The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
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About the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The Israel Museum is the largest cultural institution in the State of Israel and is ranked among the world’s leading art and archaeology museums. Founded in 1965, the Museum houses encyclopedic collections, including works dating from prehistory to the present day, in its Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Jewish Art and Life Wings, and features the most extensive holdings of biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world.

The Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2015, with a year-long program devoted to an exploration of Israel’s aesthetic culture in the 50 years before and after its founding

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Rachel Schechter
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The Israel Museum's Pablo Picasso Exhibition chronicles the artistic development of one of the 20th century's most influential figures

A showcase of artistic highlights from the father of modern art, a figure who has impacted and inspired contemporary artistic creation like no other. For nearly 80 of his 91 years, Picasso devoted himself to artistic production that contributed significantly to modern art—and paralleled key political transformations in the 20th century.

Jerusalem, Israel (July 4, 2016) — The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, presents a diverse collection chronicling the development of one of the world's artistic masters – known for his technical inventiveness, his radical departure from classical methods, his political expression and unparalleled impact on modern art forms. On view from July 5 through November 19, 2016, Pablo Picasso: Many Faces details the exciting evolution of this towering figure, from his despairing "Blue Period” at the turn of the twentieth century through the “Rose Period,”  “Cubism,” “Surrealism” and later works which delved into contemporary political motifs. 
Renowned for endlessly reinventing himself and switching between styles, experts have observed that Picasso's works appear to be the product of five or six great artists rather than just one.  Pablo Picasso: Many Faces reflects on the artist's dynamic output, as seen through 250 drawings and prints from the Israel Museum’s own holdings (consisting of 800 Picasso works), amplified by important loans from other museum collections, including Musée national Picasso, Paris;  Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. 

The exhibit consists of four outstanding portfolios: 

La Suite des Saltimbanques (1904-1904):  A series of fourteen loosely-related etchings and drypoints created from late 1904 through 1905. Picasso’s first major body of work in printmaking, these circus-themed prints mark the beginning of the artist's Rose period.

The Vollard Suite (1930-1937): The complete collection of one of the most important series of prints executed in the 20th century. Including 100 etchings created for his dealer Ambroise Voller.

The Dream and Lie of Franco (1937): Two sheets of prints that are regarded as Picasso's first overtly political work and prefigures his iconic political painting Guernica. The etchings satirise Spanish Generalissimo  Francisco Franco.
Suite 347 (France, March-October 1968): Around 100 of the artist's last hand-signed etchings are on view. The series is a reprisal of Picasso’s artistic autobiography, replete with references to art historical influences and to his own life’s work.

Pablo Picasso: Many Faces also displays paintings, prints, and etchings on recurring favourite motifs, including minotaur (mythical creatures), women, and corrida (bullfights). Highlights include:
Buste de femme/ Bust of a Woman  (1907): Oil on canvas, on loan from the Musée Picasso, Paris,
Head of a Sleeping Woman (1907): Oil on canvas, demonstrating Picasso’s early experimentation with the female figure.  On loan from The Museum of Modern Art, NY,
Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier) (1910): Oil on canvas, highlights the pinnacle of Picasso’s Analytic Cubism. On loan from The Museum of Modern Art, NY,
Figures by the Sea I (1932): Oil on canvas, from the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, demonstrates Picasso's shift from sculptural Surrealism in painting to the distortion and abstraction that marks such works as:
Femme assise aux bras croisés (1937), 
Portrait of Dora Maar (1937), from the Musée Picasso, Paris
Sitting Woman (1949) from the Israel Museum’s own holdings

The exhibition is curated by Tanya Sirakovich, Michael Bromberg Head Curator, Ruth and Joseph Bromberg Department of Prints and Drawings at the Israel Museum.

First Ever Exhibition Exploring Rich Cross-Cultural Dialogue between 

Egypt and Canaan during 2nd Millennium BCE

Opens at Israel Museum in March 2016

Unprecedented Display of Approximately 680 Ancient Artifacts 

Illustrates Untold Story of Exchange 

Jerusalem, Israel (November 24, 2015)—A major exhibition opening at the Israel Museum will provide audiences with an unprecedented opportunity to explore the cross-cultural ties between Egypt and Canaan during the second millennium BCE. On view March 4 through October 25, 2016, Pharaoh in Canaan: The Untold Story presents more than 680 objects that reflect the cross-fertilization of ritual practices and aesthetic vocabularies between these two distinct ancient cultures. From large-scale royal victory stelae and anthropoid coffins to scarabs and amulets, the display features an array of archaeological artifacts discovered in Israel and Egypt—including many drawn from the Museum’s own collections, together with major loans from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.; the Louvre Museum, Paris; the Kunsthistorisches Museum; Vienna; the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy; and numerous other collections. 


