The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Fine Arts   Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing  
Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing
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The Fine Arts Wing reflects the wide-ranging, interdisciplinary nature of the Museum’s collections, encompassing works of art from across the ages in Western and non-Western cultures. The wing has been reorganized to highlight connections among works from its diverse curatorial collections, which include: European Art; Modern Art; Contemporary Art; Israeli Art; the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; Asian Art; Photography; Design and Architecture; and Prints and Drawings. Installations are organized to underscore visual affinities and shared themes and to inspire new insight into the arts of different times and places, as well as an appreciation of the common threads of human culture. The reconfigured wing includes the Museum’s first permanent galleries for Israeli art; more than doubled gallery space for the Museum’s extensive collections in modern art; providing meaningful connecting points between Western and non-Western holdings; and a full 2,200-square-meter (7,200-square-foot) gallery floor devoted to changing displays from the Museum’s collection of contemporary art. 

Highlights newly on view include: 

• The Noel and Harriette Levine Photography Collection, comprising some 125 works spanning over 170 years of the history of the medium, is shown in its first public display since it was gifted to the Museum in 2008.

• The Jacques Lipchitz Collection, in a unique kunstkammer-like display, includes thousands of artifacts from Africa, Oceania, the Americas, Asia, medieval Europe, and the ancient world. The objects, assembled by Lipchitz throughout his lifetime, are presented for the first time in the Modern Art galleries, together with works by the sculptor which they inspired.

• Gustave Courbet, Jura Landscape with Shepherd and Donkey (ca. 1866), depicting Courbet’s famous donkey, Gérôme, in the “Free Country” region frequently depicted by the artist.

• Alberto Giacometti, Diego in the Studio (1952), a melancholic portrait of the artist’s brother, and the first painting by this influential 20th-century painter and sculptor to enter the Museum’s collection, on display for the first time.

• Ohad Meromi, The Boy from South Tel Aviv (2001), a colossal sculpture of an adolescent African boy, which communicates the dissonances between the demeaning poverty of refugee life and the majesty of the scale of the work, against the calm backdrop of the museum as a  cultural sanctuary. This 2008 acquisition is displayed in the Museum’s renewed Upper Entrance Hall.

• Carlos Amorales, Black Cloud, (latent studio) (2007), a monumental installation of 15,000 black paper moths. This work, acquired in 2009, is on view for the first time in the inaugural contemporary art exhibition Still / Moving.

• Cup in the form of a boy clinging to a lotus stalk, China (17th century), carved from a rhinoceros horn, is one of the most important and beautiful objects of its kind in the world. The rhinoceros, now extinct in China, was treasured for its horn, and cups made from this material were believed to neutralize poison.

• Leopard head hip mask from Benin Kingdom, Nigeria (17th century), a rare pendant worn by high-ranking officials on their left hip, under a scabbard or sword. Donated to the Museum in honor of the inauguration of its renewed galleries, the mask is expertly cast in brass with copper studs inserted through an intricate process that testifies to its authenticity.

The curatorial team of the Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing is led by Suzanne Landau, Yulla and Jacques Lipchitz Chief Curator of Fine Arts. Studio de Lange Design, Tel Aviv, oversaw the re-design of the wing, with additional design support by Oren Sagiv and Halina Hamou.

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