16.1.14

Modern Jewish Art




Modern Jewish Art
by Ziva Maisels

The definition of Jewish art in the modern period is complex. Formerly, it consisted of objects made for Jewish use, but now it is rarely linked to the Jewish community. Instead, Jewish artists are fully integrated into secular international art and make major contributions to avant-garde movements. Some bow to the pressures of conformity and try to assimilate, and even if they express themselves as Jews, they do so in non-traditional ways. For many of them, the interplay between secular and Jewish factors in their art is problematic. This has led scholars to debate whether all Jews who are artists produce Jewish art or only those who stress their Jewish identity.

Furthermore, modern Jewish art developed parallel to the uneven process of Jewish emancipation that began in the United States and France in the late 18th century, spread through Western and Central Europe between the 1830s and 1870s, and reached Eastern Europe towards the end of the century. Due to this variable chronology, a "first generation" of emancipated Jewish artists continued to be produced into the 20th century, when those who arrived in the West from Eastern Europe faced the same problems that had confronted Jewish artists throughout the 19th century. To complicate matters, although the 18th and 19th centuries produced a few Jewish women artists, the majority began their careers only in the 20th century and were more concerned with problems of gender than of religion. Moreover, the return of Jews to Palestine and the establishment of the State of Israel produced artists who saw themselves as Israelis more than as Jews, while the emigration of Jewish artists from the former Soviet Union produced a reversed Emancipation, allowing them to express their Jewish identity freely. Finally, the gay liberation movement led some Jewish artists at the end of the 20th century to liken coming out of the closet as homosexuals to the problems involved in declaring Jewish identity in art.

In spite of this, modern Jewish art has certain basic characteristics. First of all, despite attempts to establish a "Jewish style," Jewish artists preferred to adopt normative styles in order to be accepted. At first they conformed to academic norms, but from the mid-19th century, they began to take part in avant-garde movements. Yet although they failed, the attempts to develop a "Jewish style" are instructive. In the 1870s Vladimir Stasov, a non-Jewish Russian critic, encouraged Mark Antokolsky to develop a Jewish national art utilizing Jewish subject matter and an "eastern semitic" style. His ideas on this style are disclosed by his suggestion that the St. Petersburg synagogue be built in the "Arab-Moorish" style and his participation in publishing a book on the ornamental illumination of medieval Hebrew manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah. He thus proposed both the adoption of Near Eastern styles and a return to Oriental Jewish sources. Antokolsky did not agree to create a Jewish school of art, but he was stimulated to plan a Jewish art school to promulgate handicrafts that were widespread as folk art among Russian Jews. He felt that this education would expose Jews to art and provide them with a livelihood. He thus suggested that folk art was a form of national artistic expression.

Stasov's theories and Antokolsky's plans inspired two simultaneous movements: Russian artists created modern Jewish art based on folk art, and the Bezalel School of Art was founded in Jerusalem and incorporated Oriental art into its style. These two trends expressed two views of the future: the first called for a continuation of Jewish culture in the Diaspora; the second for a new start to Jewish life in the Holy Land.

The Russian approach was also influenced by S. An-Ski's idea that emancipated Jews could build a secular Jewish identity on Jewish folk culture. Marc Chagall both welcomed this secular identity and felt close to folk art, claiming the painter of the Mogilev synagogue as his forefather. In St. Petersburg and Paris, he absorbed avant-garde art styles, one of which – Primitivism – acclaimed the aesthetic power of folk and tribal art. Chagall developed a style that translated Jewish themes into a folk art idiom, and later added Fauvist and Cubist elements to it. This union of Jewish folk art with modern styles was taken up by Nathan Altman and Eliezar Lissitzky, who joined Chagall in a Jewish art movement that reached its apogee directly after the Russian Revolution. The clearest expressions of this style are Chagall's murals for the State Jewish Chamber Theater in Moscow (1920) and Lissitzky's Had Gadya illustrations (1918–19).

Shortly thereafter, Lissitzky and Altman abandoned this style to join the Russian abstract artists in developing their own revolutionary style. Chagall, who left Russia in 1922, also abandoned this style, but retained a naïve quality in his art and occasionally incorporated folk art motifs into it.

In the mid-1920s, Soviet art enforced the use of Socialist Realism, but this type of Jewish art survived in Anatoli Kaplan's copies of Jewish folk art in his illustrations. These inspired Michael Grobman in the 1960s to portray Russian and Jewish legends using strange creatures rendered in a folk art style. After Grobman moved to Israel in 1971, he began using bright colors, Hebrew and Russian texts, and kabbalistic symbols in his work. These elements also appear in the art of Grisha Bruskin, where traditional Jews stand beside strange monsters and angels on a background of Hebrew script which defines the figures in kabbalistic terms. He draws on medieval manuscripts, folk art, and Surrealism, blending them in a "naïve" manner. Whereas Grobman and Bruskin use folk art and modern styles in different ways than had Chagall, Lissitzky, and Altman, they are impelled by the same understanding of what Jewish national art should be and by the same need to stress their national identity.

The second movement began in 1906 when Boris Schatz established the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem to teach local Jews to produce art. Influenced by Stasov, Schatz sought to create a Jewish art indigenous to the Near East that would visually express the Jews' return to their land. He united academic Jewish art with contemporary Oriental motifs, and used Oriental Jewish models clothed in Bedouin garb for biblical scenes as both were seen as authentic evidence of the biblical past. Schatz sent the European-born teachers to Istanbul, Damascus, and Cairo to learn Oriental crafts, employed Oriental Jews as experts to weave carpets designed by European students, and taught Yemenite jewelers an "improved" filigree technique. The resulting art was highly eclectic, and only the reaction against Bezalel by young artists in the 1920s would amalgamate these ideas into a coherent style.

These young artists revolted against Schatz's anti-modernist diktats, establishing a Hebrew (as opposed to a Jewish) Artists Association to stress their independence from the Diaspora, but they retained Schatz's ideas. They developed his Orientalist use of models into a cult of the Arab, and tried to create a Jewish national art by combining Near Eastern – i.e., ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, or Byzantine – modes of depiction with the contemporary classical styles of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. They added a "childlike" quality they deemed appropriate to a newborn national art, turning for inspiration to the French naïve artist Henri Rousseau.

This synthesis is evident in Reuven Rubin's Dancers of Meron (1926). The style of his ḥasidic Jews is based on "Eastern" Byzantine church murals from his native Romania; the inclined perspective and individually drawn plants recall naïve art; while the broad, almost flat planes of color were inspired by Matisse. Nahum *Gutman presented a different combination in his Goatherd (1926) whose stance is adapted from Egyptian art. Gutman uses this style to make the figure seem both archaic and continuously indigenous to the country, but the plasticity of the body and the childlike background also recall the art of Picasso and Rousseau.