Canaanite  amulet of a  schematic nude goddess in Egyptian style, Tell el-Ajjul, 15th century BCE, gold

“This exhibition explores a crucial, yet forgotten chapter in the history of ancient civilizations. Pharaoh in Canaan tells the revelatory story of the cross-cultural dynamics between Canaan and Egypt and the resulting and often astonishing aesthetic, ritual, and cultural affinities that developed between these two distinct peoples,” said James S. Snyder, the Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “It is especially appropriate that the Israel Museum tell this remarkable archaeological story from its setting in Jerusalem and with its rich collections that trace the ancient roots of the region around us.”
The story of Egypt and Canaan is most commonly known from the biblical narratives of Joseph and Moses in Egypt. The exhibition expands this story by examining two crucial periods in history: the settlement and rise of a Canaanite dynasty in the eastern Egyptian Delta during the Middle Bronze Age (circa 1700-1550 BCE); and the extended period of Egyptian rule over Canaan by the Pharaohs during the Late Bronze Age (circa 1500-1150 BCE), both of which led to the commingling of deities, arts, rituals, and technologies between the two cultures. 
The exhibition will feature a variety of Egyptian and Egyptian-inspired objects from Canaanite sites as well as illustrative objects from Egypt, ranging from large-scale architectural reconstructions to small-scale personal effects. 
Exhibition highlights include: 
Egyptian Scarabs: Bearing divine and royal names and images, these objects were found in Canaanite tombs, reflecting the adaptation of Egyptian burial customs by the local Canaanite elite. 
Egyptian Private Stelae: Made locally by Egyptians stationed at the Canaanite site of Beth Shean, these stelae depict Egyptians worshipping Canaanite gods, among them the goddess Anat, who was also worshipped in Egypt at that same time, and the god Mekal, a local god of Beth Shean.    
Fragment of a Monumental Sphinx of Mycerinus: The only Old Kingdom royal statue found in the Levantine region, this fragment was likely an official gift either to a local ruler or to the temple at Hazor when it was a site of great power during the Late Bronze Age.
Tutankhamun Inscribed Solid Gold Ring: The only object excavated in Israel bearing the name of this king, the ring was found in an elaborate tomb in Tell el-`Ajjul together with other Egyptian and Egyptian-style jewelry that reflects the local emulation of Egyptian aesthetic traditions.
Statue of Ramesses III: Placed in a temple at Beth Shean—one of the most important Egyptian strongholds in Canaan during the time of the empire—this is the only evidence of a locally made royal statue in Canaan—and a stunning example of Egyptian cultic activity in Canaanite temples. 
Royal Stelae: Two stelae of Seti I erected at Beth Shean commemorate victorious military campaigns of the king to suppress local rebellions and reinforce Egyptian control over Canaan.
Anthropoid Coffins: Locally made Egyptian-style clay coffins, found mainly at Egyptian sites in Canaan, served both Egyptians stationed at these bases as well as Canaanites working in their service.
Exhibition Organization and Catalogue
Pharaoh in Canaan: The Untold Story is curated by Dr. Daphna Ben-Tor, Jeannette and Jonathan Rosen Curator of Egyptian Archaeology, and Dr. Eran Arie, Frieder Burda Curator of Iron Age and Persian Period Archaeology. The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue in Hebrew and English with introductory chapters arranged chronologically and thematically, each accompanied by associated object entries, and two appendices dealing with the Biblical narrative and with the birth of the Alphabet.  The exhibition is made possible in part by The William Davidson Foundation, Troy, MI.


James S. Snyder assume newly created role of International President for the Israel Museum's worldwide activities

Starting January 1, 2017

After serving as Director for 20 years

Museum Transformed under Snyder’s Leadership with Unprecedented Growth in Attendance, Collections, Programming, Facilities, Endowment, and Global Profile

Museum Board Commences Search for New Director

Jerusalem, Israel (February 28, 2016) — The Israel Museum today announced that James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Museum, will assume the newly created role of International President for the Museum’s worldwide activities, effective January 1, 2017. In his new capacity,  Mr. Snyder will spearhead the ongoing development of the Museum’s extensive international network of Friends organizations, which has played an unprecedented role in the growth of the Museum, its programming, collections, and facilities. Mr. Snyder will also continue his work on building the Museum’s relationships with sister institutions worldwide and will support the Museum’s next director in strategic planning, professional staff development, and program planning.

The Museum has formed a committee that is commencing its search for Mr. Snyder’s successor. Upon the appointment of the new director, effective January 1, 2017, Mr. Snyder will also be awarded the title of Director Emeritus. 

“James has transformed the Israel Museum in every way, firmly establishing it as one of the world’s great museums,” stated Isaac Molho, Chairman of the Board of Directors.  “His signature leadership and warmth have created an institution that stands as a remarkable living legacy for the people of Israel and the world. His future role as International President will ensure that the Museum continues to strengthen the benefits it provides to the audiences we serve today and for future generations.”

