Saturday, October 4, 2008

Art: Jozef Israels Painting Donated to Israel Museum

Art: Jozef Israels Painting Donated to Israel Museum

The Jerusalem Post reports that children of the prominent Italian Jewish Bedarida and Toaff families have donated a Jozef Israels (1824-1911) painting to the Israel Museum.

To read article and see photo.

The painting is Fisherwomen of Zandvoort, from 1890, and it will be the eighth Israels' work in the Museum's European art collection.

Israels is one the most important painters of the 19th century, a leader in the realist school that sought to depict the lives and occupations of the lower and working classes. This work is one of many that depict rural workign scenes, and which were highly prized as emblematic of the virtues of hard working (and sometime long-suffering) Dutch laborers. He also painted urban scenes and his work greatly influence other leading european artists such as his friend Max Lieberman. Israels did not classify himself as a "Jewish artist," but nor did he shrink from his Jewish roots and associations. Several of his works were included in the 1901 fifth Zionist Congress Exhibition in Basel, Switzerland. He successfully straddled Jewish, Dutch and European cultural boundaries, to be acclaimed by many of his contemporaries as the "new Rembrandt."

Israels' 1903 painting the Jewish Wedding in the Rijksmuseum is one of the most widely reproduced modern paintings on a Jewish theme.

The donated painting belonged to art collector and scholar Guido Bedarida of Livorno, Italy (d. 1962) and his wife Tia Toaff (d. 2002), who was the sister of Elio Toaff, the emeritus chief rabbi of Rome. Her father was Alfredo Sabato Toaff, chief rabbi of Livorno.

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