Page 135 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 11 (1952-1952)

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JEWISH ART BOOKS AND ALBUMS
By
R
a c h e l
W
i s c h n i t z e r
T
HIS bibliography is intended for the reader who would like
to own a book rather than use it occasionally in the library.
The works listed are generally available. As for books published
in Europe and destroyed in the Hitler era, they are referred to in
the bibliographies attached to some of the listed publications
(where also references may be found for specialized articles).
Copies of the destroyed editions and out-of-print books may be
used in some of the Jewish and public libraries.
Jewish art comprises works of Jewish artists. Besides it in-
eludes works designed for Jewish devotional uses, such as syna-
gogue buildings and ceremonial objects, produced in earlier times
often by non-Jews owing to Jewish disabilities. A synagogue
designed by a non-Jewish architect may be regarded as belonging
to the Jewish religious culture insofar as it reflects its purpose and
represents an effort on the part of the artist to understand and
serve this culture.
Now, if the cultural climate of a particular group puts a distinc-
tive stamp upon a work of art, it is also affected by the general
cultural currents of the time which tend to level off the forms of
expression of the different groups. The Gothic style, the Renais-
sance, the Baroque and the 18th century revivals had a wide
diffusion beyond the frontiers of the countries in which they
originated.
I t may be safely said therefore that an American synagogue of
pre-Revolutionary days would be in terms of style some combina-
tion of the Baroque and Palladian classicism no matter whether the
designer was Peter Harrison, an Englishman, or a Sephardic Jew
from Amsterdam or London. There would be individual varia-
tions, no doubt, but these would be limited by the general stand-
ards of taste of the period. This makes Jewish art appear to be in
the final analysis the product of its time. So is the art of any group
not cut off from the main stream of human thought and emotional
experience.
But what about such works of art which people feel to be
eminently Jewish? When looking at a Peretz illustration by Yossel
Bergner you are moved, you are stirred, you know this is gen-
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