“I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of my colleagues on the staff of the Israel Museum and to our Board of Directors and our International Friends around the world for being such wonderful partners in advancing the success of this amazing institution,” stated Mr. Snyder. “I look forward to continuing our work together in this great and meaningful venture.” 

Mr. Snyder joined the Museum as director in 1997, leading it through the most dramatic growth since its founding and strengthening its stature as one of the world’s foremost museums.  Under his leadership, annual attendance has grown from 400,000 ten years ago to more than 800,000, and the Museum’s endowment has increased more than fivefold to $200 million. Mr. Snyder also spearheaded a comprehensive series of major infrastructure and architectural upgrades, culminating in 2010 with a $100 million expansion and renewal of the entire Museum, designed to enhance and unify the visitor experience throughout the Museum’s 20-acre campus. That project also included the complete reinstallation of the Museum’s collection galleries, doubling them in scale from 100,000 to 200,000 square feet, while installing 30% fewer works to give clarity to the Museum’s universal narrative.

During Mr. Snyder’s tenure, the Museum greatly expanded its encyclopedic holdings across all of its collecting areas, with the addition of more than 55,000 individual objects, works of art, and collections, culminating with a collection-building campaign during the Museum’s 50th anniversary in 2015, which alone attracted gifts of more than 20 collections numbering several thousand objects and nearly 500 works of art. Among the acquisition highlights during the past two decades have been: in Archaeology, the Renée and Robert Belfer Collection of Ancient Glass and Greek and Roman Antiquity and the Demirjian Family European Bronze Age Collection; in Jewish Art and Life, an illuminated Mishneh Torah of Maimonides (ca. 1457), acquired jointly with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the restored 18th Century Tzedek ve-Shalom Synagogue from Paramaribo, Suriname; and, in the Fine Arts, Nicolas Poussin’s “Destruction and Sack of the Temple of Jerusalem” (1625),     Rembrandt van Rijn’s “St. Peter in Prison” (1631), the Arturo Schwarz Collection of Dada and Surrealist Art, Jackson Pollock’s “Horizontal Composition” (1949), the Noel and Harriette Levine Collection of Photography, and Gerhard Richter’s “Abstraktes Bild” (1997); together with an active and ongoing program of acquisitions in contemporary art, including site-specific commissions by such artists as Olafur Eliasson, Anish Kapoor, and Doug and Mike Starn.

Mr. Snyder also focused on strengthening the Museum’s regional and international impact, exemplified by an ambitious series of temporary exhibitions in Jerusalem and traveling exhibitions worldwide, extending to North and South America, Europe, and Asia. These have included 50th Anniversary year exhibitions such as A Brief History of Humankind (2015), featuring 14 pivotal objects from across the Museum’s collections from prehistoric times through the present day, complemented by signature works from the Museum’s contemporary holdings, and Twilight over Berlin: Masterworks from the Nationalgalerie, 1905-1945 (2015); and, in recent years, James Turrell: Light Spaces (2014);  Dress Codes: Revealing the Jewish Wardrobe (2014); Herod the Great: The King’s Final Journey (2013); A World Apart: Glimpses into the Lives of Hasidic Jews (2012); William Kentridge: Five Themes (2011); Looking for Owners and Orphaned Art (2008), two ground-breaking exhibitions on art looted during World War II; and Surrealism and Beyond (2007), which completed major international tours in 2009 and then again in 2014-15. 

Mr. Snyder also fostered the advancement of the Museum’s network of International Friends organizations, helping to expand its presence across 16 countries worldwide and strengthening the Museum’s global foundation of support for building collections and funding annual operations, capital development, and exhibitions, projects, programming, and events for all of the Museum’s diverse audiences worldwide. 


Dan Handel Appointed Curator of Design and Architecture at The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel (February 17, 2015) – The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, announced today the appointment of Dan Handel as its new Curator of Design and Architecture. A curator, critic and professor, Handel is a founding editor of Manifest, an annual journal of American urbanism and architecture, and a member of the faculty at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. He also served as co-curator of the Israel Pavilion for the Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2012. At the Israel Museum, Handel will oversee the Museum's Design and Architecture Department, further developing its unique international perspective from the vantage point of the disciplines of design and architecture in Israel. He will begin his new role at the Museum in June, 2016.

“Dan brings with him a cross-disciplinary expertise and a professional background both in Israel and internationally that will enable him to advance the Museum’s local and global perspective in the rapidly changing fields of architecture and design,” said James S. Snyder, the Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “His vision as a curator is deepened by a strong grounding in contemporary visual culture, and we are delighted to broaden our curatorial reach with his special combination of talents.”

