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Jewish Museum (New York)

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One of the museums located on the famous Fifth Avenue Museum Mile in New York is the Jewish Museum. It is the largest museum of Jewish art, culture, and history in the United States.

The history of the museum began in early 1920, when Judge Sulzberger presented the Jewish community with its personal collection, which is part of the cultural heritage of the Jews. Over time, due to donations from patrons, the collection grew so large that it was allocated a small room.

In 1944, Mrs. Warburg, the wife of the famous philanthropist, gave the museum her home. The building was built at the beginning of the 20th century in the Gothic French style, in 1968 an extension was added to it.

The main direction of the museum collection reflects the culture and art of the Jewish people, shows the unity of the Jews living in different parts of the world.

This is the largest collection in the world. Here you can see paintings, sculptures, archaeological artifacts, in a word, almost everything from ancient times to modern times.

Phone: +1 212-423-3200

Location: USA, New York, Fifth Avenue, 1109

Coordinates: N 40.78545700, east -73.95720000

Photo and description

The Jewish Museum of New York is the owner of the largest collection of objects of Jewish art and culture outside of Israel. It is located in a beautiful mansion on Fifth Avenue, on that stretch of it, which is called the Museum Mile.

The story of this six-story mansion is curious. It was built for itself in 1908 according to the project of architect Charles Pirpont Henry Gilbert, philanthropist Felix Moritz Warburg. A famous banker, he became famous for helping starving Jews after the First World War and during the Great Depression (in modern Israel, the village of Kfar Warburg is named after him). The building, built in the style of the French Renaissance, was so magnificent that Warburg's father-in-law, Jacob Schiff, was afraid of a wave of envy and anti-Semitism. The widow of Warburg Frieda in 1944 donated the mansion to the Jewish Museum.

The museum’s collection itself was founded much earlier, in 1904. It was based on twenty-six pieces of Jewish ceremonial art that Judge Meyer Sulzberger collected and donated to the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Subsequently, the collection was replenished through private donations, and in 1947 it was opened to the public in the former mansion of Warburg.

Now the collection has more than 26 thousand exhibits: paintings, sculptures, archaeological artifacts, Jewish ceremonial art. Here are the works of artists such as Marc Chagall, James Tissot, George Seagal, Eleanor Antin, Deborah Cass. Some archaeological artifacts are absolutely unique - for example, a bronze vessel from the time of the Bar Kochba rebellion, discovered in a cave in the Judean desert. The part of the wall of the synagogue from Isfahan (Persia) dates back to the 16th century, still striking with the brightness of polychrome tiles.

The attention of visitors is attracted by a wonderful document - a colorful marriage contract of 1776 (Vercelli, Italy), executed on parchment. Next to the text here, with humor, a magnificent wedding is depicted - the bride and groom in wedding clothes, musicians, cheerful guests. The brass kitchen pot from Frankfurt dates back to 1579: this is indicated by the Hebrew inscription, which simultaneously defines both the year and the purpose of the pot - to store hot stew until Saturday, when kitchen care is prohibited. The ark of the Torah of the end of the 19th century, made by an emigrant from Russia, the father of twelve children, and the junkman Abraham Shulkin, is amazingly beautiful. The master proudly included his own name in the painting of the ark.

Exhibitions

The Jewish Museum in New York is located at its Museum Mile in Manhattan, in the Carnegie Hill quarter on the Upper East Side. The museum is housed in Building 1109 on Fifth Avenue.

Story

The Jewish Museum was founded on January 20, 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated Jewish Theological Seminary a collection of 26 art objects belonging to the Jewish cultural tradition. In 1931, the meeting was transferred to Broadway, to the building on 122nd Street, where the “Museum of Jewish Ceremonial Items” was created in a separate room. Thanks to the financing of patrons of Jewish origin, the original collection was significantly expanded. In January 1944, Frida Warburg, the widow of the famous philanthropist Felix Warburg, who died in 1937, hands over their family home for the permanent exhibition of the Jewish Museum, which first received visitors in May 1947.

The museum building was designed by architect C. Hilbert in 1908. Its facade contains elements of French Gothic. In 1963, an extension in a modernist style was made to it, in 1989 it was demolished and replaced with another, designed by Kevin Rocha, more appropriate to the style of the main building. Its opening in 1993 allowed to double the exhibition space of the museum.

Collection

The museum collection contains more than 26 thousand items and, accordingly, is the largest collection in the field of Jewish culture in the world. The main theme of the exhibits is the reflection of Jewish history and culture, including recent times and modern times. These are primarily paintings, sculptures, archaeological finds, objects of worship, coins, ethnographic collections, the press, etc. The collection aims to trace and convey to the visitor the idea of ​​the continuity of the Jewish spiritual tradition from ancient times to the present day, about the cultural unity of people living in different doomsday representatives of this people. A long-term exhibition called “Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey» («Culture and Persistence: The Jewish Way»)

In the 1960s, the Jewish Museum did a lot to popularize contemporary art, especially in the framework of the exhibition organized by him in 1966 Primary Structuresthat opened the way to such a cultural trend as minimalism. Around the same time, exhibitions of the largest representatives of the American avant-garde - Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Philip Guston, are held here. In the 70s of the XX century, the museum takes an orientation towards maintaining the historical Jewish cultural tradition, holds exhibitions of works by Jewish artists.

Exhibitions

Over the past 20 years, the Jewish Museum has organized several large and highly successful exhibitions within its walls, including:

  • in 1985 - Montparnasse District: Jewish Artists in Paris, 1905-1945 (The Circle of Montparnasse: Jewish Artists in Paris, 1905-1945)
  • in 1987 - The Dreyfus Affair: Art, Truth, and Justice
  • in 1991 - Local painting in America: Jewish artists in New York, 1900-1945 (Painting a Place in America: Jewish Artists in New York, 1900-1945)
  • in 1998 - An Expressionist in Paris: The Paintings of Chaim Soutine
  • in 2001 - Voices, image, gestures: Favorites from the collection of the Jewish Museum, 1945–2000 (Voice, Image, Gesture: Selections from The Jewish Museum’s Collection, 1945–2000)
  • in 2002 - New York: Capital of Photography (New York: Capital of Photography)
  • in 2004 - Modigliani: The Emergence of a Legend (Amedeo Modigliani, Beyond the Myth) (2004)
  • in 2008 - Action / Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning and American Art, 1940-1976

Who we are

Welcome to the Jewish Museum, a museum in New York City at the intersection of art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds. Whether you visit our home in the elegant Warburg mansion on Museum Mile, or engage with us online, there is something for everyone. Through our exhibitions, programs, and collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media, visitors can journey through 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture from around the world.

Our mission

The Jewish Museum is dedicated to the enjoyment, understanding, and preservation of the artistic and cultural heritage of the Jewish people through its unparalleled collections and distinguished exhibitions. Learn more

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