealized landscapes, the German artist Peter Ritzer combines his interests in Eastern religion and abstraction. Born in Munich in 1942, Ritzer studied art history at Munich University and painting at the Munich Academy of Art. For years he made primarily abstract paintings, and in the 1970s became interested in the Chinese religion of Taoism. From then on, he has viewed untouched nature as the source of spiritual peace and has developed a meditative practice of landscape painting.

Beginning with the blank canvas, Ritzer slowly builds up layers of paint and contemplates the surface until memories of natural scenes come to him. He develops the image by combining remembered trees and spaces into idealized scenes. The result is an atmospheric, airy image that, according to Ritzer, channels the healing power of nature. He has been painting in this way since 1976 and combines his painting practice with daily sketching. After taking a long walk each day, Ritzer makes a miniature pastel drawing based on his observations of nature. These pastel drawings help him to remember specific natural forms for use in his paintings

Ritzer has had one-man shows at the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in New York in 1990, the El-Baz Gallery in New York, the Biota Gallery in Los Angeles, the Pacific Gallery in Malibu, California, the Galerie am Doktorberg in Vienna, the Galerie Gotz in Suttgart, the Galerie Hanfstaengl in Munich, and the Galerie An St. Gross Martin in Cologne. He participated in Art Basel from 1983 to 1989, the Art Expo in New York in 1986, and in group shows at the Kunst und Antiquitatenmesse in Vienna, Interart in Salzburg, and Gallery Hunsaker + Schlesinger in Los Angeles.

 

Larry Rivers (1923-2002)

Larry Rivers was a celebrated Pop Artist, known for his experimentation with a wide variety of media and his collaborations with numerous poets, photographers, and sculptors. Born Yitzoch Loiza Grossberg in 1923, Rivers grew up in the Bronx, New York, and changed his name to Larry Rivers in 1940, when he began his career as a jazz saxophonist. After a brief service in the army, Rivers studied music at the Juilliard School of Music. Although he took his musical career seriously, Rivers began experimenting with painting in 1945 in Maine and subsequently moved to New York, where he studied with Hans Hofmann. Demonstrating a growing interest in the visual arts, Rivers enrolled in New York University and studied with William Baziotes while earning his B.A. Soon Rivers met Willem de Kooning and secured his first solo exhibition at Jane Street Gallery in 1949. The following year, he lived in Paris for eight months, and upon his return he began painting full-time.

His early paintings show the definite influence of his Abstract Expressionist teachers, but they also reveal a jazz-inspired combination of playful, whimsical marks. His career rapidly accelerated, as he began showing annually at Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York, and met other art world figures such as Jackson Pollock. Rivers experimented with plaster sculptures and, after moving to Southampton New York, he had a one-man sculpture show at the Stable Gallery in 1954. The Museum of Modern Art bought one of his pieces the same year, and he continued to try new media, collaborating with the poets Frank O’Hara and Kenneth Koch.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Rivers established a greater presence in Europe and set up a studio in Paris. He began making welded sculptures and collaborated with the kinetic artist Jean Tinguely. Simultaneously, his work became more figurative as he developed a signature combination of appropriated figurative imagery and gestural marks. His increasingly recognizable style moved beyond Abstract Expressionism and towards Pop Art; he collaged images from advertising and popular media into complex, often humorous pieces. Soon the Tate Gallery in London bought his work, and he was having solo shows in London, Paris, and Los Angeles, in addition to New York. In 1965, the first retrospective of his work traveled from the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, to the Pasadena Art Museum in California, and the Detroit Institute of the Arts.

During the late 1960s, Rivers worked on several murals, set designs and films, and began using spray paint in his artwork. In the 1970s he showed regularly at the Marlborough Gallery, ACA Galleries, and Robert Miller Gallery in New York and experimented with airbrush, acrylic paint, and video. Like many other artists of that decade, he worked extensively in video and film, collaborating with the photographer Peter Beard, and again with Kenneth Koch. By the mid-1980s, Rivers was exhibiting throughout the United States and around the world, in Venezuela, Germany, France, Italy, Tokyo, and Sweden. His exhibition “History of Matzah: The Story of the Jews” was shown at the Jewish Museum in 1984-85. He showed his work frequently up until his death in 2002 in Southampton, New York. That same year the Corcoran Gallery held a large retrospective of his work.

 

Sasha Kronburg Rodin

Very little is known about Sasha Kronburg Rodin, who may not have been a professional artist. An Austrian from Vienna, Rodin sketched this image of the Gotthold Lessing Monument in the Judenplatz, Vienna, from memory shortly after it was torn down by the Nazis in 1939. The statue commemorated Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-81), a Jewish playwright who preached tolerance, and was not returned to its place until 1982. The Judenplatz, which was central to the Viennese Jewish community, now houses the restored statue, a Holocaust memorial by Rachel Whiteread, the Museum Judenplatz, and the archeological site of a medieval synagogue.

 

Herman Rose (1909- )

Celebrated for his naturalistic cityscapes, Herman Rose is a New York-based painter. Born in Brooklyn in 1909, Rose studied at the National Academy of Design in New York from 1927 to 1929. During the 1930s, Rose worked as a WPA artist in New York and was surrounded by avant-garde artists. Although his peers later gravitated toward abstraction, Rose was drawn to naturalism and decided in 1939 that he would always paint exactly what he saw, without any concern for style. His goal was utter faithfulness to nature and he had an almost religious devotion to the beauty of the world.

Always working from observation, Rose continues to paint still lives, portraits and landscapes. He excels at New York landscapes, particularly views of Brooklyn and Manhattan rooftops. New York, with its multitude of diverse buildings, is his favorite subject and provides endless challenges for him. His paintings are not rigidly realistic because the loose, expressive brushwork captures the planes of the buildings rather than their miniscule details. Rose builds up so many layers of paint on the canvas that each wall of a building has its own solidity in low relief. Though the paintings offer a slightly idealized vision of New York, they are perfectly accurate in their representation of color and light in the urban landscape.

In the 1950s, Rose developed these paintings through stages of preparatory drawings and underpaintings. As he aged, however, he relinquished this elaborate working method and began working more directly. In 1952 he was included in the “Fifteen Americans” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, along with Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Frederick Kiesler, and William Baziotes. His representational paintings stood out dramatically in this grouping, but he held his own with his strong sense of color and composition.

Throughout the 1950s and 60s, Rose taught art in the New York area: at Brooklyn College (1949-51,1958-61) and the New School for Social Research (1954-55, 1963 through the 1970s). In 1966, he had an artist residency at the University of Virginia and in 1972 he lived and worked in Israel for a year, painting landscapes. Rose had one-man shows at the ACA Gallery, Forum Gallery, and Zabriskie Gallery in New York in addition to shows at the galleries of Bard College, the University of Virginia, and the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. He also exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. His work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Institute Print Collection, the Hirshhorn, the University of California, and the University of Texas. Rose is still living and working in New York City.