Handel has curated numerous exhibitions internationally, including projects in Canada, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States. Handel is currently curating Organization Man, an exhibition investigating the themes surrounding the work of Israeli architect Avraham Yasky at The Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Earlier exhibitions included Wood: The Cyclical Nature of Materials, Sites, and Ideas at the Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam (2014), which explored links between wood in design and architecture and the economic, political, natural, and cultural cycles that surround its production, circulation, and consumption. Handel was also co-curator of Aircraft Carrier, an exhibition that debuted at the Israel Pavilion of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale and traveled subsequently to The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and to the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City. Featuring work by Assaf Evron, Fernando Guerra, Florian Holzherr, Nira Pereg, and Jan Tichy, the exhibition examined American influences on the dramatic architectural and design changes in the Middle East region between 1973 and the present. Handel earned his Master’s Degree in architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and his Bachelor’s Degree in architecture at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.

"I am honored to accept the position of Curator of Design and Architecture at the Israel Museum,” said Dan Handel. “Many groundbreaking exhibitions were created by this department throughout its history, and I look forward to continuing that tradition and to working with the talented team at the Museum. My hope is to further the department’s role as a platform for discussion, reflection, and display in the fields of design and architecture in Israel and around the globe.”

In the last several years, the Israel Museum has expanded its design collection through new acquisitions and gifts by leading international and emerging designers and has continued its tradition of presenting exhibitions on timely subjects both in design and in architecture. Currently on display, and in celebration of the Museum’s 50th anniversary, is New Types: Three Pioneers of Hebrew Graphic Design, an exploration of the European origins of modern Hebrew typography and of the graphic language of the modern State of Israel. During the second half of 2016, the Museum will explore another dimension of the evolution of Israel’s modernist aesthetic heritage in Architecture in Palestine during the British Mandate (1917 –1948), examining the significant impact of early 20th-century European modernism on the architectural language of Palestine during the period of the British Mandate.

About The Department of Design and Architecture

The Israel Museum’s Department of Design and Architecture was established in 1973 by Izika Gaon, who for more than two decades brought the latest international trends to local Israeli audiences. Alex Ward, who served as curator from 1999 through 2012, brought the Museum’s presentation of design and architecture to new levels of originality at the Museum.


Major gifts in tribute to Museum’s 50th anniversary deepen holdings across curatorial wings

Jerusalem, Israel  (January 25, 2016)  The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, today announced a series of important collections and singular works of art acquired on the occasion of its 50th anniversary year. From transformative gifts that elevate the Museum’s holdings in archaeology to contemporary works that bolster its representation of leading practitioners in Israel and internationally today, these acquisitions extend the Museum’s commitment to reflect universal and local narratives throughout its collections. Totaling more than 400 individual works and 21 complete collections of ancient glass, Greco-Roman sculpture, Judaica, French painting, and more—these 2015 acquisitions are part of a multiyear initiative culminating with the Museum’s 50th Anniversary in 2015-2016, highlighting the breadth of support worldwide that has contributed to the ongoing growth of the Museum’s encyclopedic holdings. 

“As we look to our next half-century, we are grateful to the many patrons and collectors whose 
generosity has been foundational for our standing as one of the most comprehensive encyclopedic collections in the world, strengthening our unique ability to draw meaningful connections between cultures that transcend time and place,” said James S. Snyder, the Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum.

“Throughout our 50th Anniversary year, we have placed a special focus on expanding the 
depth and breadth of our holdings, amplifying our narrative of the broad history of human civilization alongside our specific history of visual culture here in Israel. This special year’s acquisitions expand on that tradition, furthering our position as a global resource of world cultural heritage.”Highlights among the Museum’s acquisitions in 2015 include:

Contemporary Art

Cyprien Gaillard, born Paris 1980, lives in Berlin and New York
Artefacts, 2011
35 mm film 12 min. loop, HD video transferred to 35 mm
Ed. 1 AP (5/5)
The Barbara and Eugene Schwartz Contemporary Art Acquisition Endowment Fund

The French artist Cyprien Gaillard traveled to Babylon to film Artefacts, reflecting on this ancient civilization’s mythical status through a series of documentary recordings of today’s post-conflict Iraq. Interspersed with images of the city’s ancient heritage, the refrain of David Gray’s song Babylon hauntingly accompanies Gaillard’s romantic, and yet washed-out and dystopian images. The biblical narrative of the destruction of ancient Babel forms an underlying script for the film, which goes on to reference the further damage inflicted over time by Alexander the Great, by the German archaeologists who transferred Nebuchadnezzar’s Ishtar gate to Berlin, by Saddam Hussein, and by the ongoing conflict affecting the region.

Ellsworth Kelly, American, 1923–2015
White Relief Over Black (EK905), 2002
Oil on canvas, two joined panels
Gift of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum

White Relief Over Black is a continuation of Kelly’s studies in form and color, representing an important example of his late-career work. The artist’s trademark saturation of hues is reduced to two rectangular canvases—one painted a deep shade of black and the other pure white, placed on top of the first panel to create a new three-dimensional form.

