Page 39 - Studio International - August 1965
P. 39

The  Israel  National  Museum

                                  Head  of  Gudea,  the  Voss-Hahn  collection  of  Meso­  Most  disappointing.  as  I  have  indicated.  is  the
                                  potamian  seals,  the  Borowski  ivories.  and  extensive   inadequate  display  of contemporary  Israeli  art.  Ardon,
                                  cabinets  of  coins.  Of  exceptional  beauty  and  range  is   the  doyen  of  Israeli  painters  is  present,  with  Agam,
                                  the  Persian collection. including Am/ash ceramics. gold   Tumarkin.  Zaritsky.  Stematsky.  Lea  Nikel-a  very
                                  vessels. sculpture and a magnificent  17th century tiled   arbitrary  choice.   Visitors  to  Jerusalem  will  rightly
                                  Prayer  Niche.                                     expect  the  National  Museum  to  provide  evidence  of
                                   The richest section of the  Beza lei collection is devoted   the  not  inconsiderable  national  talent.
                                  to Jewish religious and ethnographic art. It is probably   For the opening of  the  Museum in  May  a number of
                                  the finest in the world. including costumes. jewellery, a   special exhibitions were mounted. The most impressive
                                  complete  early  18th  century  rococo  Synagogue  from   was  a  group  of  fifty  drawings  and  etchings  by  Rem­
                                  Italy, 14th and 15th century illuminated Hebrew manu­  brandt on  Old Testament themes.  No Christian artist so
                                  scripts.  11 th  century  carvings  from  the  Maimonides   immersed  himself  in  Jewish  thought  and  character.
                                  Synagogue in  Cairo.  and hundreds of religious  appur­  Living  and  working  in  Amsterdam's  Jewish  quarter.  a
                                  tenances  made  for ritual and  domestic  use.     free  haven  for  Spanish  refugees.  Rembrandt's  neigh­
                                   Inevitably  for  a  new.  non-European  country,  the   bours  and  friends  were  the  models  for  some  of  his
                                  Museum is weakest in Western painting and sculpture.   greatest  masterpieces.  In  contrast  the  small  group  of
                                  One  cannot  expect  to  find  in  Israel  the  masterpieces   Chaga/I  paintings  and  Lipshitz  sculpture  on  Jewish
                                  of  the  great  European  or  American  collections;  but  a   themes seemed thin in content and imaginatively weak.
                                  good  start  has  been  made.  A  strong  group  of  Dutch   The main loan exhibition was entitled The Bible in Art.
                                  paintings  includes  Rembrandt.  Ruisdael.  Guyp,  Van   The  Old  Testament,  of  course.  has  been  one  of  the
                                  Goyen.  de Witte and Van der  Neer. There are works by   seminal sources of inspiration  for European artists.  but
                                  Tintoretto.  El  Greco.  Rubens.  Murillo  and  Magnasco.   unfortunately public collections find it difficult to loan
                                  French art of the 19th and 20th centuries is richly repre­  their greatest treasures.  Among the  outstanding  works
                                  sented  by  Delacroix.  Courbet.  Monet,  Renoir.  Degas;   in  Jerusalem  were  Rembrandt's  Moses  from  Berlin.
                                  L'ecole  de  Paris  by  Bonnard.  Picasso.  Matisse.  Dufy,   Rubens·  The Dead Abel.  a fine Van  Dyke Abraham  and
                                  Redon.  Leger  Jewish artists include  Chagall.  Soutine.   Isaac  from  Prague.  a  group  of  grisaille  paintings  by
                                  Pascin.  Kisling.  Oppenheim.  Israels.  Liebermann,  Ury,   Mantegna, some magnificent  Russian icons from  Reck­
                                  Janke/ Adler.  Mention should also be made of the  well   linghausen  and  Poussin's  The  Finding  of Moses  from
                                  stocked  graphics  cabinets.  with  master drawings from   the  Louvre.
                                  Durer  to  contemporary  artists.  In  addition  there  are   Karl  Katz.  the young,  energetic  Curator of the  Bezalel
                                  good examples of Egon Schiele.  Munch.  Klee.  Magritte.   Museum  has  described  its  foundation  in  1906  as
                                  Feininger,  Bissier.  Among recent gifts there is a Francis   ·a  tabernacle  in  the  wilderness·.  That  is  still  a  good
                                  Bacon  portrait  of  Lucien  Freud.  and  works  by  Philip   description.  even  though  the  wilderness  has  since
                                  Guston.  Sou/ages.  Stuart Davis.  Dubuffet and Vasarely.   borne other  fruit.                  ■

          Modern  Jerusalem  from
          the Sculpture Garden

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