 

Reba Rottenberg (1912-2002)

A talented musician and visual artist, Reba Rottenberg was also a philanthropist who enabled the development of the Kaufman Center in New York. Born on April 15, 1912, the day the Titanic sank, Rottenberg’s mother said that she was born to make up for all of the lives lost that day, which Rottenberg took as motivation to live life to the fullest. Her father died when she was only 18 months old, but her mother gave her abundant care and encouragement. Originally from Russia, her mother had been offered a scholarship to study opera at the conservatory in St. Petersburg but her own father, a rabbi, had discouraged her. Her mother’s musical talents flowed to Rottenberg, who spent her childhood studying piano and voice. She entered Hunter College in New York and, when her mother remarried, enjoyed the companionship of her stepsister, an artist, and her stepbrother, a dancer. With her stepbrother’s encouragement, she studied dance with Jose Limon. The year after college, Rottenberg went to Palestine where she sang in the chorus of a production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Yeoman of the Guard.” She settled in Jerusalem, where she rented a piano and tried her hand at the visual arts, taking watercolor classes with Minna Citron. For the rest of her life, Rottenberg maintained dual interests in music and in the visual arts.

She married Marc Rottenberg, who adored music, in 1959, and together they became invaluable philanthropists in the New York music community. They were vital to the establishment of the Hebrew Arts School (now the Kaufman Center) in New York City, which began as a humble establishment on 16th street, where all extra spaces, including the bathrooms, were used for classrooms. Not only was her husband the first president of the school, but Rottenberg sat on its Board and the two also took classes there and hosted musicales at their home. Rottenberg and her brother Fred Isaacson contributed the initial funds to move the school to a property near Lincoln Center, and her husband convinced Abraham Goodman to build the new building. In 1989 the Hebrew Arts Chorale was named the Rottenberg Chorale, in appreciation for the family’s philanthropy.

While juggling her duties as a member of more than six committees at the Kaufman Center, Rottenberg continued to make visual art. She experimented with almost every medium, but took a special interest in painting with oil paint on porous paper. Layering thin coats of oil paint, she created images that represented metaphorically the screens and masks that separate people. She took classes in the summer at the Victor D’Amico Institute of Art in Long Island, also known as the Art Barge. Rottenberg exhibited her paintings, drawings, and sculptures in two solo art shows and had two photography shows at the Kaufman Center’s Gallery. Her work is primarily in private collections but the Kaufman Center also owns three pieces that are often on display. Rottenberg outlived her husband but stayed in their Central Park West home until she too passed away on December 26, 2002.

 

Issachar ber Ryback (1897-1935)

A Russian-Jewish modernist, Issachar ber Ryback devoted his life to preserving Jewish culture and creating a uniquely Jewish style. Born in Elizavetgrad, Ukraine in 1897, Ryback grew up during the pogroms that devastated Ukraine after the Revolution. After loosing his father to one of these attacks, Ryback became determined to document and preserve the memory of Jewish life in the rural shtetls. He attended the Kiev Art Institute between 1911 and 1916 and was an active member of the Kiev art community until 1921. Sponsored by the Jewish Historical and Ethnographical Society, he and El Lissitzky embarked on an ethnographic journey in 1916, which provided rich material for his subsequent work. He came back with sketches of synagogues, wall paintings, gravestones, and lubki (folk prints). In the resulting paintings, Ryback depicted Jewish structures with a lurching, angular style that paid little heed to conventional perspective. After 1917, Ryback worked for the Kultur Lige in Kiev and in 1919 co-authored an article with Boris Aronson on the creation of a Jewish artistic style. Along with other members of the Russian-Jewish modernist movement, such as Lissitzky, Natan Altman, and Marc Chagall, he sought to integrate new formal developments and religious folk art. To develop this new style, he experimented with a modified version of Cubism and fragmentary images of Jewish folklore.

Ryback moved to Moscow in 1919 and began teaching at the State Free Artistic Studios. Two years later, he moved to Berlin where he enjoyed critical acclaim and found like-minded artists in the Novembergruppe and the Secession. In 1923, he had his first solo show there and began to make lithographs from his memories of Jewish life in the shtetl. He branched out to illustration in 1923 and 1924, working on Yiddish children’s books and collaborating with Leib Kvitko on books of poetry. After visiting Jewish settlements in the Ukraine in 1925, Ryback designed sets for Jewish theaters in Moscow and Kharkov. In 1926 Ryback moved to Paris where Wildenstein mounted a large retrospective of his work. For the last decade of his life until his death in Paris in 1935, he made nostalgic paintings based on his childhood in the Ukraine that moved away from the avant-garde style of his earlier work. His work can be seen in the Musée Juif de Belgique, the Ryback Museum of Bat Yam in Israel, the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley, California and the Museum of Art, Ein Harod in Israel.

 

Eugene Salmin (1912- )

Equally committed to art and to politics, Eugene Salmin makes social realist drawings and paintings. Among his many subjects are portraits of garment workers, political satires, and New York cityscapes. Salmin was born in Galicia, Poland, in 1912 and began drawing caricatures as a young child. At the age of seventeen, he immigrated to New York City, where he worked a variety of jobs and joined the Communist Party. After immersing himself in political activism, he returned to art with renewed enthusiasm in the 1940s. Salmin frequented the New York museums for inspiration and studied with Philip Reisman, a Polish-born American painter who was a mentor for young, politically active artists.

During the 1950s and 60s, Salmin worked in the garment trade to support his family. The anonymous lifestyle of the garment worker was a useful cover for Salmin, who was still an active Communist during the McCarthy era. Because garment work was so piecemeal, he would sketch other garment workers during the pauses between work and during lunch breaks. He made hundreds of such drawings, which also inspired oil paintings and watercolors. His paintings are stylized, colorful reconstructions of remembered scenes. Salmin infused social realism with elements of modernism, often combining naturalistic and abstract forms in the same work. In addition to his garment-worker paintings, Salmin created Daumier-style political caricatures of McCarthy and his cohorts. At the age of 62, Salmin retired from the garment trade and became a full-time artist. He moved to California at the age of 87, and continues to paint to this day.

 

Laurence Salzmann

Laurence Salzmann is a contemporary photographer and filmmaker who travels the world to record disappearing and overlooked communities. Salzmann was born and raised in Philadelphia, where he currently resides. As a child, he was cared for by a black woman named Zenora Carter, whose presence made him acutely aware of racial inequalities. Since his youth, he has been interested in the interactions between cultural groups and the experiences of ethnic minorities. Salzmann studied anthropology and languages at Temple University, where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. He taught himself photography and filmmaking and combined these skills with his anthropological background to document ethnic communities.

Occasionally collaborating with his wife Ayse Gürsan-Salzmann, a Turkish-born anthropologist, Salzmann has completed many projects since the late 1960s. Each time he studies a particular community he publishes a book of photographs and sometimes releases a film. In Neighbors on the Block - Life in Single Room Occupancy Hotels, Salzmann photographed the poverty-stricken residents of single room occupancy hotels in New York for the New York State Council on the Arts. For Face to Face: Encounters between Jews and Blacks, Salzmann used photographs and interviews to investigate the growing hostility between the two formally allied ethnic groups. After winning a Fulbright-Hays Grant to study the last remaining Jews in Radauti, Romania he published The Last Jews of Radauti and made a film titled Song of Radauti. Among Salzmann’s other projects are Anyos Munchos y Bueno, photographs of Jewish life in Turkey, Imagining Cutumba, images of a Cuban dance company, and La Baie/Bath Scenes, a photographic portfolio of a bath in Romania.