During the 1930s, influenced by Arab onslaughts and the rise of Nazism in Europe, Palestinian Jewish artists rejected this style in favor of a specifically Jewish art. They turned to the Expressionism of the Jewish artists in Paris, an art that was Jewish only because of its authors' origins. At the end of the 1930s, Zionism again inspired artists to return to the ancient Near East in search of a national style, but this time they turned to the archeological excavations that were uncovering Jewish roots in Palestine. Yitzhak Danziger based his sculpture Nimrod (1939) on ancient Near Eastern art. The very stone from which it is carved – Nubian sandstone from Petra – unites him with the land and its ancient peoples. Moshe Castel based his pictographic style of the mid-1940s on the naïve figures in the Sacrifice of Isaac from the sixth century mosaic in the Bet Alpha synagogue, thus connecting modern art in Palestine with that practiced there by Jews in ancient times. Later, he used the ancient Hebrew alphabet and figures culled from Mesopotamian cylinder seals to create "ancient Jewish steles" made of colored ground basalt, a technique developed by the Spaniard Antoni Tápies. Rather than waiting for archeologists to uncover proof of Jewish residence in the land, he produced his own "documents" confirming it. Mordecai Ardon was also influenced by Sumerian and Canaanite images, but turned as well to traditional Jewish sources, borrowing from medieval Hebrew manuscripts and using kabbalistic signs. He felt that the pagan elements in ancient Israelite life could not exist without a traditional Jewish mystical context, and that both must be incorporated into the new Israeli culture in order for it to survive.

Both the Russian and Israeli artists who wished to create a modern Jewish style blended elements from the Jewish past with those taken from contemporary art. Although both models presented viable options for a national style, they were not generally espoused. Even the idea of such a style was not accepted by most Jewish artists, who preferred to adopt the modern styles around them.

In like manner, Jewish artists often adopted contemporary subject matter. Whereas in the 19th century many of them expressed the problems they encountered in emerging from the ghetto and maintaining their Jewish identity in a Christian world, those who arrived from Eastern Europe in the 20th century often embraced secular Western art, preferring not to stress their Jewish roots. Moreover, those who had received a liberal education from emancipated parents preferred neutral subject matter and joined movements that stressed landscape and portrait painting in the 19th century and abstraction in the 20th century. Most of these artists believed that art was an international language and wanted to make their mark as individuals and not as Jews. This approach was also shared by Jewish photographers (e.g., Alfred Stieglitz), gallery owners (e.g., Herwarth Walden), collectors (e.g., Joseph Hirshhorn), and art critics (e.g., Clement Greenberg). They all would have agreed with Greenberg's advice: "Jewishness, insofar as it has to be asserted in a predominantly Gentile world, should be a personal rather than a mass demonstration." At the same time, many Israelis opted for international styles and neutral subjects, espousing the Zionist desire for normalcy, "to be like unto the nations," while having a nation of their own.

Yet neutral subjects could be adapted to Jewish use. Thus Moritz Oppenheim's portraits of converted Jews and of those who succeeded while remaining faithful to their religion, express the problems confronting Jews in 19th century Germany. In Russia during a year of pogroms Isaac Levitan placed a Jewish Tombstone (1881) in a landscape. In like manner, Barnett Newman and Ya'acov Agam gave Jewish meaning to their abstract works through their theories and titles, although the latter have to be translated into Hebrew to be fully understood.

On the other hand, some Jewish artists sought to express their Judaism in their art, often as part of a dialogue with Christians. One method, the depiction of traditional Jewish life, developed three main approaches in the 19th century. On the one hand, artists such as Oppenheim and Isador Kauffman painted cheerful scenes of ghetto life, stressing religious rites and a pleasant atmosphere. These works were intended to strengthen the roots of emancipated Jews by showing them nostalgic views of their grandparents' lifestyle which they had cast off, and to prove the inherent beauty of traditional Jewish life to Christians who were curious about the "exotic" Jews around them. Later artists, such as Yehuda Pen, inspired by a Romantic wish to return to their roots, turned from assimilation to depicting the lifestyle of the Orthodox Jewish community. Still later, nostalgic views of shtetl life, such as those by Chagall and Mané-Katz, were used to memorialize a way of life that was slowly disappearing and was totally destroyed in the Holocaust.

The second, more pessimistic approach was developed in Eastern Europe by Antokolsky and Samuel Hirszenberg who stressed the poverty and sufferings of the Jews to arouse pity and sympathy. Their works were inspired by the misery they saw around them and by the pogroms in Eastern Europe in the second half of the 19th century, both of which led to mass emigration. Their iconography influenced artists who depicted the hardships of traditional Jewish life during World War I and its destruction in World War II.

The third approach depicted tensions between Jews and Christians. In Oppenheim's Lavater and Lessing Visit Moses Mendelssohn (1856), Mendelssohn affirms Judaism despite Johann Caspar Lavater's demands that he convert. The intricacies of the dispute are suggested by the chessboard set between them, but the woman bringing in a tea tray suggests that all will end amicably. In contrast, in The Spanish Inquisition Breaking in on a Marrano Seder (1868), Antokolsky symbolized the fears of Jews in Russia where sudden arrest was common, and stated his belief that assimilation would not save Jews from persecution.

Whereas such problems continued to occupy Jews, some 20th century artists turned instead to confrontations within the Jewish community. Raphael Soyer's Dancing Lesson (1926) sets portraits of the Orthodox Russian grandparents above the religious but modern parents, who worriedly regard the young couple attempting to assimilate into American life by dancing to the tune of the boy's harmonica.

A different dialogue with the Christian world utilized Christian themes such as the legend of Ahasver who – like the Jewish people – is doomed to eternal wandering for rejecting Jesus. Maurycy Gottlieb gave this image a positive twist in 1876 by portraying himself in this role as a crowned prince. He thereby stressed pride in his Judaism, but his expression conveys his melancholy at being an outcast from Christian society. In contrast, Hirszenberg's Exile (1904) used this image to show the Jew as a modern refugee heading towards an unknown destination. Hirszenberg's denunciation of Christian antisemitism is even clearer in his rendering of Ahasver fleeing amidst a sea of crosses at the feet of which lie his massacred fellow Jews (1899).

The symbolic image that had the most impact on this type of dialogue was that of Jesus restored to his historical milieu. Antokolsky's Ecce Homo (1873) stressed Jesus' Judaism through his facial features, side locks, skullcap, and striped garment. Inspired by the Odessa pogrom, Antokolsky wanted his statue to remind Christians that persecuting Jesus's brothers perverted his teachings. The use of a Jewish Jesus to combat antisemitism became widespread in modern Jewish art, and Chagall's White Crucifixion (1938) used this imagery to symbolize Jewish victims in the Holocaust.

