Page 77 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 5 (1946-1947)

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WISCHNITZER-BERNSTEIN ---- BOOKS ON JEWISH ART
65
an array of such works; the oldest, American
Jewish Encyclopedia
published in 1901-1906, the
Russo-Jewish Encyclopedia
of 1908-
1912, the German
Juedisches Lexikon
of 1927-1930 and the German
and Hebrew
Encyclopaedia Judaica
of 1928-1934, the American
Universal Jewish Encyclopedia
of 1939-1943, and the
Yiddish En-
cyclopedia
begun in Paris in 1939 and continuing in New York.
I t may be noted that a new Hebrew encyclopedia is now being
prepared in Palestine. The dates of these publications illustrate
the rapid changes in Jewish political and cultural life and indicate
the need for repeated and periodic revisions of organized data.
Opinion in matters of Jewish art was molded in the old
Ost
und West,
the
Rimmon
, and the
Milgrom
, all published in Berlin,
the
Menorah
of Vienna, the
Miesiecznik Zydowski
of Lodz and
the New York
Menorah Journal.
Most valuable are records collected in yearbooks. Tachau’s
article on synagogue architecture in the
American Jewish Year
Book
of 1926 is still of value. The various weeklies, and especially,
the publications of rabbinical organizations, although not directly
concerned with art, often include important information. The art
student would appreciate every reference to synagogue architects,
their names and the exact dates of the structures built or re-
modeled by them in publications on congregational history.
HISTORIANS OF JEWISH ART
There are quite a few Jewish art historians in this country. Max
Osborn has occasionally listed in the
Congress Weekly
names of
recent arrivals from Nazi-Europe. However, we have to remember
that the history of art is a rather new branch of Jewish interest
and research. When David Kaufmann, the noted scholar, set out
about 1898 to publish the Sarayevo Haggadah, an illustrated medi-
eval Hebrew manuscript, he had to ask Julius von Schlosser to
take charge of the illustrations as he could not find a trained
Jewish art student to do the job. Rabbi Bruno Italiener had no
such trouble with the Darmstadt Haggadah in 1927. He won
the collaboration of August L. Mayer, a noted art historian and
a Jew. Still the results could have been more satisfactory had
Mayer had a better Jewish background. He was unfamiliar with
Hebrew manuscript illumination. He ignored the scope of this
branch of research and took his task too lightheartedly. I t there-
fore became clear that just as in any other phase of art, Jewish
art requires years of study. Could there be better evidence to
convince our skeptics that Jewish art exists?
As important as special training and experience of long stand-
ing, an occasional contribution of a scholar like Erwin Panofsky