Jews and Modernity
Larry Silver, Editor
With emancipation in nineteenth-century Europe, Jewish artists at last had an opportunity to develop their new professional vocation. At first only a few notable painters emerged, but in Berlin before World War I, Jewish artists and art professionals dominated the new, progressive art world; their successes quickly spread to other parts of the globe, as Jewish history came to encompass not only Europe but also America and Palestine, later Israel.
This book, accompanying an exhibition of graphic works on display at the Arthur Ross Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania, examines the vicissitudes of Jewish art activity over the span of the twentieth century. It focuses on a variety of key issues in the life and work of Jewish artists, including emigration and immigration, dilemmas of women artists, Zionism and the land of Israel, the trauma of the Holocaust, the importance of New York as an artistic center, and the relation to other Jewish creative artists (in theater, in film, in music, in literature). Separate essays—by the volume editor, Harry Rand, Juliet Bellow, and Freyda Spira—address in detail the issues of diaspora and universalism, the New York School of Abstract Expressionism, women artists and their spaces, and the Berlin world of graphic artists and their publishers.
Contributors: Harry Rand is Curator of Cultural History at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution; he previously served as Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the National Museum of American Art. Juliet Bellow is a doctoral student in the history of art program at the University of Pennsylvania. Freyda Spira is a doctoral student in the history of art program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Larry Silver is Farquhar Professor of History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania. A specialist in early modern painting and graphics in Germany and the Low Countries, he has published widely and in several fields of art history, including the survey text Art in History (1993) and several recent publications on Jewish art. He has served as President of the College Art Association.