This dialogue, as well as problems within the Jewish community, led Jewish artists to inject new meanings into Old Testament themes. This practice began in the early 19th century in works by converted Jews. Thus Mendelssohn's grandson Philipp Veit and his fellow Nazarenes decorated the reception room of his converted relative, the Prussian consul Jacob Salomon Bartholdy, with the story of Joseph. This suggests that Bartholdy had a Jewish precedent both for his high office and for assuming the manners – and in his case, the religion – of a non-Jewish court. In a different vein, Eduard Bendemann expressed the despair at Judaism's fate that led to his conversion by painting mournful scenes: By the Waters of Babylon (1832) and Jeremiah on the Ruins of Jerusalem (ca. 1834–35).

Early Zionist artists also turned to the Old Testament. Lesser *Ury's Jerusalem (1896) depicts the old exiles in Babylon sitting withdrawn or praying, while younger generations look past the river dreaming of the homeland, thus expressing the hope engendered in the young by Zionism. In like manner, Ephraim Moïse Lilien depicted Theodor Herzl as Moses (1907–8), and created a parallel between the longing for the Promised Land of a Jew bound in slavery in Egypt and that of a European Jew trapped by thorns (1902). In the Jerusalem River Project (1970), Joshua Neustein, Gerard Marx, and Georgette Battle set loudspeakers along a wadi to bring the sound of rushing water to Jerusalem's dry environment, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah that when Israel is redeemed, "live waters will come forth out of Jerusalem."

Old Testament imagery was also used for personal expression. For instance, Simeon Solomon used his illustrations to the Song of Songs (1857, 1865–68) to express his homosexuality and the despair it caused him, while Jacques Lipchitz and Jacob Epstein used their namesake, Jacob, wrestling with the angel to express their own struggles with inspiration during times of crisis (1932, 1940–41).

Biblical images were also employed to express the Holocaust and the birth of the State of Israel. Thus Lipchitz depicted David killing a Nazi Goliath (1933) to demonstrate Jewish resistance to the Nazis, and many artists utilized the Sacrifice of Isaac and Job to symbolize Holocaust victims. After the War of Independence, *Steinhardt used Cain and Abel to portray the war between brothers; Jacob and Esau embracing to express the coveted peace; and Hagar as an outcast Arab refugee. Recently, contemporary artists have been inspired by their times to develop new interpretations. For instance, before leaving Russia, Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid placed seven photographs of the first page of the text of the Prophet Obadiah (1976) in graded degrees of darkness, suggesting that they see their Jewish origins as fluctuating from readability to impenetrability. In like manner, in The Liberation of God (1990–96), Helene Aylon underlined all the places in the Old Testament in which the patriarchy was stressed as part of her feminist reassessment of Judaism.

After World War II, biblical imagery was also used to call for reconciliation between Judaism and Christianity. Chagall injected his crucified Jewish Jesus into Old Testament paintings that he wished to house in an interfaith chapel to promote peace by stressing Jesus' Jewish origins to members of both religions. In like manner, the Catholic Church began commissioning Jewish artists to decorate churches such as that at Assy, but the resulting works contain Jewish as well as Christian messages. Lipchitz's statue of the Virgin there shows an un-inhabited mantle, with only the hands visible, brought down to earth by a dove. For a Catholic, this is a perfect rendering of the Immaculate Conception; for Lipchitz it was a way not to represent the Virgin. His inscription on the back dedicates the work to a better understanding between the two faiths. Chagall decorated the Assy Baptistery with a large Crossing of the Red Sea, a Christian prefiguration of baptism. However, at the top of the mural, a Wandering Jew leads the Exodus away from the crucified Christ towards Israel, symbolized by King David and the Tower of David. Such interplays remind us that in interfaith relations each side interprets events according to its own beliefs.

Jewish and Christian artists were also commissioned to produce art for the many synagogues and Jewish community centers that were built from 1945 on. Whereas most Christians produced art deemed appropriate for Jewish use, Jewish artists often felt free to express their own views. This is also true of Jewish book illustration: Arieh Allweil gave his Haggadah a Zionist reading (after 1948), while Leonard Baskin infused his ambiguous feelings towards Judaism into the version he illustrated (1974).

Another common theme in the 19th century expressed the emancipated Jewish artists' feeling that due to their art they had no place in Jewish society: artists such as Gottlieb, Hirszenberg and Jacob Meyer de Haan identified with outcasts such as Uriel Acosta and Baruch Spinoza. In the 20th century artists were more concerned with their tenuous place as Jews in contemporary society, and manifested this problem in various ways. Chagall hid his often sarcastic messages about the Christian world by translating Yiddish idioms into visual images that could only be understood by Yiddish speakers, and Ben Shahn and Baskin incorporated Hebrew texts into their works that added dimensions of meaning that were not open to the general public. Many of R.B. Kitaj's works deal with problems of non-belonging. He depicted himself symbolically as Marrano (The Secret Jew) (1976), and identified with all outsiders in his book The First Diasporist Manifesto (1989).

This outsider stance also connects Jews with other minorities, an identification espoused by Jewish artists with a strong social conscience. Josef Israels and Max Liebermann portrayed poor fishermen and peasants in Europe in the 19th century, while the Americans Max Weber, the Soyers, and Shahn depicted those rendered poor and homeless by the Depression. They and younger artists, such as Larry Rivers, later identified with Afro-Americans, believing they were expressing the humanistic doctrines that they saw as Judaism's contribution to American life.

This affinity with the other assumed another dimension in Israeli art. In the 1920s, seeking to reconnect with the land, artists such as Rubin and Gutman identified with Arab fishermen and shepherds. This tendency stopped with the Arab attacks on Jews in 1929, but was revived in the 1950s in depictions of the Bedouin with whom Israel lived at peace, who were seen as living in harmony with the land. Steinhardt painted them, while Danzinger sculpted sheep to resemble Bedouin tents. Igael Tumarkin developed this concept by adapting into his sculptures the way they tie material to trees in their sacred groves. All these works express a desire for peaceful coexistence, but Tumarkin also dealt with land as a holy object for which blood is shed. Another type of identification developed after 1967, when Tumarkin pointed out the similarity between the former situation of the Jews and that of present-day Palestinian refugees.

