Page 38 - Studio International - August 1965
P. 38

Head of  Gudea.  Late  Sume,,Dn                                           and  Haber  are  more  impressively  at  home  in  their
      c.  2100  BC
                                                                                native  landscape.
                                                                                  One  aspect  of  the  sculpture  display  is  echoed in  the
                                                                                small group of contemporary paintings in the  Museum.
                                                                                This  I can only describe as the too dominant influence
                                                                                of William Sandberg, the distinguished former  Director
                                                                                of  the  Stedelijk  Museum,  Amsterdam,  who  has  been
                                                                                acting  as  special  adviser  to the  Israel  Museum.  Sand­
                                                                                berg,  it is generally agreed,  is one of the most brilliant,
                                                                                creative museum officials in the world, an educator and
                                                                                designer of exceptional talent. It is right that his views on
                                                                                modern art should be reflected in his work, but  I hope it
                                                                                is  not  churlish  to  suggest  that  this  influence  is  too
                                                                                strongly  felt  in  a  new  national  museum  with,  as  yet,
                                                                                limited  coverage  of  modern  art.  Thus  the  sculpture
                                                                                garden includes a large group of  Dutch sculpture, some
                                                                                of  it  good,  but  including  three  unworthy  efforts  by
                                                                                 Appel  Similarly  the  limited  display  of  contemporary
                                                                                painting includes an unbalancing preponderance of the
                                                                                 Cobra  Group  and other  Dutch artists.  In a  fuller,  more
                                                                                 comprehensive survey these inclusions would be unob­
                                                                                jectionable. but in Jerusalem, where very little space is
                                                                                devoted to native Israeli art, they seem overbearing.
                                                                                  In  that  parenthetic  criticism  I  have  forestalled  com­
                                                                                 ment  on  the  contents  of  the  Museum  proper.  The
                                                                                 Archaeological  collection  is  vast  and  fascinating,
                                                                                 although  one  must  not  expect  the  artistic  glories  of
                                                                                 Cairo,  Athens or the British Museum. Jerusalem offers a
                                                                                 treasure house for the student of the  Bible and the pre­
                                                                                history  of  Palestine,  with  illustrations  from  the  Greek,
                                                                                 Roman,  Christian  and  Arab  periods.  Among  the  out­
                                                                                 standing items are well preserved Synagogue mosaics,
                                                                                 indicating  an  early  relaxation  of  the  Commandment
                                                                                 forbidding the creation of images, the superb Sumerian

      Interior of  tho.  Modern  Pa,nt1ng
      Pavil,on.  Israel  National  Museum

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