The Skirball Museum at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati has always been a place of treasures. It is one of the largest and most innovative Jewish museums in the American Midwest. But new exhibitions at the Skirball have been rare in the past decade. That is about to change with the gala opening reception of a showing of the work of 20th century artist Simeon Zigler on Sunday, June 26, 2011, from 4:00 to 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to all. The Zigler exhibition will include up to 40 of the artist's works from the early 1930s to the 1960s. Zigler's earlier works include pen and India ink drawings and later works include watercolor paintings, which the artist began producing in the 1950s with a unique technique and style.
Simeon Zigler was born in the Ukrainein 1911 and immigrated to the United States with his parents and two siblings in the early 1920s. The family was escaping the aftermath of the First World War and the Bolshevik Revolution and all the terror that was brought upon the Russian Jews during that period. Zigler took night classes at the Cincinnati Art Academy in the late 1920's. Subsequent employment to support his family – he eventually married and had three sons – meant he had limited time for painting and drawing, but it was never far from his heart. He died in 1969.
This show is the first of a series of planned special exhibitions to amplify the Skirball's existing collections. This is good news, since the museum has not only a rich history, but a profound collection as well. "The Skirball is the only museum of Jewish art, history, and ritual in the region," says Dr. Jonathan Cohen, Director of Outreach at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati. "It reflects the contributions of Jewish art and religious observance to the life of our community," continues Cohen. "Its collection is a testament to the significance of Jewish art to the life of the greater community. Jewish artists, artisans and collectors were profoundly influenced by their environment and experience. Their work, displayed in our museum, has graced Cincinnati for nearly a century.
The artist's son, F.D. Zigler, an artist himself, says, "It is my hope that local and nearby artists, and people that love to see the fine workmanship of a man who loved his craft … will attend."
Founded in 1913 as the Union Museum, the Skirball has the largest collection of Jewish art in the city. It tells the story of Judaism through an inspiring core exhibit An Eternal People: The Jewish Experience, community outreach programs and docent-led tours. In addition, the museum plays an active role in promoting interfaith education and Jewish cultural identity.
For more information about the upcoming Zigler exhibition, call 513-487-3053.