Salzmann has made dozens of films, including Willy’s Blessing, Imagining Cutumba, Song of Radauti, Turkey’s Sephardim: 500 Years and Who’s Havin’ Fun? His photographs have also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, GEO Magazine, and the Sabah Newspaper. Thus far, Salzmann has had over fifty exhibitions of his work in Berlin, Tel Aviv, Paris, Amsterdam, Budapest, Vienna, and New York. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the International Center for Photography in New York, the Beth Hatefutsoth Museum in Tel Aviv, the Jewish Museum in New York, the Corcoran Gallery, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

 

Karl Schrag (1912-1995)

In bold, loose brushstrokes, the German-born artist Karl Schrag captured the vibrant colors of American landscapes. Schrag was born in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1912, the son of a successful lawyer. During his adolescence, his family moved to Zurich, Switzerland and he decided to become an artist. After studying at the École des Beaux Arts in Geneva in 1931, he enrolled in the École Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1932. From 1932 to 1935 he also took classes at L’Académie de la Grande Chaumière and studied with Roger Bissière. Schrag immigrated to New York in 1938 and completed his education at the Art Students League. He remained in New York for the rest of his life and achieved modest fame there as a painter and printmaker. With his expressive, colorful style, he followed the examples of Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, and Ernst Kirchner. In painting nature, Schrag caught the essence of trees, clouds, and water with a few dynamic marks. His colors generated memorable compositions but rarely represent the actual hues of objects. Of his many landscapes, those from Deer Isle in Maine, where he spent his summers, are the best known. Schrag also made self-portraits, which he considered landscapes of his own face. He used the same bold, loose approach when dealing with both subjects.

Schrag had his first solo show at the Kraushaar Gallery in New York in 1947, and exhibited there for the rest of his life. At Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17 in the 1940s, Schrag learned a variety of printmaking techniques and worked with Jackson Pollock and Juan Miró. In 1950 Schrag was appointed director of the Atelier and began teaching regularly. From 1953 to 1954, he taught printmaking at Brooklyn College, and from 1954 to 1968 he taught at Cooper Union. In 1960 he had his first retrospective exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and subsequently had many more, with the most recent at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine in 1992. His work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Carnegie Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Library of Congress, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the British Museum, and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The artist died in New York in 1995.

 

Ben Shahn (1898-1969)

An activist, painter, photographer and intellectual, Ben Shahn was one of the most beloved social realists in America. Shahn was born into a traditional Orthodox family in Kovno, Lithuania in 1898. His father, who was a woodcarver, carpenter, and active Socialist, was exiled to Siberia when Shahn was only four years old. The family subsequently moved to Vilkomir, where Shahn grew close to his paternal grandfather, and later to New York City, when Shahn’s father arrived there from Siberia. The religious and political inclinations of Shahn’s family shaped his path in life, although he was more active in politics than in religion.

In 1913, Shahn left school to work during the day as an apprentice in a lithography shop and attended high school classes at night. He studied at the Art Students League (1916-17) and attended New York University and the City College of New York (1919-1921). Shahn abandoned the idea of earning an academic degree in 1921, although he read avidly throughout his life, and he studied briefly at the National Academy of Design, which he found too traditional. Shahn’s desire to tell stories in his art found little support at the Academy.

He married his first wife and traveled with her to North Africa and Europe in 1925, spending four months in Paris. The couple returned to their home in Brooklyn Heights and Shahn exhibited for the first time at the Jewish Art Center in New York in 1926. Despite the increasing appreciation of his work, Shahn was dissatisfied with his paintings, which he found derivative, and turned down an offer for a one-man show. Shaken by the death of his brother, Shahn took off traveling again, this time to the island of Djerba and to Paris.

After exhibiting three works at the Museum of Modern Art, Shahn had his first one-man show at the Downtown Gallery in 1930, where he exhibited for most of his life. The following year was incredibly productive for him: he developed his distinctive approach to social realism in his illustrations of the Haggadah, his paintings of the Dreyfus Affair and his famous series on the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti. This work brought him commercial success, enabling him to move to Manhattan and share a studio with Walker Evans, who encouraged him to take photographs of New York City. In the 1930s Shahn worked on many murals, assisted Diego Rivera on his mural at Rockefeller Center, and took photographs for the Resettlement Administration and the Farm Security Administration. He recruited the painter Bernarda Bryson to work with him for the Resettlement Administration and she later became his wife.

In the 1940s he had a renewed energy for easel painting and stopped taking photographs, although he continued to work on major mural commissions. He exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery and the Whitney Museum of American Art and had a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1947. Shahn began to do commercial illustrations for Time, Esquire, Harper’s, and Scientific American, which, in combination with his many exhibitions, made him an art ‘celebrity’ by the 1950s. He represented the United States in the Venice Biennale of 1954 alongside Willem de Kooning. Shahn was politically active throughout his life, often working on campaigns for liberal politicians, and was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1959. He taught intermittently at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School, the Brooklyn Museum of Art School, and Black Mountain College and even taught poetry at Harvard University. Shahn died in 1969 in New York City.

 

Bernarda Bryson Shahn (1903-2004)

Bernarda Bryson Shahn was an artist and activist who gained recognition toward the end of her life. Born in Athens, Ohio in 1903, Bryson Shahn was the daughter of a Latin professor and the editor of the Athens Morning Journal. She started painting at a young age and studied philosophy, art, and aesthetics at Ohio University. While she lived in Columbus, Ohio, she taught etching and lithography classes at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts School and worked as a reporter for The Ohio State Journal. She traveled to New York for the first time in 1933 on an assignment for the Journal and interviewed Diego Rivera about his murals commission for Rockefeller Center. There she met his assistant Ben Shahn, who later became her husband.

In 1934, she moved to New York and helped establish the Unemployed Artists Association, which later became the Artists’ Union. She made lithographs and taught lithography for the Public Works of Art Project and, when she married Shahn and moved to Washington, DC, she participated in the Resettlement Administration. Bryson Shahn was hired by the Special Skills Division of the Resettlement Administration to set up a lithographic printing shop, for the purpose of preserving the cultural heritage of rural farmers and depicting their plight. Her project, The Vanishing American Frontier, was interrupted by the arrival of her first child, and never completed, but it has now been compiled into a book with the same name. In the prints and drawings of this portfolio, her style is indebted to social realism, but has a unique documentary precision. Her images depict specific, individual lives and do not generalize anyone’s experience. Sometimes the faces she draws have almost photographic realism and the compositions have the same spontaneous, cut- off quality of snapshots. At other times the prints are more expressionistic and epic. Bryson Shahn also collaborated with her husband on many murals, including a fresco mural at the public school in Roosevelt, New Jersey and the Bronx Central Post Office in New York. Like her husband, she did illustrations for Harper’s, Fortune, and Scientific American in the 1940s. She wrote and illustrated The Twenty Miracles of Saint Nicolas (1960), The Zoo of Zeus (1964), and Gilgamesh: Man’s First Story (1967).

After her husband died in 1969, she authored a large monograph on his work, published by Abrams in 1972. Beginning in the 1970s, she was able to spend an unprecedented amount of time in her studio in Roosevelt, New Jersey, and began exhibiting nationally. Her medium of choice was oil painting and she had her first one-person show of paintings at the Midtown Gallery in 1983, followed by one-woman shows at the Ben Shahn Galleries of William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey and at the Susan Teller Gallery in Lower Manhattan in honor of her 100th birthday. The New Jersey public television channel produced a documentary on her career and in 1991 she was profiled on CBS’s “Sunday Morning.” Her work can now be found in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and other major art institutions. Bernarda Bryson Shahn died in 2004 in her home in Roosevelt, New Jersey.