Identification with the other can also be linked to criticism of one's own group and even to self-hate. Whereas Alphonse Lévy portrayed Jews with ironic humor, Chagall criticized Jewish traditions. In Sabbath (1910) the colors and the expressions of the figures create a hellish atmosphere, while in Succoth (1914) the unconscious wish of the Jew who is about to enter a dark synagogue is expressed by a small figure on his head who turns to go the other way. Camille Pissarro, who saw himself as a socialist-anarchist, depicted hook-nosed Jewish bankers carrying the Golden Calf in an 1890 drawing, and Maryan Maryan who lost a leg in the Holocaust, portrayed repulsive Orthodox Jews. Chaim Soutine displayed self-hate by making his own features as ugly as possible. In his series of slaughtered animals, he drenched their carcasses with blood to enrich their color, an action often interpreted as a willful violation of Jewish dietary laws.

In conclusion, the interplay between the personal and the historical has shaped the fabric of modern Jewish art: the artists' choices depend on their background, their attitude to the modern world, and that world's attitude to them. To be accepted in the Christian world they developed a number of strategies: some assimilated into the dominant culture, while others used both "normal" and Jewish subject matter, or expressed their identity in hidden ways. Some chose to be outsiders or had this status thrust upon them by antisemitism or by feelings that the Jewish community rejected them. At other times, they tried to use their art as a bridge between their two worlds, utilizing Christian imagery or socially relevant themes to this end. The creation of Israeli art did not change this situation, although it added its own variations to the characteristics of modern Jewish art. Despite a wish to participate in the international and secular character of modern art in which artists move easily from one country and culture to another, owing allegiance only to Art, many Jewish and Israeli artists at some point reconnected in their art with their Jewish identity.

Bibliography. Z. Amishai-Maisels, "Jewish Artists from the 18th Century to the Present Day," in: G. Sed-Rajna et. al., Jewish Art (1997), esp. 325–36, 358–64, 494–96, 509; R. Apter-Gabriel (ed.), Tradition and Revolution: The Jewish Renaissance in Russian Avant-Garde Art 1912–1928 (1987); M. Baigell, Jewish Artists in New York: The Holocaust Years (2002); M. Baigell and M. Heyd (eds.), Complex Identities: Jewish Consciousness and Modern Art (2001); R.I. Cohen, Jewish Icons: Art and Society in Modern Europe (1998); S.T. Goodman (ed.), The Emergence of Jewish Artists in Nineteenth-Century Europe (2001); idem (ed.), Russian Jewish Artists in a Century of Change (1995); M. Heyd, Mutual Reflections: Jews and Blacks in American Art (2001); A. Kampf, Chagall to Kitaj: The Jewish Experience in 20th Century Art (1990); N. Kleeblatt and S. Chevlowe, Painting a Place in America: Jewish Artists in New York, 1900–1945 (1991); N. Kleeblatt (ed.), Too Jewish? Challenging Traditional Identities (1996); K.E. Silver, Circle of Montparnasse: Jewish Artists in Paris, 1905–1945 (1985); C.M. Soussloff (ed.), Jewish Identity in Modern Art History (1999).

WESTERN EUROPE
by Annette Weber

The 19th Century

The removal of legal and social restrictions in the wake of Emancipation opened the way for West European Jews to engage in the arts. However, at first quite a few Jews chose to take up art as a civil profession. Among them was Moritz Daniel *Oppenheim (1800–1882). From the early stages of his career Oppenheim was aware of the bias between his own Jewish tradition, where the visual arts had played only a minor part so far, and the attitude of the surrounding society which considered art as a supreme expression of European culture. His first monumental painting, Moses Holding the Tablets of the Law, is like a manifesto of his self-awareness as a Jewish artist. After a brief acquaintance with the "Nazarene" movement in Rome, where he had been shunned as a "Jewish outsider" despite his obvious artistic talents, Oppenheim turned towards painting in a naturalist style. He acknowledged the need to accommodate himself to the requirements of an emerging German bourgeois society and became a successful genre painter, portraitist, and art dealer in Frankfurt, serving Jewish as well as non-Jewish clients. Committed to the progress of the Jewish cause throughout his life, he created several highly significant historical representations such as The Return of the Jewish Volunteer (1833), Moses Mendelssohn Playing Chess with Lavater (1856) and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Playing for Goethe (1864) to demonstrate Jewish civility but also his ability as a Jewish painter of history. Yet it was only in the mid-1860s that he gained lasting reputation as painter of the Scenes from Traditional Jewish Family Life, a series of genre scenes which conveyed religious traditions from the Age of the Ghetto as a source of cultural inspiration. In this case, the customers were foremost Jews, although the printed series had been prepared to address also a non-Jewish public. Subsequently Oppenheim was considered primarily as "the First Jewish painter," a specialist able to fulfil the specific needs of the emerging bourgeois Jewish public.

The career of Moritz Daniel Oppenheim offers a good insight in the kind of challenge that artists of Jewish origin encountered in the 19th century. They were facing not only increasing demands for diversion of a bourgeois society but also had to deal with their own Jewishness as the base of their artistic experience, and moreover were consistently exposed to latent antisemitic feelings.

The most radical solution of the problem was offered by conversion, and this was the case of Philipp Veit (1793–1877), a grandson of Moses Mendelssohn. After his conversion, he became one of the leading members of the Roman Catholic "Nazarene" group, whose rebellion against classicism led to an attempt to infuse a new style into European art on the base of a revival of Christian, i.e. medieval and Renaissance, painting. Veit's talents as a painter of the new style ensured him a successful public career, and eventually he was awarded the position of the director of the municipal Academy of the Arts in Frankfurt, a post never offered to Moritz Daniel Oppenheim. Somewhat similar was the case of Eduard Bendemann (1811–1889) and Eduard Magnus (1799–1872). Both came from apostate wealthy Jewish families and were celebrated painters of their time. Bendemann specialized in large historical compositions, obtained many public commissions and eventually followed Wilhelm Schadow as head of the Duesseldorf academy, while Eduard Magnus became a much sought-after portraitist of the Prussian Royal court and the Berlin "haute bourgeoisie."

As a British citizen, it seems to have been somewhat easier for Solomon Alexander Hart (1806–1881) to ensure a successful public career without being forced to conceal or to defend incessantly his Jewish identity. His realistic paintings of Interior of a Jewish Synagogue and The Feast of Rejoicing the Law were well received and did not impair his election as a full member of the Royal Academy. However, he concentrated on presenting English historical and literary scenes, which were fashionable at the time, as he did not wish to be seen as "the painter merely of religious scenes." His compatriot Abraham Solomon (1823–1862) first presented some Jewish subjects, but later he and his sister Rebecca (1832–1886) painted small, brilliantly colored moral themes from 16th- and 17th- century dramas as well as genre scenes of mid-Victorian society. In the 1860s, both Rebecca and her younger brother Simeon Solomon (1840–1905) became acquainted with the circle of Pre-Raphaelite artists, and Simeon soon established a reputation for his Jewish religious subjects such as Carrying the Scrolls of the Law painted in the Pre-Raphaelite style. Encouraged by Swinburne and Burne-Jones, he also created themes of Christian or classical pagan background and of religious mysticism sometimes figuring androgynous figures of an idealized male beauty. Arrested in 1873 and convicted for indecency, he was unable to pursue his artistic career and died in poverty.