Sol LeWitt, American, 1928–2007
Modular Cube/Base, 1967
Painted wood
Promised gift of Agnes and Edward Lee, London

Sol LeWitt’s Modular Cube/Base is a prime example of the minimalist principles that underpinned the artist’s ongoing interest in geometry and space. Consisting of a stacked, three-dimensional gridded structure placed precisely atop a flat, two-dimensional grid, this work embraces the purity of the square—a form LeWitt revisited throughout his career, beginning with his earliest works from the mid-1960s.

Doris Salcedo, Colombian, born 1958
Atrabiliarios, 1996
Wall installation with drywall, shoes, cow bladder, and surgical thread, 120 x 198 cm
Gift of Ninah and Michael Lynne, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum

Doris Salcedo’s Atrabiliarios is a large-scale, process-driven wall installation that evokes the feelings of absence and loss inspired by the sudden disappearances that commonly occur in her home country of Colombia. In this work, Salcedo carves niches into a plaster wall and fills those niches with worn shoes donated by families of loved ones who have vanished. Carrying the imprint of the owner’s body, these shoes are then entombed within the wall and encased with cow membrane, symbolizing the process of internalizing memory. Barely visible through the membrane, the shoes become a haunting evocation of their absent owners.

Modern Art

Max Ernst, American and French, born Germany, 1891-1976
Loplop Presents, 1929
Oil on board, wooden cage, painted plaster
Gift to American Friends of the Israel Museum in memory of Edwin A. Bergman and Betty L. Bergman, Chicago

Surrealist artist Max Ernst identified with birds from the age of 14, when “one of his best friends, a most intelligent and affectionate pink cockatoo,” died on the same day his youngest sister was born. Over two decades later, in 1928, Ernst created his alter-ego Loplop, the "Bird Superior," referencing his own bird-like features with smooth fair hair, piercing eyes, and sharp nose. Loplop is typically shown presenting something or someone in the role of a narrator or commentator. Here, Loplop gestures toward a cage-like structure attached to the dense plaster surface of the painting, containing red and yellow geometric shapes representing three abstracted imprisoned birds.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French, 1964–1901
Old Man at Celeyran, 1882
Oil on canvas, 54 x 46 cm
Promised gift of Marty Peretz, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum

This early work by Lautrec was painted the same year the artist moved from Albi to Paris. Studying under academic painter Fernand Cormon (1845–1924)—who encouraged his pupils to find subjects on the streets of Paris—Lautrec developed a personal, humanistic approach that prefigured the legendary posters he became associated with during his brief, yet prolific career. Old Man at Celeyran demonstrates the psychologicial insight Lautrec captured in his sitters and augments the Museum’s Post-Impressionist holdings with an important example of the artist’s rhythmic compositions.

European Art

25 French Paintings from the Collection of Alexis Gregory
François Boucher, French, 1703-1770
Allegory of Autumn: Putti Playing with a Goat, early 1730s
Oil on canvas, 72 x 72 cm
Promised gift of Alexis Gregory, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum

The collection of Alexis Gregory, New York, focuses on French paintings from the mid-17th to the early 19th century, including several of the most significant French painters working in this period, among them François Boucher, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Charles Le Brun, and Simon Vouet. Although each of the artists represented were affiliated with the Royal Academy—including four painters serving as Premier peintre du roi under Louis XIV, Louis XV, or Louis XVI—the subjects of their works are extremely varied, ranging from biblical stories to portraits, landscapes, historical narratives, and allegorical scenes.

Among the paintings gifted in honor of the Museum’s 50th anniversary, François Boucher’s Allegory of Autumn: Putti Playing with a Goat (early 1730s) showcases the graceful and sensuous aesthetic of the artist, who played a fundamental role in developing the style made popular during the reign of Louis XV. This example was likely created shortly after Boucher’s return to Paris from Rome and references his experience touring the remains of the classical world.


A collection of 55 works of contemporary Israeli photography and video art
Purchased through the gift of Michael G. Jesselson, New York; Nathalie and Jean-Daniel Maman-Cohen, Paris; Marion and Guy Naggar, London; Lauren and Mitchell Presser, New York; and Roselyne C. Swig, San Francisco

Adding depth to an important chapter in the Museum’s extensive photographic holdings, this collection includes 55 works by contemporary Israeli photographers Ilit Azoulay, Micha Bar-Am, Deganit Berest, Yossi Breger, Dor Guez, Michal Heiman, Yehudit Sasportas, Assaf Shacham, and Rona Yefman, among others. This acquisition extends the Museum’s longstanding tradition of collecting the photographic work of new and established Israeli practitioners, further distinguishing it as one of the world’s leading holdings with more than 75,000 works spanning the history of the medium from the time of its invention to the present and reflecting developments in the medium both in Israel and worldwide. These newly acquired works will be on view beginning in May 2016 in the Museum’s annual New in Photography display.