 

William Sharp (1900-1961)

William Sharp, the celebrated cartoonist, courtroom artist, and illustrator, began his career in Germany before moving to New York in the 1930s. Sharp was born Leon Schleifter in Lemberg, Austria in 1900, and studied art in Krakow, Poland in 1917, designing stained glass windows and painting murals. In 1918, the year that the November Revolution swept Russia and the anti-war artwork of George Grosz, Hannah Hoch, and Tristan Tzara led the Berlin avant-garde, Sharp went to Berlin to finish his education. He briefly served in the German army but soon returned to the vibrant Berlin of the ‘Golden Twenties,’ which included Bertolt Brecht, Fritz Lang, and Arnold Schonberg.

After working as a book illustrator, painter, etcher, and lithographer, Sharp began drawing illustrations and courtroom sketches for newspapers in 1923, working for Berliner Tageblatt and Volk und Zeit. He entered the field of journalism just as the Nazis and Communists were fighting for political control. Often publishing under a pseudonym, Sharp drew satirical cartoons of the National Socialist Party as it rose to power. As the German economy plummeted in the late 1920s and he received threats from Joseph Goebbels, Sharp left for New York along with many other emigrés. He and his wife settled in Forest Hills, Queens in 1934, where they stayed for the rest of their lives, at which point Schleifter changed his name to William Sharp.

In New York, he worked as a courtroom illustrator, a political cartoonist, and a book illustrator. His first job in the courtroom was the trial of Bruno Hauptmann, who was convicted of killing the aviator Charles Lindbergh’s baby. Subsequently, he covered the trial of Alger Hiss, an American accused of being a Soviet spy. He produced drawings of New York street life and current events, such as the Cold War and racial injustice, for Life, PM, Esquire, the New York Post, and The New York Times Magazine. His illustrations demonstrated a unique combination of quick characterization and deep compassion; Sharp’s concern for the poor and oppressed aligned him more with Daumier than with other satirists. At the same time, Sharp always wanted to make people laugh and he injected even the most serious subjects with his biting humor.

In addition to his work for periodicals, Sharp also illustrated books by Thomas Mann, Charles Dickens, and Ernest Hemingway, along with children’s books and Random House’s Illustrated Modern Library series. Later in his life, Sharp took up etching and mastered the aquatint technique, using this medium to depict the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. When Sharp died in 1961, he was working on a series of prints of the story of Don Quixote. During his lifetime, Sharp exhibited his work at the A.C.A Galleries, Knoedler Gallery, Mary Ryan Gallery, and Associated American Artists. The Queens Museum of Art mounted an extensive posthumous retrospective of his work in 2002, titled “The Pointed Pen.” The Library of Congress, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Carnegie Institute, the New York Public Library, and the Yale University Library have all collected Sharp’s work.

 

Joseph Solman (1909- )

Joseph Solman is a contemporary New York-based painter who first became famous as a member of “The Ten.” Born in 1909 in Vitebsk, Russia, Solman came to America when he was three years old and spent his childhood in Jamaica, Queens. From 1926 to 1929, He attended the National Academy of Design (1926-1929) and the Art Students League (1929-30). Commuting between Queens and Manhattan gave Solman many hours to sketch and he often says that he learned more by drawing people on the subway than he did from his formal art education. The 1929 inaugural show at the Museum of Modern Art, featuring the work of Gauguin, Cezanne, van Gogh, and Seurat, had a profound effect on his development.

During the 1930s, Solman began making expressionistic paintings, which were unusual at the time. His admiration for European modernism, which he shared with a few close peers, alienated him from other artists. While working for the WPA, Solman was a co-editor of Art Front with art critics Meyer Schapiro and Harold Rosenberg and in 1935 he helped found “Ten: An Independent Group.” “The Ten” were an important force in the 1930s art world, organizing resistance to the Whitney Museum of American Art, then the symbol of the establishment, by mounting shows such as “The Ten: Whitney Dissenters” in 1938. Solman’s allies were Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Berenice Abbott, Aaron Siskind, and Meyer Schapiro. After “The Ten”’s final exhibition in 1939, Rothko and several others moved on to abstraction but Solman remained loyal to representation. He made brightly colored expressionist portraits, street scenes, and still lifes.

Solman received public recognition beginning in 1939, when he exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago and the World’s Fair in New York. In the 1940s, he showed at the Bonestall Gallery in NY, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annuals, and the Corcoran Gallery Biennials. Solman had a retrospective at the Phillips Collection in 1949 and showed at the Whitney Museum of American Art, his old enemy, from 1950 to 1955. Solman exhibited with Milton Avery, Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, and Ben-Zion around this time and taught private art lessons. Beginning in the 1960s, Solman taught at the Museum of Modern Art and the New School for Social Research and after 1967 he was on the faculty of the City University of New York. When teaching could not pay all the bills he also worked as a pari-mutuel clerk at New York racetracks.

Solman and his family visited Cape Ann, Massachusetts regularly in the 1950s and the artist made work inspired by the beach town. In the 1960s the family bought a house in nearby Gloucester, where Solman began to create monotypes by painting on glass and then rubbing Japanese rice paper onto it. He continues to make monotypes in Gloucester to this day, and continues to oil paint in his New York studio above the Second Avenue Deli. Recently, Solman has been painting the skyscrapers he observes on his regular walks around the city. Solman has had retrospectives at the A.C.A. Galleries, the Wichita Art Museum, the Robert Brown Gallery in Washington, DC, the Judi Rotenberg Gallery in Boston, and the Mercury Gallery in Boston. His work is in the permanent collections of the British Museum, the Phillips Collection, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Fogg Museum, the Butler Institute of American Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

 

Moses Soyer (1899-1974)

A member of the intensely creative Soyer family, Moses Soyer was one of the great humanist artists of the twentieth century. Moses and his twin brother Raphael were born in Borisglebsk, South Russia in 1899. Their father, Abraham Soyer, was a teacher, writer, and amateur artist who actively encouraged creativity in his six children. Despite the poverty of Borisglebsk and the hostility of the secret police, Abraham instructed Moses, Raphael, and their younger brother Isaac in freethinking, literature, and drawing. In 1910, Abraham took the children to Moscow, where they saw Russian paintings for the first time at the Tretyakov Galleries. When Abraham aroused the suspicion of the Russian government in 1912, the family was forced to immigrate to Philadelphia. The family moved again to New York City when the Soyer twins were beginning high school but they soon left school to help support the family.

The brothers, knowing their destinies lay in art, decided to attend art school in the evening and work during the day. At first they studied together, but later went their own ways. From 1916 to 1920, Moses studied at Cooper Union, the National Academy of Design with George Maynard, the Ferrer Art School with Robert Henri and George Bellows, and the Educational Alliance . Robert Henri was an important mentor for the young artist and introduced him to Daumier’s paintings. When Moses was 21 or 22, he set up a studio opposite the Educational Alliance, where he was teaching. He soon married one of his students, Ida Chassner, and took her to Western Europe after winning a travel fellowship. From 1927 to 1934, Moses taught at the Educational Alliance School of Art, the Contemporary Art School, and the New School for Social Research. He had his first solo show at J.B. Neumann’s Gallery in 1929 and in the 1930s was in charge of a mural project for the WPA on the theme of childhood. By the 1930s he had developed his mature style, a combination of expressionism, social realism, and academic drawing. He primarily made work depicting the human figure, stating, “I believe that the human being is the noblest creation on earth and that the theme of man – man at work, man in his landscape, man at play – is therefore the noblest of theme in art.” He cited Rembrandt as the artist who influenced him the most, along with Courbet, Corot, Daumier, and Degas. Like Corot, Moses wanted to make modest, intimate paintings that talked to the viewer. In his social realist work, Moses was indebted to George Grosz, whom he greatly admired.