Like Oppenheim, Solomon J. Solomon (1860–1927) remained attached to Jewish affairs throughout his life and painted numerous biblical subjects as well as scenes of contemporary Anglo-Jewish life such as High Tea in the Sukkah. But this in no way hindered his success as a fashionable portrait painter for Edwardian society following the tradition of Joshua Reynolds and Lawrence. In 1894, he became a member of the Royal Academy. He was followed by Sir William Rothenstein (1872–1945), an English impressionist who painted delicate landscapes and some remarkable synagogue interiors. In all, the first two generations of Anglo-Jewish painters were able to uphold their Jewish identity without impediment but chose to follow the artistic mainstream of their country which ensured a wider recognition of their artistic talents.

Likewise, the French painters Jacques-Emile-Edouard Brandon (1831–1897) and Edouard Moyse (1827–1908), both of the first generation of French-Jewish artists, also enjoyed freedom of choice regarding their careers. Like their English colleagues, they painted Jewish subjects alongside Christian ones in an academic style, although Brandon became acquainted with Corot, Degas, and Moreau. His initial success derived from a series of works depicting the life of Saint Brigitte, a subject highly fashionable in the time of Napoleon III. In later life, however, he concentrated on Jewish subjects like A Synagogue Interior – "The Amidah." Edouard Moyse shared an interest in Jewish subjects with Brandon and painted intimate portraits of rabbis as well as scenes from Jewish life in France at a time when Orientalist painters presented moments of Jewish life in North Africa as an exotic sensation. Like Alphonse Levy (1843–1918), Moyse produced nostalgic renderings of the Hebrew Bible and of the rural Jews from Alsace-Lorraine.

Manifesting his ethnic background in art however, was not of an issue for one of the greatest Impressionists of all, Camille *Pissarro (1830–1903), although he had studied first with the Danish-Jewish artist David Jacobsen. He met Cézanne and became a founding member of the Impressionists in 1874. Famous for his peasant scenes and landscape paintings, he turned to the representation of the modern city life of Paris after 1888. In 1894, however, Pissarro was deeply distressed about the *Dreyfus Affair and the antisemitic accusations of his colleagues Degas and Renoir. He reconsidered his identity but stated that "for a Hebrew, there is not much of that in me." This attitude was somewhat shared by Jules *Adler (1830–1903), who focused on representing the miserable life of the underclass in a naturalist style, a topic favored by many other Jewish painters in the late 19th century, for whom the subject was not alien, as it reminded them of their own backgrounds.

Pissarro's great Dutch contemporary, Jozef *Israels (1824–1911) was also concerned with the life of the poor, and he became internationally famous for his sympathetic renderings of the hard life of Dutch fishermen and peasants in a style which owed much to Rembrandt's somberness, tenderness, and humanity. He only occasionally turned to Jewish themes and personalities, as in A Son of the Ancient Race, but these few paintings became veritable icons in the eye of a Jewish public in quest of authentic Jewish art after the turn of the century. His son Isaac Israels (1865–1934) was a leading Dutch impressionist, known for his scenes from the lives of Paris working girls. Like Israels, the Dutch painter Jacob Meijer *de Haan (1852–1895) started from a traditional Jewish background and first painted some Jewish scenes and portraits but later on balked at this heritage and turned to secular painting. He became a close follower of Paul Gauguin in 1889 with a similar interest in painting landscapes and peasant scenes.

At the same time, a new generation of Jewish artists emerged in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, among them the first Jewish sculptors. The Hungarian Jacob Guttmann (1815–1852), who made busts of the Austrian chancellor Metternich and of Pope Pius X, is now completely forgotten, as is his compatriot Jozsef Engel (1815–1901), who portrayed Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort. Of sculptors of a later generation, the Austrian (Czech) Samuel Friedrich *Beer (1846–1912) is now remembered chiefly because Herzl sat for him and because he designed the medal for the first Zionist Congress at Basle in 1897.

In contrast, the work of Isidor Kaufmann (1853–1921), Tina Blau (1845–1916), and Broncia Koller-Pinell (1863–1934) is still remembered today, because each of them made a substantial contribution to art in Austria. Isidor Kaufmann started as a genre painter and portraitist, but later turned to Jewish subjects and became the painter who documented the great heritage of ḥasidic life in Galicia and Moravia in a realist style. As a woman artist, Tina Blau became one of the leading Austrian impressionists, whereas Bianca Koller-Pinell was a major figure in the Viennese art nouveau movement. Both women showed little concern for their Jewish identity and converted later in life, though Blau painted the Jew's street of Amsterdam.

The secular approach to art was also favored by Italian-Jewish artists like Serafino da Tivoli (1826–1890) and Vito d'Ancona (1824–1884). Though ardent supporters of the Risorgimento, which led to the abolition of the Ghetto at last, they showed no interest in making their Jewish background artistically visible. Instead, they pursued secular painting and the latest currents of contemporary art. Serafino da Tivoli was the founder of the "Macchiaioli" school, which reacted against neoclassical formulae and applied paint in summary spots to gain an effect of spontaneity. One of the chief painters of this school was Vito d'Ancona, who executed fresh, lively landscapes and nudes and portraits in rich and luminous colors. Vittorio Matteo Corcos (1859–1933) followed the Macchiaioli school at first, but became an internationally sought-after society portraitist after his marriage and conversion in 1886. Likewise the Swedish impressionist Ernst Josephson (1851–1906) worked also as a portraitist and his fresh, boldly executed portraits of a subject caught at a characteristic moment are among his best achievements.

In Germany, the second generation of Jewish artists like Max Liebermann (1847–1935) and after him Lesser Ury (1861–1931) witnessed the emerging liberalism and became less preoccupied with manifesting their religious and ethnic status. Instead, dealing with the latest artistic trend and the search for pictorial truth prevailed. Max Liebermann as a socially conscious artist started to depict the harsh life of day laborers under the influence of the French Realists Courbet and Millet, thus setting a counterbalance to cozy Biedermeier genre scenes which dominated the German art market by then. However, when the artist sent his Jesus in the Temple to Munich in 1879, the public display of the painting set off vicious antisemitic criticism against an artist who had dared to show Jesus as a precocious Jewish boy surrounded by honest Jewish-looking rabbis. Irritated by the result, Liebermann refrained from painting biblical subjects and found his inspiration in the friendship with Jozef Israels and in the life of the small towns and villages of Holland. He adapted French impressionism and became himself the leading German impressionist and a most eminent portraitist. In addition, he made a major contribution to the development of the art of etching. As the founder of the Berlin Secession, Liebermann was elected president of the Prussian Academy of the Arts in the Weimar Republic, but during his entire career he had to withstand harsh attacks like those of the art historian Henry Thode in 1905, who chided him for his "un-German" character. It would seem to be no coincidence that Liebermann painted the famous Jew's Street in Amsterdam at that very time. At the end of his life he was confronted with the rise of Nazism and was forced to resign from the Prussian Academy.