Shiro Kuramata, Japanese, 1934–1961
Glass Chair, 1976
Glass and adhesive, limited edition 37/40
Gift of Richard Schlagman, Locarno
Manufactured by Mihoya Glass Co. Ltd., Tokyo

One of the most prominent designers in post-WWII Japan, Shiro Kuramata forged an aesthetic that combines Japanese minimalism with European Post-Modernism. An important example of his design approach, Glass Chair plays with viewers’ perceptions of functionality. The fragility of the chair’s glass material is offset by its durable physical properties, and its capacity to bear the weight of a seated person creates an element of surprise that transforms the automatic act of sitting into a conscious, cautious, and mindful experience.

Asian Art

Hotei Gosei, Japanese, active 1804–1844
Tea Harvesting in Uji near Kyoto, mid-1820s
Ink and natural pigment on paper; six-panel pair of screens
Gift of the Gitter-Yelen Collection, New Orleans and New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum 

This screen depicts the harvesting of the first tea leaves in early spring. By the early nineteenth century, Japan’s exclusive tea culture of the Imperial court became widespread, with Uji tea leaves being highly prized among city dwellers. In this panoramic view of endless tea fields, a group of fashionable women tour the protective tea sheds, where stylish workers seem to carry out with ease the arduous labor of picking tea leaves. An inscription reveals that the screen was commissioned by Senshuken, who was most likely a tea or sake merchant, as indicated by the family crest painted on the flags in the background. This work was gifted in honor of the Museum’s 50th Anniversary, along with Zen Buddhist Japanese scroll paintings from the early 15th to early 16th century by Lu Ji, Bian Jingzhao, Wu Jishan, and Wang Zhao, also from the Gitter-Yelen Collection.

Arts of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Edo people, Court of Benin, Nigeria
Benin Royal Bracelet, 16th century
Gift of the Faith-dorian and Martin Wright family, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum in memory of their son, Jordan M. Wright

This rare bronze bracelet from the Court of Benin in Nigeria features a relief and incised casting depicting a human face, assumed to be that of an Edo king. The abstract curvilinear forms radiating from this central design may represent the tails of mudfish, an important motif in Benin culture symbolizing eternal life. The Royal Bracelet adds to the Museum’s holdings in African art, whose earliest works date from the sixth century BCE to the third century CE with the latest dating from the late 19th to the early 20th century.

Five Precolumbian textiles, including textile panels, and textile strip
Paracas, Wari, and Lambayeque, Peru
Textile Panel with Fishing Scene, 900–1350 CE
Camelid, cotton, pigment
Gift of Charles and Valerie Diker, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum

Among five Precolumbian textiles gifted to the Museum in 2015, this narrative panel underscores the llama’s centrality to Lambayeque culture and ritual as an Andean symbol of fertility and abundance. Flanking the god are four attendants shown in profile with llama motifs on their headresses. Their formation recalls the natural occurance of female llamas herding or gathering around another female in labor in order to protect her from potential predators. This gift further enriches the Museum’s significant collection of Andean textiles, which includes examples ranging from 200 BCE to the 15th century.

Jewish Art and Life

26 objects of European Jewish Ritual Art from the Collection of Charles Michael
16th – 19th century
Gift of Charles Michael, San Francisco, to American Friends of the Israel Museum

This donation covers a wide range of silver ritual objects from Eastern Europe, Germany, Holland, Italy, and the United Kingdom, dating from the 16th century through the 19th century. The collection consists of ceremonial artifacts typically used in the synagogue, including a Torah crown, finials, shield and pointers; private ritual objects such as spice containers and Kiddush cups; together with objects which relate to the philanthropic realm of Jewish life, including a monumental decorative German beaker with a burial society inscription dated 1590, the earliest cup of its kind in the collection. Other highlights include a rare pair of eighteenth century Torah finials manufactured by the "Queen of English Silversmith," Hester Bateman of London, in the neo-classical style and a late 18th century Torah shield from Lemberg, Austrian Empire, engraved with a depiction of the Binding of Isaac and a detailed plan of the Second Temple of Jerusalem.

Continuing the legacy of his parents, Charles Michael's gift is a major addition to the Museum’s holdings, further enhancing its position as the world’s most comprehensive collection of Jewish Art and Life.


Belfer Collection
Ancient Greco-Roman art and Roman and Near-Eastern glass vessels
Promised gift of Renée and Robert Belfer, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum

Considered among the most significant private holdings of antiquities in the world, the collection of Renée and Robert Belfer, New York, features hundreds of ancient Greco-Roman and Near-Eastern glass vessels—recognized as some of the most impressive specimens of their kind—as well as important examples of Greco-Roman sculpture in bronze and marble. The Belfer Collection enables the Museum to strengthen its archaeological representation of the important history of ancient Israel’s neighboring cultures and the foundational role that Greco-Roman civilization played in the history of the region.