During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Moses had one-man exhibitions at the Kleeman Galleries in New York, the Boyer Gallery in Philadelphia, the Little Gallery in Washington DC, the Macbeth Galleries in New York, and the ACA Galleries in New York, which continued to show his work for the rest of his life. Moses remained in New York, working in a studio in Greenwich Village. In the 1960s he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Design and the National Institute of Arts and Letters and authored Painting the Human Figure (1964). In the 1970s Moses was given retrospectives at the Albrecht Gallery Museum of Art in St. Joseph, Missouri, the Loch Haven Center in Orlando, Florida, and St. Lawrence University’s Griffith Art Center in Canton, New York. His works are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Academy of Design, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Jewish Museum of New York, the Library of Congress, and the Walker Art Center, among others. Moses Soyer died in 1974.

 

Raphael Soyer (1899-1987)

Like his twin brother Moses, Raphael Soyer’s development as an artist was shaped by his creative childhood. Raphael was born in Borisglebsk, South Russia in 1899 and his primary art teacher was his father, who took Raphael and his brothers on drawing outings and posed for portraits. Reproductions of famous paintings by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Raphael hung in the family’s home and the novels of Dostoevsky and Chekhov filled their bookshelves. In this creative haven, Raphael spent his childhood perfecting the skills of representation. From an early age he believed that capturing the details of life through drawing was fundamental to art.

When the Russian government forced the family to leave in 1912, they moved first to Philadelphia and later to New York City. In the Bronx home where the Soyer brothers spent their adolescence, they had a large room that they shared as a studio. Raphael left high school to help support the family and took evening classes at Cooper Union beginning in 1914. Though he lacked previous formal training, he felt as capable as his peers because of the hours he had spent training himself. Raphael studied at the National Academy of Design until 1922, and studied briefly with Guy Pène du Bois at the Art Students League.

Even though he was exhibiting at the Society of Independent Artists and the Whitney Museum of American Art, Raphael could barely afford a studio and certainly not models, so he drew the people he observed in the street. He had his first one-man show in 1929 at the Daniel Gallery, at a time when he was working in a “primitive” style and had intentionally abandoned his academic training to draw in the most direct, naive way. Ignoring the convention of perspective, he made flat, pattern-like compositions of street scenes. Though this work was well received, he eventually abandoned the “primitive” style because he found it too restrictive. During the Depression he turned his eye on the poor and the downtrodden that he observed around Union Square in Manhattan. Raphael made many lithographs of these figures, and his Depression scenes brought him wide recognition.

After this commercial success, he could afford to hire models and made oil paintings primarily of female models for the rest of his life. He also made group portraits of his father and brothers, and of his artist friends. Like his brother, he preferred understatement to drama, modeling his work on the examples of Eakins, Corot, Degas, Rembrandt, and Pascin. Pascin was more of an influence on Raphael than Moses and Pascin’s nervous, sensuous lines are an identifying characteristic of Raphael’s work. Beginning in the 1930s, Raphael exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago Annuals and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annuals. He also participated in shows at the Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Phillips Collection, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Academy of Design, the ACA Galleries, and the Akademie der Kunst in Berlin. The Philadelphia Art Alliance had a large exhibition of his work in 1949. His work is in the permanent collections of the Addison Gallery of American Art at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, the Fogg Art Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Raphael Soyer died in 1987.

 

Saul Steinberg (1914-1999)

Saul Steinberg’s most recognizable images are the drawings he did for The New Yorker, but his oeuvre encompasses many more drawings, books, and sculptures. Steinberg was born in Romania in 1914, the son of a printer and bookbinder, and he spent most of his childhood in Bucharest. He was close to his sister, who later changed her name to Lica Roman and became a painter. Steinberg suffered a severe education at the university in Bucharest, where he studied philosophy and letters, but he subsequently enrolled in the architecture program at the Politecnico in Milan. In Milan, he drew from life for the first time and, on his way home from school one summer, traveled through Genoa, Naples, Catania, the Greek islands, and Istanbul.

During the late 1930s, he started publishing cartoons in Bertoldo, a Milanese humor magazine that skirted the censorship of the Fascist government. In 1940, he graduated from architecture school, with no intention of becoming an architect, and moved to New York, where his drawings were published in Life, Harper’s, The New Yorker, and the newspaper PM. Steinberg loved to travel across the United States by bus, observing the local characters and the varied landscapes. He became an American citizen soon after and enlisted in the Navy. After being sent to Ceylon, Calcutta, China, and Europe, he was stationed in Washington, DC, where he married Hedda Sterne in 1944. A year later he published a book of wartime drawings All in Line and, after being released from the Navy, covered the Nuremberg trials for The New Yorker.

Steinberg returned to New York, where he remained for the rest of his life, though he continued to travel around the United States and abroad. He worked in a loft studio on Union Square West with a view of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, five floors above Andy Warhol’s Factory. He obsessively recorded the details of New York life in sketchbooks, with whole books devoted to taxis, policeman, and skyscrapers. He worked both from his imagination and from snapshots he took of the city. His drawings have fragments of many different styles, including Cubism, Realism, and Surrealism, but they are unified by his unmistakable, whimsical approach.

Steinberg did 85 covers and 842 drawings for The New Yorker during his lifetime, while also experimenting with other media. In 1949 he began making drawings on boxes and chairs, moving to collages in the 1960s and table-like assemblages in the 1970s. He published many books, including All in Line (1945), The Art of Living (1949), The Passport (1954), The Labyrinth (1960), The New World (1965), The Inspector (1973), and The Discovery of America (1993). He also did illustrations for Vogue, Fortune, and Town & Country. Steinberg exhibited his work at the Museum of Modern Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Art Insitute of Chicago, the Sidney Janis Gallery, the Galerie Maeght in Paris, the Kunstmuseum in Basil, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Museo de Arte in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He had a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1978. Steinberg’s work has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. He died in 1999.

 

Jakob Steinhardt (1887-1968)

Jakob Steinhardt was a German-Jewish Expressionist painter and graphic artist who spent the second half of his life in Palestine, later Israel. Born in 1887 in the city of Zerkow in the Prussian Province of Posen, Steinhardt studied art at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin from 1906 to 1907, where his painting instructor was Lovis Corinth and his etching teacher was Hermann Struck. Beginning in 1907, Steinhardt spent three years in Paris, where he studied with Jean-Paul Laurens, Theophile- Alexandre Steinlen, and Matisse. During his years in Paris he was fortunate to meet many of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masters. Between 1910 and 1912, he traveled between Berlin and Italy, but then settled in Berlin where he founded the Expressionist group Die Pathetiker (The Suffering Ones) with Ludwig Meidner and Richard Janther. The group, which used the graphic arts to probe dramatic, emotional content, exhibited at the Sturm Galerie in 1912. Steinhardt served in the German Army during the First World War, which interrupted the momentum of his career. When he returned to his art, he made woodcuts of Jewish themes and continued to do so for the rest of his life. After Steinhardt was briefly arrested by the Nazis, he fled Germany with his wife and daughter in 1933 and settled in Palestine, which was then under British control.