Lesser Ury's artistic career resembled somewhat that of Liebermann's. He too started as an impressionist painter of rural life, but after he had settled in Berlin in 1887 he became the first artist to capture the vibrancy and the luster of the emerging modern metropolis in his Berlin cityscapes. At the very same time, he maintained a lifelong interest in the Bible and created many biblical paintings like Jeremiah, exhibited in one of the earliest shows of Jewish artists in Berlin in 1903. Alongside Israels, Lesser Ury was considered to be one of the first modern Jewish painters.

The 20th Century

With the 20th century, the general picture changed. Whereas hitherto Jewish artists had been few, now there was a sudden explosion of Jewish talent which left a permanent mark on artistic development. Not only from the teeming ghettos of Eastern Europe, but also from the Balkans and North Africa, from well-to-do homes in Germany, England, and America, a stream of Jewish artists emerged. In most cases their Mecca was Paris where they hoped to take up the latest art fashion. It was in the fruitful surroundings of the Fauves and Cubists that the School of Paris was formed which harbored such eminent artists as Soutine, Modigliani, Pascin, Mane-Katz, and especially Chagall. They played a highly significant role in modern painting and their contribution was so great as to be in some quarters considered dominant. Besides creating avant-garde art, some artists and critics of Jewish origin engaged also in discussing the possibility of establishing authentic Jewish art, but their attempt fell short as most of the members of the Paris School rejected the necessity of such a quest and favored the search for purely individual artistic expression instead. The best example is the Italian-Jewish painter Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920), who became famous only after his death for his sensual nudes and intimate portraits capturing the mood of loneliness and isolation of the sitter in simple elongated forms and iridescent colors.

However, the sense of loneliness and uprooting in the face of a modern world, where Jewish traditional life was threatened either by dissolution or deep change, could lead also to a new attempt to create an art based on Jewish themes. This was the case of a group of Anglo-Jewish artists like David Bomberg (1890–1957), Mark Gertler (1891–1939), and Jacob Kramer (1892–1962). Mostly, they were born out of the first generation of East European immigrants centered in Whitechapel in the East End of London and educated at the London-based Slade School of Fine Arts. They started to document their Jewish surroundings, the Yiddish theater as the nucleus of culture or the archetypal Jewish family of immigrants, and tried to evoke tradition as with Jacob Kramer in his painting Day of Atonement of 1919.

In Germany, redefining Jewish art had became a major issue through the impact of Martin *Buber, who had proclaimed the necessity of a Jewish national art at the Fifth International Zionist Congress in 1901. Buber's cultural activities stimulated an entire generation of young German and Central European Jewish artists who became involved in creating the "Jewish Renaissance" which reached its climax in Berlin in the Weimar Republic. It was the first time in European art ever that Jewish artists developed their work first and foremost out of their consciousness of a distinct ethnic and religious background. Leading members were graphic artists like Moses Ephraim Lilien (1874–1925), Herman Struck (1876–1944), and Joseph Budko (1888–1940), who leaned first toward art nouveau and later toward expressionism to create a whole new Jewish iconography ranging from Zionist symbols to representations of the world of the shtetl. Lilien's photo of Herzl Overlooking the Rhine became as much an icon as Struck's delicately etched portraits of Polish and Russian Jews in Das Ostjuedische Antlitz. This group was joined by a wide circle of artists, art historians, and critics like Max Osborn, Rachel Wischnitzer, and Ernst Cohn-Wiener. Among the artists were the expressionist painters Jakob *Steinhardt (1887–1968) and Ludwig Meidner, who were already known for their cityscapes and biblical paintings foreshadowing imminent disaster like Meidner's I and the City of 1912 and Steinhardt's monumental Prophet Jeremiah of 1913. Of the same generation was the expressionist sculptor Arnold Zadikow (1884–1943), who later created the portrait bust of Albert Einstein, and an entire group of avant-garde Polish and Russian Jewish artists such as Jankel Adler, Issai Kulviansky, El Lissitzky, and Issachar Ber Ryback, to name but a few. Their art works contributed to Berlin's reputation as an international center for the creation of contemporary art.

At the same time, the ritual objects of the Bezalel Art School founded in Jerusalem in 1906 had a major impact on the creation of modern European Judaica. This field had been largely neglected during the Age of Emancipation, and it was only in the later 19th century that manufacturers like Lazarus Posen started with mass-produced Judaica in the so called "antique silver style." In the early 20th century, however, a group of young artists emerged like Leo *Horovitz (1876–1961), Ludwig Wolpert (1900–1981), Friedrich Adler (1878–1942), and David Gumbel. They were trained as sculptors like Benno Elkan (1877–1960), but in addition to secular art they started to create ritual objects under the influence of art nouveau at first and later under that of the Bauhaus.

Nevertheless German Jewish artists of the 1920s were not solely involved in the quest for an authentic Jewish art. Some of them formulated new aspects of art out of progressive political attitudes. Their left-wing views led them to defy the saturated bourgeois society, and they searched for new ways to express the human condition as marked by the vicissitudes of the Weimar Republic. This was the case with Otto Freundlich (1878–1943), a painter, sculptor, and graphic artist who was attracted by the teachings of the Bauhaus during the Weimar Republic but lived predominantly in Paris. He sculpted a new image of man close to abstraction and engaged in painting of the pure form. Artists like John Heartfield (1891–1968) and Lea (1906–1977) and Hans (1901–1958) Grundig became members of the KPD (German Communist Party) and devoted their artistic talents exclusively to the service of the party by creating anti-fascist posters or presentations denouncing the living conditions of the proletariat. Political engagement was considered also a prerequisite of artistic creativity among the "Das Junge Rheinland" group," founded in 1919, where artists like Gert Wollheim (1894–1970) and Arthur Kaufmann (1888–1971) painted portraits and genre scenes denouncing the chaos of postwar life in a tortured and emotional late expressionist style, revealing the influence of the "Neue Sachlichkeit" and of Otto Dix. The Viennese painter Max Oppenheimer (1885–1954), who was influenced by Oskar Kokoschka, created portraits with deep psychological insight while Hanns Ludwig Katz (1892–1940), another late expressionist painter, who came under the influence of Max Beckmann in Frankfurt, followed a similar intention when he painted the portrait of Gustav Landauer in 1919/1920.