The collection is particularly notable for its exceptional holdings of ancient glass from the earliest stages of glass production in the Late Bronze Age through the Islamic period, including extremely rare and exquisitely preserved pieces, which are a significant addition to the Museum’s holdings, given the role of ancient Israel in the history of early glass production. Other key works in the collection include Greek, Southern Italian, and Etruscan pottery; Greek and Roman sculpture and relief work; and frescoes and mosaics.



Israel Museum Announces 2016 Exhibition Highlights

Exhibitions in Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Architecture 
Reflect on Cross-Cultural Exchange Spanning Millennia

Jerusalem, Israel (January 7, 2015) –The Israel Museum, Jerusalem today announced its upcoming program of exhibitions for 2016, following the conclusion of its 50th Anniversary celebrations throughout 2015. From focused presentations of international contemporary artists to exhibitions exploring cross-cultural themes, the Museum’s 2016 program embraces topics spanning continents, genres, and time periods.



             Georges Adéagbo, Preparatory installation, 2015

Highlights from the 2016 season include:

Georges Adéagbo: Africa in Jerusalem, February 17 - May 6, 2016
Benin-based artist Georges Adéagbo creates a site-specific installation for the Israel Museum’s Focus Gallery. A strong, distinctive voice in the contemporary art world since the mid-1990s, Adéagbo’s floor and wall installations present a complex network of concepts and associations reflected in materials collected during extensive stays in Israel and Benin. Using his own texts, found objects, and books, as well as paintings and sculptures created by his studio colleagues in Cotonou, Adéagbo constructs complex collages—termed by him as “Horizontal Archaeology”—that explore how individuals interpret cultures and the history of a place based on their own experiences. For his installation at the Israel Museum, the artist traveled throughout Israel, merging findings from his trip with his own idiosyncratic narratives and visual associations. 

The exhibition is curated by Rita Kersting, Landeau Family Curator of Contemporary Art. 

Efrat Natan, Sunflower for Tamar, 1994  


Efrat Natan: Tar and Lime, April 20 – October 29, 2016
This retrospective exhibition surveys more than four decades of creative output by the Israeli multi-disciplinary artist Efrat Natan, including works from the early 1970s, alongside new works not previously exhibited. Born in 1947 and raised in Kibbutz Kfar Rupin, Natan is one of the pioneers of conceptual and body art in Israel. Throughout her career, Natan has created a vocabulary of powerfully charged visual imagery that draws upon her own biography, the collective Israeli experience, and events in Israel today, as well as on Western and non-Western art historical traditions.

The exhibition is curated by Aya Miron, Associate Curator, David Orgler Department of Israeli Art.

The Distance of a Day: Connections and Disconnections in Contemporary Art,

April 20 – October 29, 2016
This exhibition presents a selection of works recently acquired for the Museum’s collection of contemporary art by some of today's most creative practitioners, among them Nina Canell, Jesse Darling, Petrit Halilaj, Lyle Ashton Harris, David Horwitz, Tala Madani, Roman Ondak, Seth Price, and Paloma Varga-Weisz. Exploring images of linkage and connection, as well as of interruption and detachment in both material and conceptual manifestations, the exhibition takes its title from The Distance of the Day (2013), a video work by David Horwitz presented on two iPhone screens showing the rising and setting of the sun as filmed by the artist and his mother simultaneously on two sides of the globe.

The exhibition is curated by Rita Kersting, Landeau Family Curator of Contemporary Art.

Wire(Less) Connections, May 25, 2016 – March 18, 2017
Thread, yarn, string, fiber, wire, cord, and rope—whether thin or thick, fine or coarse, natural or man-made, they share the ability to join things together. This year’s annual exhibition in the Ruth Youth Wing for Art Education highlights the essential role that connecting threads play in life both today and throughout the centuries. Featuring contemporary and historical works drawn primarily from the Museum’s collections, the exhibition explores notions of connection from biological and familial ties to social and technological connections in today’s wireless world.

The exhibition is curated by Daniella Shalev, Curator of Educational Programs & Events.

Pierre Huyghe, June 2 – September 24, 2016
The most recent video work by acclaimed contemporary artist Pierre Huyghe, Human Mask (2014)—a mesmerizing and disconcerting 19-minute film—responds to a YouTube clip entitled Fuku-chan Monkey in wig, mask, works Restaurant!, depicting an actual incident in which a monkey—outfitted with the mask of a young girl—was trained to work as a waitress at a restaurant in Fukushima, Japan. Following the nuclear disaster in 2011, Huyghe used a drone camera to scale the site’s wreckage and to document scenes of the monkey alone in its habitat, silhouetted against a dark and empty restaurant interior. In this dystopian setting, the monkey acts out the human condition as she endlessly repeats her unconscious role, highlighting the artist’s ongoing exploration of the relationship between animals and humans.