Steinhardt stayed in Israel for the rest of his life, making work about the Jewish experience. His graphic works are remarkable for their dramatic contrast, churning compositions, and Munch-like figures. Having participated in some of the great modernist movements, Steinhardt became an important teacher and mentor for Israeli students. While living in Israel, he continued to exhibit his work at many Israeli institutions and internationally at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Smithsonian Institution, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Sao Paulo Biennale in Brazil, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The Jewish Museum in Berlin has amassed the largest Steinhardt collection in the world, including graphic works, paintings, illustrated books, and unpublished documents and recently held a large posthumous retrospective of the artist’s work.

 

Hermann Struck (1876-1944)

A painter, etcher, and writer devoted to Jewish subjects, Hermann Struck was also an important etching teacher for a generation of American artists. Struck, whose Jewish name was Chaim Aharon ben David, was born in 1876 to an Orthodox family in Berlin. He attended the Berlin Academy under Max Koner and learned etching from Hans Meyer. After joining the Zionist movement at an early age, he traveled to Palestine in 1903 and, while stopping in Vienna, met the Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, which generated the now-famous portrait of Herzl. Struck’s works from this time were usually done in pure etching and signed with his Hebrew name.

While serving in the Germany Army during the First World War, Struck encountered Eastern European Jews for the first time and was captivated by their culture. He made portraits of the Jews he met and of German officers, as well as landscapes of the small towns. In 1923, Struck moved to Haifa, in Palestine, where he made prints of Jews and Arabs. His favorite technique was copper etching mixed with vernis mou and aquatint, but he also worked in lithography. Struck’s lithographic works are looser and more expressive than his etchings. His mastery of printing was widely acknowledged and he taught graphic techniques to Marc Chagall, Max Lieberman, Lessser Ury, Joseph Budko, and Lovis Corinth. He published his knowledge of printing techniques in the classic text The Art of Etching.

Struck continued making work about Jewish themes throughout his life, and remained active in the Orthodox Jewish community. As one of the leaders of the Mizrachi Party, he also participated in several Zionist Congresses. More than his depictions of Jewish life, however, his portraits of cultural leaders brought him fame. He was a skilled portraitist and his sitters included Ibsen, Nietzsche, Freud, and Einstein. The artist died in 1944 but his work can be seen in the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania, the Reuben and Edith Hecht Museum, the University of Haifa, the Jewish Museum of New York, and the Tel Aviv Museum.

 

Beth Ames Swartz (1936- )

Originally from New York, Beth Ames Swartz is a contemporary artist who creates paintings, collages, and installations informed by her spirituality. Born Beth Ellen Ames in 1936, Swartz was raised in New York City, where she took lessons in drawing, painting, dancing, singing, and piano from an early age. In 1946, at the age of ten, she began making watercolors, and two years later she began taking weekly figure-painting classes at the Art Students League. In 1949, she was accepted to the High School of Music and Art in New York and five years later, she enrolled in the College of Home Economics at Cornell University, where she learned about art therapy from her mentor Frances Wilson Schwartz and decided to become an art teacher. After graduating, she visited England, France, Italy, Denmark, and Switzerland before returning to New York.

Her first job out of college was to teach poetry and art at a junior high school in the Bronx. While teaching, she took night classes in art education at New York University and made semi-abstract oil paintings. In 1959, the year she earned her M.A. in art education from NYU, she began using watercolor exclusively. She married Melvin Swartz and moved with him to Phoenix, Arizona, where she taught at several schools and made paintings of remembered cityscapes. In 1963 Swartz formed an art cooperative with local artists and stopped teaching full-time to devote more time to painting. She continued teaching part-time at Arizona State University and served as a consultant to Head Start and Volunteers Service to America. In 1968, she began working with acrylic on paper to create abstract images. Beginning in 1970, she added collage to her repertoire and delved deeper into the spiritual nature of her work, investigating the idea of synchronicity. Her work became brightly colored, mystical, and iconic.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Swartz began making work about the myths and religious rituals that shape different cultures. In the late 1970s she became interested in meditation, Zen Buddhism, and Kabbalah and in 1983 she studied Shamanistic healing. She was constantly experimenting with new art forms, pushing against conventions, and began to perform Shamanistic rituals as part of her work. In between trips to Israel in the late 1970s, Swartz created her “Inquiry Into Fire” series, which was exhibited at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts and earned her a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. To create a female support network, in a time when feminism was gaining momentum, Swartz founded The Circle, a collective of women artists who worked and exhibited together. By the early 1980s, Swartz was a major figure in the Arizona art community and in Mexico, where she periodically studied at the Instituto de Allende in San Miguel de Allende. The Jewish Museum in New York mounted a solo show of her work in 1981, “Israel Revisited,” which traveled to the Skirball Museum in Los Angeles, and the Judah Magnes Museum in Berkeley, among others. After divorcing her husband in 1984, she began spending more time in New York and eventually moved back there in 1992. In 1999, she married John D. Rothschild in Los Angeles and the next year traveled to New York, Paris, Malta, Greece, and Turkey. She continues to make art and has a strong presence in the art communities of Arizona and of the Northeast. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the National Museum of American Art, the Phoenix Art Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and the University of Arizona Museum of Art in Tucson, Arizona.

 

Morris Topchevsky (1899-1947)

Morris Topchevsky was a Polish-born muralist, painter, and printmaker who spent most of his life in Chicago. Topchevsky was born in 1899 in Bialystok, Poland, where four of his siblings were killed when pogroms ravaged the area in 1905. His father moved to the United States in 1910 and the rest of the family followed later, settling in Chicago. Topchevsky received his first art instruction at the Hull House in Chicago, a center for social reform and a training ground for many WPA artists. There, he studied with Enella Benedict before taking classes at the Art Institute of Chicago with Albert Krenbeil. While studying art, Topchevsky worked as a billboard designer and painter, but the toxic paint made him ill and he sought a warmer climate for his recuperation. He spent the years between 1924 and 1926 in Mexico, where he recovered from his illness and found his inspiration in the ancient Mexican sculptures and the murals of Diego Rivera and Jose Orozco. Topchevsky traveled throughout Mexico in 1925 with Jane Addams, whom he knew through the Hull House, to visit poor neighborhoods. He also took art classes while in Mexico at the San Carlos Academy.

When he returned to Chicago, he applied the lessons he had learned from Mexican art to his own work. Working as a WPA artist, he painted murals charged with the agony of the poor and ideals of social reform. He depicted the industrial landscape of Chicago and the masses of unemployed. Topchevsky was one of the most politically radical WPA artists, and he believed that the purpose of his art was to help liberate the working masses of the world. In the 1930s he completed the mural “North American Children Working” at the Holmes School in Oak Park, Illinois and “Century of Progress,” which mocked the extravagance of the Chicago World’s Fair. He also completed murals at the Abraham Lincoln Center in Chicago, where he was the art director. In 1937 Topchevsky authored the book American Today. He exhibited in the Art Institute of Chicago Annuals from 1923 to 1946 and at the National Academy of Design in 1942. Topchevsky died in 1947.