After the rise to power of the Nazi Party in 1933, all German Jewish artists were threatened by persecution, and later, during wartime, the entire generation of European Jewish artists born since the late 1880s was dispersed and many of them perished in death camps. The show "Degenerate Art" organized by the Nazi authorities in 1938 served as a prelude to annihilation. There, many of the avant-garde art works of Jews and non-Jews alike were publicly decried as "Jewish-Bolshevik botch" or as marks of insanity. However, artists did not simply give in to terror; they tried to resist by creating art. This was especially the case of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis (1898–1944), who brought art to hundreds of children in the Theresienstadt concentration camp from 1942 until she was sent to Auschwitz in 1944. Charlotte Salomon (1917–1943), Rudolf Levy (1875–1944), and Felix Nussbaum (1904–1944) were among those who were persecuted and went into hiding but continued to work nevertheless. They all perished in the Holocaust, but their masterworks created while living under the most oppressive conditions offer a vivid testimony of humanity withstanding all odds. Felix Nussbaum revealed his feelings of solitude and despair in the face of imminent doom in his many self-portraits in a surrealist style and especially in the Danse Macabre, his last painting before deportation to the Auschwitz extermination camp.

While artists all over the world were deeply affected by the Holocaust, the experience of torture and humiliation, of persecution and exile, became a dominant subject for those who had survived. Yet, for many of the artists it was not only about documenting the actual horrors of the death camps but also of visualizing the abyss of human cruelty. Survivors like the Viennese artists Arik Brauer (1929– ) and Fritz Hundertwasser (1928–2000) chose to depict scenes of Fantastic Realism in order to convey the inconceivable dimensions of the catastrophe. Other artists who survived in exile, like Jankel Adler or Ludwig Meidner, focused on presenting those who were barred from normal life or created monstrous apocalyptic scenes in order to express suffering.

Jankel Adler (1895–1949) was among those artists who could emigrate to England like Jacob Bornfriend (1904–1976) and Joseph Herman (1911– ) but had a hard time supporting themselves as painters. They brought with them the figurative expressionist heritage from the Continent and continued to work in that style. A new style of painting, based as much on the aesthetic experience of expressionism as on abstract painting, emerged in the next generation of Anglo-Jewish artists with a refugee background. Today, the works of artists like Lucien Freud (1922– ), Leon Kossoff (1926– ), and Frank Auerbach (1931– ) are generally acknowledged as having a major impact on contemporary world art, while their ethnic and religious background is rarely stressed. Fascinated by the sheer physicality of the world, these London-based artists work as figurative painters and graphic artists who convey the vibrancy of life, especially the spirituality of human beings out of the materiality of the body in a sensuous, agitated style of brushwork. For them the visual reality offers the indispensable backdrop for exploring the metaphysical quality of life. They are joined in their efforts by the American born R.B. Kitaj (1932– ) who focuses on presenting the quest for a modern Jewish identity after the Holocaust in his paintings.

EASTERN EUROPE
by Hillel Kazovsky

Jewish artists emerged in Eastern Europe, as well as in Western Europe, as a result of modernization and integration of a part of Jewry into European cultural and social life. It appears only natural, therefore, that the fist Jewish figures to appear on the artistic arena of Eastern Europe in the 1840s–1850s came from privileged circles of the Jewish financial elite that was more prone, in comparison to other sectors of the Jewish community, to acculturation and even assimilation. The most prominent artists of this period (within the borders of the Austrian and the Russian Empire) are Barbu Iscovescu (Itskovich, 1816–1854) and Constantine Daniel Rosenthal (1820–1851) in Romania; Alexander Lesser (1814–1884) and Maximilian Fajans (1827–1890) in Poland.

Those artists' Weltanschauung was molded in the intellectual atmosphere of societies and salons of Jewish Reformist bourgeoisie and acculturated intelligentsia. An important element of the Weltanschauung was a firm belief that Jews were an integral part of the nations in whose midst they existed and whose historic destiny they thus shared. This belief inspired many works created by Jewish artists of the first generation, a striking example of which is Lesser's The Funeral of Five Victims of the Warsaw Manifestation of 1861 (1866). The picture portrays the solemn ceremony of burying Polish patriots who were killed in the repression of the Russian imperial regime. Among the participants led by the Catholic archbishop of the Polish capital, Lesser included representatives of all the sectors and ethnic groups of the Warsaw population of the time, including an Orthodox rabbi and a reformist rabbi. The picture was to emphasize the unity of the Polish nation, composed of diverse ethnic groups including the Jews.

Jewish artists, as well as sections of Jewry they belonged to, identified themselves with the rest of the nation, and this feeling of unity brought about sympathy with the nationalist movements of their countries. Moreover, some Jewish artists were active participants in those movements, such as Iscovescu and Rosenthal, whose role in the 1848–49 revolution in Valakhia and Moldavia was quite prominent. Their art, which is believed to have established the foundations of the Romanian national school of painting, was a visual manifestation of the patriotic ideals of the Romanian nation then being in the process of formation (such as the painting by Rosenthal eloquently named Romania Casting Off Her Handcuffs in the Liberty Camp, 1849).

However, despite the fact that some Jewish artists of the first half of the 19th century had gained recognition, their works did not have a pronounced impact on the cultural transformation of East European Jewry. Being few in number and striving to merge into the national cultures of their countries, these artists remained at the periphery of contemporary Jewish society together with the thin social layer of Jewish intelligentsia whose ideas they expressed.

Owing to a number of political and cultural factors characterizing the evolution of East European Jewry (among them, complete or partial lack of emancipation, perpetuating the dominant role of the traditional culture, numerous Jews habitually living in mono-ethnic settlements, etc.), the process of modernization took specific forms and unfolded more slowly than in the countries of Western Europe. This is one of the reasons why the Jewish artistic presence in Eastern Europe did not become noticeable before the first decades of the second half of the 19th century, i.e., later than in the West.

In the specific historical conditions of Eastern Europe of that period, the new phenomenon of a professional Jewish artist needed certain legitimizing. Jewish traditionalists condemned the artistic trade, regarding it as breaking with the fundamental commandments of Judaism. The non-Jewish public mind shared a deeply rooted belief that Jews were not capable of creating original plastic art. This negative stereotype was also shared by some members of the Jewish intelligentsia. To overcome these prejudices, Jewish publicists came forth with the genre of art criticism and the esthetic essay. In the early 1880s, the pioneers in this genre were Nahum Sokolow and Mordechai Zvi Mane (1859–1886), the latter being one of the first Jewish artists and a poet writing in Hebrew.

