Page 136 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 11 (1952-1952)

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uinely Jewish. In many people this art evokes childhood memories,
the vision of the little town in Europe left behind and now lost
forever. We admire that great gift, that power of evocation. But
we cannot live by the past alone. Someone said recently before
a picture showing life in a kvutza: this is not Jewish art. Such
emotional blocks as revealed in this reaction to modern Israel art
are significant. They account for a certain esthetic attitude,
justified, of course, because the shock of the recent catastrophe
is hard to bear. But the young generation will not live on retro-
spection fed by guilt feelings and self-pity. As a matter of fact,
Jewish art, a form of Jewish emotional life, is rather expanding,
not shrinking.
The interest in Jewish art has increased tremendously owing to
the recovery of architectural remains, paintings and carvings in
Israel and the ancient Diaspora. In the face of this discovery of
an ancient Jewish art, the subsequent periods appear in a different
light. The medieval illustrations in Hebrew Bibles, Haggadahs,
prayerbooks, Mishne Torah manuscripts and other writings
possibly were inspired by Jewish models now lost. This would
imply a continuous artistic tradition. Today research is being
carried on to trace these sources.
Jewish artists, usually self-taught, all through the Renaissance
and the 17th and 18th centuries kept up as well as they could with
contemporary developments until the emancipation made it
possible for Jews to be trained as architects, painters and sculptors.
Our art literature is growing. A number of important publica-
tions have been produced since the 1940s in the United States, in
London, in Israel. We have interpretative studies and picture
albums, scholarly and more popular works. The annotations below
can only briefly characterize the books listed. The interested
student may consult for further guidance the book reviews which
usually appear in
In Jewish Bookland
and other periodicals.
An album of paintings, drawings and sculpture by sixty Jewish artists of America,
Europe and Israel. New York, The Menorah Journal, vol. XXXVII, no. 3
(1949). 60 plates.
Valuable, representative selection.
Art of Israel. Jerusalem, J. Gerson Brenner.
Twenty small color reproductions of Israeli paintings.
e r g n e r
, Y
o s s e l
Fifty-nine illustrations to all the folk tales of I. L. Peretz.
Introductions by S. Niger and J. I. Segal. Montreal, Hertz and Edelstein,
1950. 59 plates.
Text in English and Yiddish. Includes index of the stories and detailed
captions to the pictures. The artist dedicates his beautiful drawings to the
memory of his teachers and friends of the Jewish folk schools in Warsaw
killed by the Nazis.
r i d e n b a u g h
, C
a r l
Peter Harrison: first American architect. Chapel Hill,
N. C., University of North Carolina Press, 1949. 195 p.
Analyses in detail the architecture of the Touro synagogue in Newport,