 

Lesser Ury (1861-1931)

Lesser Ury, a German Impressionist painter, was an important member of the Berlin and Munich art communities at the turn of the century. Born in Birnbaum, Germany in 1861, Leo Lesser Ury was the youngest son of a baker. The family moved to Berlin in 1872 after Ury’s father died, and six years later the artist quit school to begin an apprenticeship. In 1879 he ended his apprenticeship and enrolled in the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, but did not stay long. Over the next seven years, he traveled throughout Europe and studied briefly at academies and with established artists. After visiting Brussels and Antwerp in 1880, he lived in Paris for a few months and began painting city scenes, interiors, and still lifes. Ury studied at L’Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 1882 with Jean-Francois Portaels, and the following year he returned to Paris to study with Jules Joseph Lefebvre. After being denied admission to the Akademie in Berlin in 1885, Ury studied in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe and in 1886 at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich. When Ury finished his schooling in 1887 he returned to Berlin and became friends with Max Liebermann. From his varied experiences across Europe, Ury picked up Impressionist techniques; his paintings from this time are mostly colorful, brushy landscapes full of light.

Ury’s career accelerated in 1889 when he had a show at Fritz Gurlitt’s gallery and won the Michael Beer Preis, which enabled him to travel to Rome and Capri. In 1893 he showed 67 paintings at Gurlitt’s and moved to Munich, where he joined the Munich Secession and met Hermann Struck. After eight years in Munich, supporting himself by working for the journal Das Narrenschiff, Ury returned to Berlin and met Meta Streiter, his model and muse. Between 1914 and 1915, Ury began experimenting with printmaking and exhibited at the Berlin Secession, with the encouragement of Lovis Corinth. Ury’s mature style combines Impressionist brushwork with Romantic moodiness to create dramatic compositions. By 1916, Ury was recognized in Germany as a significant artist; Paul Cassirer mounted a retrospective with 80 of his works in 1916, Gurlitt published a portfolio of his art in 1920 titled Biblische Gestalten, and Ury became an honorary member of the Berlin Secession in 1921. On the occasion of his 60th birthday, the Berlin Secession held an exhibition with 150 of his paintings. Beginning in the late 1920s, Ury’s energy waned and he made very little work. In 1931, the year he died, he made some paintings from his window and a self-portrait. The following year, the National Gallery in Breslau held a retrospective of his work and Cassirer auctioned off his estate.

 

Rafael Wachash (1941- )

A contemporary Israeli artist, Rafael Wachash makes delicate oil paintings and collages. Born in Aden, Yemen in 1941, Wachash came to Israel when he was only one year old. He studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design from 1958 to 1961 and earned an advanced degree at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design in London. After leaving London, he began making colorful, layered paintings and collages of figures. Some of the figures are delineated with a few spare lines, as in a Picasso sketch, and they float against colorful washes. In other paintings, strong lines and shading lend the figures more weight, or the figures dance against collages of advertising imagery. Although Wachash’s work is diverse, it always offers an unusual combination of whimsy and iconic imagery.

 

Agnes Weinrich (1873-1946)

An abstract painter, etcher, and block printer, Agnes Weinrich was also an active participant in the modern art communities of New York and Provincetown. Weinrich was born into a wealthy Iowa farming family in 1873. Her family’s stature allowed her to study art all over the world and connect to important figures in New York. From 1900 to 1903, she studied in Berlin and later traveled to Paris to study with Albert Gleizes and Andre Lhote. Weinrich also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Students League, and with Charles Hawthorne and Blanche Lazzell in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She worked either in New York or in Provincetown for the rest of her career, preferring the mediums of oil painting and woodblock printing. Although she began her career making figurative art, Weinrich was creating exclusively abstract work by the 1930s. Her experiences in Paris had a lasting impression on her and she modeled her art after the Cubism she observed there.

Weinrich was closely connected to influential artists and philanthropists in New York and in Provincetown. She organized the New York Society of Women Artists and was a close friend of Peggy Guggenheim. Weinrich also led a group of artists in Provincetown who were experimenting with Cubism. When her sister Helen married the artist Karl Knaths in 1922, Weinrich took an active role in advancing his career and introducing him to the New York art scene. Weinrich, her sister, and Knaths remained close and lived together for the rest of Weinrich’s life. She exhibited her work at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Phillips Collection, the Brown- Robinson Gallery, New York, the Harley Perkins Gallery in Boston, the Society of Independent Artists, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annual, and the Corcoran Gallery Biennial. The artist died in 1946 in Provincetown, and her work can be found in the permanent collection of the Phillips Collection.

Shraga Weil (1918- )

Originally from Czechoslovakia, Shraga Weil has spent most of his life in Israel, where he makes vibrant, symbolic artworks. In 1918, Weil was born in Nitra, Czechoslovakia to a multi-talented family. Although employed as a structural engineer, his father was an amateur painter who supported Weil’s studies with a local sculptor and at the Prague School of Art between 1937 and 1939. Weil began making his first prints during the Second World War, part of which he was imprisoned. In 1947 he traveled to Israel on an illegal immigrant ship and joined the Kibbutz Haogen, where he still lives. Six years later, Weil traveled to Paris to study murals and printmaking at L’Académie des Beaux Arts, and to Ravenna to study mosaics with Gino Severini. After this European trip, Weil supported himself as a graphic artist and a book illustrator.

During the last forty years, Weil has gained wide recognition and completed several large commissions. In 1959, he received Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Art Prize and subsequently exhibited throughout the United States, South America, Canada, Australia, France, the USSR, and Switzerland. His commissioned works include the Main Gate of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) and ceiling panels for the Israeli Lounge at the Kennedy Center. The ceiling panels, like much of Weil’s work, draw on imagery from the Old Testament. Although Weil has made reference to his atheistic philosophy, he consistently returns to religious figures and themes in his work, especially when depicting the struggles of Israel. He uses simple, almost geometric, figures to symbolically narrate stories. One of his most popular works is an illustrated version of the Dead Sea Scrolls from 1966, which includes 16 watercolors and many line drawings.

 

Hedwig Weiss (1860-1923)

Although little is known about Hedwig Weiss, it is certain that she was a friend of Käthe Kollwitz, the famous German artist. The best-known pieces by Weiss are portraits of Kollwitz, such as the one in the Balka Collection, that echo her friend’s celebrated style. Kollwitz, who lived from 1867 to 1945, devoted her life to depicting the suffering of the poor and the imminent threat of death. A socialist and a pacifist, she made politically charged drawings, etchings, lithographs, and sculptures. The dark, heavy lines of her graphic work are instantly recognizable, as are the gaunt, expressive bodies of her subjects. She made hundreds of self-portraits throughout her life, always unflattering and full of sadness. Weiss’s use of heavy, expressive lines, and her representation of Kollwitz’s features lead the viewer to think, at first, that this is one of the Kollwitz self-portraits. Kollwitz liked this particular portrait so much that she signed her name next to Weiss’s, resulting in a rare double-signature.

 

Lawrence Nelson Wilbur (1897-1988)

Lawrence Nelson Wilbur, who painted his entire oeuvre on the weekends, nevertheless produced stunning oil paintings and watercolors. Born into the rural town of Whitman, Massachusetts in 1897, Wilbur grew up in a Puritan family that descended directly from the Pilgrims. Most of his family discouraged his interest in art, except for his mother, who urged him on. He rode into Brockton on Saturday afternoons, where he took art classes with the regional painter Edward Tindale. Wilbur always wanted to be an artist and he held onto that hope even after his father died and he became the sole breadwinner for the family. Working full-time to support his younger siblings, he enabled his younger brother to become a concert violinist. He worked as a longshoreman in Boston during the First World War, and managed to take night classes at the Boston Normal Art School (now the Massachusetts School of Art).