Despite the impeding factors and a certain "delay," in the early 1870s the Jewish presence in art was established by two outstanding names, those of Marc Antokolsky, a sculptor living in Russia, and Maurycy *Gottlieb, a Polish painter, whose legacies in the art of their countries in particular and of Europe in general have been quite prominent. Some of their works, influenced by the Haskalah, manifest a pioneering visual interpretation of images of early Christianity as part of the Jewish history, among them Antokolsky's Ecce Homo (1874) and Gottlieb's Christ Preaching at Capernaum (1878–79), where Jesus is portrayed, for the first time in the history of art, as a traditional Semitic Jew. Pioneering this interpretation, the artists tried to analyze anew the pattern of relationship between modern European civilization and Judaism and to demonstrate the universal contribution of Jews to the evolution of this civilization. At the same time, Antokolsky and Gottlieb managed to significantly expand the frames of "the Jewish theme" (depicting scenes of Jewish life and history), both in content and expression, having introduced historical and psychological elements and the cogency of realism. In fact, they turned these themes into a means of introspection revolving around the existential experience and national self-identity of a modern Jewish personality.

In Russia, Vladimir Stasov (1824–1906), a prominent art critic and one of the ideologists of liberal art, enthusiastically welcomed the advent of Jewish artists. Stasov was the first to encourage Antokolsky and later became his friend and patron; he authored a number of articles in which he came forward as an ardent apologist of Jewish creative artistic potential. Being a passionate advocate of the idea of creating a Russian national artistic school, Stasov viewed its emergence as a result of the common creative effort made by all the different peoples inhabiting the Russian empire, Jews in particular. He regarded national ("folk") art as a "truthful" portrayal of history and daily popular life, and urged Jewish artists to turn to Jewish national topics. This appeal elicited a response among several Jewish artists in Russia and Poland, who, being younger contemporaries of Antokolsky and Gottlieb, further developed their art in own manner and became active participants of the artistic life of the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. For a number of painters and sculptors, among them Isaac Asknasii, Moisei Maimon, Pinkhas Geller, Yehuda Pan, Yakov Kruger, Naum *Aronson, and Yosif Gabovich (1862–1939) in Russia, and Lazar Kreinstin, Mauricy Trebacz, Artur Markowicz, Leopold Pilikhovsky and Hanoch Glitzenstein in Poland, "the Jewish theme" became the focus of their creative work, notwithstanding all the differences in the artistic manner. They went into depth expressing the social meaning of Jewishness, imbued it with actual meaning, and made it serve as a tool of reflection and the search for solutions to national problems. Unlike those non-Jewish artists who chose to turn to "the Jewish theme," Jewish artists refrained from criticizing the Jewish people, seeing their mission rather in its apologia. At the same time, while portraying Jewish life in historic or genre paintings, the artists strove to embody novel esthetic and ethic national ideals expressed in the images they created.

Other artists were inspired by different goals while treating "the Jewish topic," such as Isidore *Kaufmann and Leopold Horovitz, who both were of East European origin and lived in Austro-Hungary. Their works reflected nostalgia for the traditional "authentic" Jewish world lost by modernized Jewry. This tendency was especially pronounced in Kaufmann's works portraying an idealized image of the Galician Ḥasidism.

However, quite a few Jewish artists dedicated but a small fraction of their work to Jewish themes, or even chose to distance themselves completely from them, concentrating entirely on purely artistic goals. By the end of the 19th century, though, both groups of Jewish artists in Eastern Europe had gained celebrity and held prominent positions in the artistic life of their countries. In Russia, Asknasii and Maimon, as well as sculptor Ilya *Ginzburg were among the first Jews to become members of the Academy of Arts; Yuli Bershadsky (1869–1956) and Solomon Kishinevsky (1862–1942, died in the Odessa ghetto) were among the leaders of the Association of South Russian Artists in Odessa; Boris Anisfeld and Leon Bakst were notable as leading pioneering artists who brought about dramatic innovation into the Russian stage design; Isaac Levitan in Russia and Abraham Neumann in Poland were recognized as prominent masters of landscape painting.

At the same time, the ideologists of the Jewish national movement (mostly of East European origin, such as Martin *Buber) had "rehabilitated" art as an element within the set of national values and come to regarding it as an indispensable attribute of a "historical" nation. They envisioned the climax of Jewish national revival in the formation of the historical Jewish nation. This vision was the background against which the Jewish artistic milieu was formed in various centers of Eastern Europe, bringing together not only the artists but all Jewish intellectuals who shared the national ideas. It is within this milieu that an image of a Jewish artist was molded as someone who adhered to the national idea and by way of his creative work promoted the evolution of the national identification of his people.

The bond between the Jewish national ideology and art was strikingly reflected in the works of several artists connected to the Zionist movement, among them Wilhelm Wachtel from Galicia, Samuel Hirshenberg from Poland, and especially Ephraim Moses Lilien, a graphic artist from Austro-Hungary. The works of the latter, according to his contemporaries, provided visual means for "bridging" gaps in Zionist theory. Inspired by Zionist ideas and the mission of creating the national art, some of these artists moved to Ereẓ Israel, more precisely to Jerusalem, where in 1906 sculptor Boris Shatz established "Betzalel," the Jewish school of arts.

The rise of the Jewish national movement, advancement of literature in both Yiddish and Hebrew, penetrated by modernist attitudes, the idea of creating "the New Jewish Culture," including "the New Jewish Art" as part of it – all these factors had an impact on evolution of the Weltanschauung of the new generation of Jewish artists. Being of East European origin, these artists emerged prior to World War I. For many of them, it was Paris that became the center of attraction, where they became acquainted with avant-garde art. Artists from Eastern Europe were a sizable and active part of the Parisian international artistic bohemia. In 1912, several young East European artists in La Rouche established the first Jewish artistic group "Makhmadim" ("The Precious Ones"), under the leadership of Leo Koenig (1889–1970), who later became a prominent art critic writing in Yiddish, Isaac Lichtenstein and Joseph Chaikov.

From the early 1910s, among the artists residing in Paris were Jacques Lipchitz, Osip Zadkine, Leon Indenbaum (1892–1981), Chana Orloff, Chaim Soutine, Pinchas Krémègne (1890–1981), originally from Russia; Henry Epstein, Marek Szwarz, Moïse Kisling from Poland; Béla Czobel (1883–1976) from Hungary; and Jules Pascin from Bulgaria, together with many other artists who had come from Eastern Europe. In this circle were such artists as Marc Chagall, Nathan Altman, and Robert Falk, who had come from Russia and already gained celebrity, being regarded by art critics as the most prominent figures of "the New Jewish Art."

Resources. Traditional Art ; Art in Israel ; Art in the USA ; Art and the Holocaust (Art, Jewish Virtual Library, 2008-2013).

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