Wilbur left Boston for Los Angeles in 1921 and stayed there for four years, doing engravings for the Los Angeles Times. During his time in Los Angeles, he studied painting at night and continued this schedule when he moved to New York, studying with Harvey Dunn, N.C. Wyeth, and Pruett Carter at the Grand Central Art School. In New York he found a full-time job as a photo engraver for color reproductions and he continued that occupation for the rest of his life, making art on the weekends. Wilbur worked in graphics, watercolor, and oil painting, and he had different rigid processes for each. When making a watercolor painting, he would study a scene extensively with pencil drawings before throwing caution to the wind and making a quick, intuitive painting in the field. In contrast, when working in oils, he spent weeks choosing a subject and making small sketches and then took several months to slowly develop the painting in his studio.

Wilbur’s paintings are vibrant, dynamic reinventions of familiar themes. He admired the work of Rembrandt, Daumier, Rouault, and El Greco, in whose art he found drama, energy, and expressiveness. The way Wilbur wielded the thick impasto of his oil paintings generated physical movement and his use of vibrant colors further energized his landscapes and portraits. From 1945 to 1947, Wilbur traveled to Mexico and although he was unsatisfied with the paintings he made there, the art he saw greatly influenced his work. Other than that trip, Wilbur worked in his New York studio for most of his career, making paintings of Manhattan cityscapes and nearby rivers, and portraits of his wife. Before the artist died in 1988, he exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Academy of Design, the Royal Society of British Painters, Etchers, and Engravers, and the American Watercolor Society Traveling Exhibition. The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) also made a film about his life and work, titled Painted with Love. Wilbur’s paintings and prints are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, the National Gallery, the Philadelphia Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the New York Public Library, and the Boston Public Library, among others.

 

Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967)

The Russian-born sculptor Ossip Zadkine spent most of his life in Paris, where he developed a unique fusion of Cubism and Expressionism. Zadkine was born in Smolensk, Russia in 1890 and moved to Paris in 1909, where he lived for the rest of his life, except for the years he spent in New York during the Second World War. He became known in the United States as a mentor to direct carvers, including Israel Levitan, Sidney Geist, Gabriel Kohn, Hugh Townley, and George Sugarman, many of whom studied with him in Paris after the war. While living in New York, he exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annuals from 1944 to 1945, and at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1946. Zadkine’s sculptures have tumbling, disjunctive forms, which alternate between Cubist geometry and baroque curves. His work does not easily fit into the categories of early twentieth-century art but rather combines elements from different movements. Zadkine refused to consider his audience when making his work; he sought only to capture the energy of a ‘force’ in his sculptures. He saw sculpting as a form of labor, which should bring sweat to the brow, and he labored six days a week on a strict schedule. The artist died in Paris in 1967; his work can be found in the Hirshhorn Museum, the Musée National d’Art in Paris, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

 

The Sigmund R. Balka Collection at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum

Sigmund Abeles (1934- )

Aged Rabbi, 1960
Etching
8 1⁄2” x 7 1⁄2”Martyrs, 1965
Etching
17” x 15”Seated Man
Etching
15” x 13”Seated Woman
Etching
17 3⁄4” x 15 1⁄2”

Irving Amen (1918- )

Many Children Dwell in My Father’s House, 1963
Woodcut
10 1⁄2” x 13 1⁄4”The Name
Woodcut
24 1⁄2” x 19”Scholars
Woodcut
21” x 25 3⁄4”Student
Woodcut
12 1⁄4” x 12 1⁄4”

Will Barnet (1911- )

Mother and Child, c. 1930
Etching
5” x 4”

Leonard Baskin (1922-2000)

Self-Portrait, 1983
Lithograph
20” x 16”

Max Beckmann (1884-1950)

Pierrot and Mask, 1920
Lithograph
12 1⁄2” x 8 1⁄4”

David Bekker (1897-1955)

Self-Portrait, c. 1935
Drypoint

Leon Bibel (1913-1955)

Unemployed Marchers
Lithograph
12” x 15”

Uriel Birnbaum (1894-1956)

Memorial Tablets for a Vienna Synagogue, c. 1930
Lithograph
12 1⁄2” x 16”

Isabel Bishop (1902-1988)

Three Men on Fourteenth Street, 1927-31
Etching
13 3⁄4” x 12”

Julius Bloch (1888-1966)

Moonlight in No Man’s Land – Bayoneted
Drawing
12 1⁄2” x 13”

Street Scene
Lithograph
12” x 14”

Tired Travelers, 1929
Lithograph
11” x 13”

Selma Bluestein (1935-1985)

El, 1937
Etching
6 1⁄2” x 5 1⁄2”

Jack Bookbinder (1911-1990)

Reclining Woman, 1971
Lithograph
25” x 19 3⁄4”

Bernard Brussel-Smith (1914-1989)

Breaking Bread
Wood engraving
14 1⁄4” x 12 3⁄4”

David Burliuk (1882-1967)

Head of a Woman, 1939
Watercolor
10” x 7 1⁄2”

Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

Mère et enfant à la Tour Eiffel
Lithograph
14 1⁄2” x 10 1⁄2”

Samuel Chamberlain (1895-1975)

Sunday Afternoon in the Bronx Flat of the Berger Family
Drawing, gouache
11” x 15”

Judaica:

Ketubbah (marriage contract), Persian, 1882
Calligraphy, ink and watercolor on paper
17 1⁄4” x 13”

The Ten Commandments and Priestly Blessing, 20th century
Ceramic tiles
23 1⁄2” x 17 1⁄2”
(facing page)

Shviti
North Africa, early 20th century
Calligraphy, ink on paper
23 3⁄4” x 17 3⁄4”

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation’s oldest institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and communal service professionals, and offers graduate and post-graduate programs to scholars of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR’s scholarly resources comprise renowned library, archive and museum collections, biblical archaeology excavations, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. HUC-JIR invites the community to an array of cultural and educational programs, which illuminate Jewish history, identity, and contemporary creativity and foster interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu

Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President
Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, Chancellor Emeritus
Dr. Norman J. Cohen, Provost
Nina Hanan, Chief of Staff
Gary Bockelman, Vice President for Administration
Michael Cheney, Vice President for Finance
Erica S. Frederick, Vice President for Development
Dr. Aaron Panken, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives; Dean, HUC-JIR/New York
Sylvia Posner, Assistant to the President; Administrative Executive to the Board of Governors
Jean Bloch Rosensaft, Senior National Director for Public Affairs and Institutional Planning

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum Advisory Committee

Laura Kruger, Chair
Suzette Acar
Marilyn Alper
Catherine Behrend
Judy Becker
Semmes Brightman
Jocelyn Chait
Phyllis Cohen
Elaine Corwin
Gail Davidson
Barbara Deane
Gloria Dobbs
Cynthia Greener Edelman
Ruth O. Freedlander
Susan K. Freedman
Betty Golomb
Joy G. Greenberg
Barbara Gross
Frances Hess
Ann Holland
Susan Malloy
Nancy Mantell
Claire G. Miller
Anne Murray
Fran Putnoi
Joan Salomon
Richard J. Scheuer
Pierre Schoenheimer
Helene Spring
Livia Straus
Sheila Thau
Mildred Weissman