The exhibition is curated by Rita Kersting, Landeau Family Curator of Contemporary Art.

Picasso on Paper: From the Israel Museum Collection, July 1 – November 12, 2016
Tracing Picasso’s artistic development, this extensive presentation features over 200 drawings and prints from the Israel Museum’s own holdings, amplified by important loans from other museum collections. On view will be the complete production of Picasso’s Vollard Suite—considered one of the most important series of prints executed in the 20th century—revealing the artist’s developing interest in classical sculpture and including 100 etchings realized by the artist between 1930–1937 for his dealer Ambroise Vollard. The complete set of Suite 347, among the last hand-signed etchings Picasso ever created, will also be on view. Produced with rapid speed by the artist in Mougins, France, between March and October 1968, this set of 347 etchings reprises Picasso’s artistic autobiography, replete with references to art historical influences and to his own life’s work, all merged together through Picasso’s signature stream-of-consciousness. Throughout the exhibition, paintings from the Museum’s own extensive holdings together with important loans from The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Musée Picasso, Paris, will signal the chapters in Picasso’s unparalleled creative history.

The exhibition is curated by Tanya Sirakovich, Michael Bromberg Head Curator, Ruth and Joseph Bromberg Department of Prints and Drawings.

Architecture in Palestine during the British Mandate (1917-1948),
July 1 – December 31, 2016
Exploring another dimension of European influence on the evolution of Israel’s modernist visual heritage, this exhibition examines the significant impact of early 20th-century European modernism on the architectural language of Palestine during the period of the British Mandate, which came to be known in Palestine as White Architecture. Architecture in Palestine draws inspiration from the extensive research of Israel Prize laureate architect Ada Karmi-Melamede and architect Dan Price, whose accompanying book of the same title explores not only the tectonic and functional aspects of this new architecture, but also the relationships among values, place, and form that influenced the formation of this new language in a new land. The exhibition features documentary, analytical, and interpretive drawings—a practice Karmi-Melamede revived and developed counter to the trend of the computer age—that provide an alternative understanding of modern architecture as an evolving language, together with stunning archival photography of some of the iconic architectural projects of the time.

The exhibition is curated and designed by Oren Sagiv, Chief of Exhibition Design, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Jesus in Israeli Art, December 25, 2016 – March 5, 2017
This exhibition and accompanying research-based catalogue will investigate for the first time the appearance of the figure of Jesus in Israeli art as a significant, multifaceted, and ever-present phenomenon, and the evolving attitudes of Jewish, Zionist pre-state, and Israeli artists toward Jesus. With artworks spanning the period from the second half of the 19th century through today, Jesus in Israeli Art will examine the complex dimensions of the image of Jesus throughout the history of Judaism and how it has become a critical presence in the story of Jewish and Israeli art. Showcasing the evolution of this symbolic presence, from signifying the persecution of Jews and their victimhood to personifying national resurrection, the exhibition shows the figure of Jesus as a central symbol in Israeli art and provides a new perspective on Israel’s artistic progression. Featured artists include Joshua Borkovsky, Marc Chagall, Maurycy Gottlieb, Moshe Gershuni, Sigalit Landau Ephraim Moses Lilien, Motti Mizrachi, Efrat Natan, Adi Nes, Abel Pann, Reuven Rubin, and Yigal Tumarkin.

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Amitai Mendelsohn, Curator, David Orgler Department of Israeli Art.

Bronze portraits of the Emperor Hadrian, from the British Museum (left);
the Israel Museum (center); and the Louvre (right)
Photo:©Elie Posner, Israel Museum, Jerusalem

50th Anniversary Exhibitions in 2016: Hadrian: An Emperor Cast in Bronze, December 22, 2015 – June 30, 2016The only three extant bronze portraits of the Emperor Hadrian (117-138 CE) are brought together for a first-time display in the Israel Museum’s Archaeology Wing, marking a symbolic return of the Emperor to Jerusalem, whose last visit to the city was in 130 CE. From among the thousands of bronze portraits that dotted the landscape of Hadrian’s empire, only three survive. The Israel Museum’s bronze, which was found in a Roman legion camp near Beth Shean in the north of Israel, depicts the emperor in military garb with beautifully preserved body armor. It is flanked by two other extraordinary examples: one from the British Museum found in 1834 in the river Thames, which may have been created to commemorate Hadrian's visit to Britain in 122 CE; the other, from the collection of the Louvre Museum, considered to have originated in Egypt or Asia Minor. The exhibition is curated by David Mevorach, Senior Curator of Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Archaeology, and Rachel Caine-Kreinin, Associate Curator, together with Thorsten Opper, Curator of Greek and Roman Sculpture, The British Museum. 




Exhibition Brings Together Only Surviving 2nd-Century

Bronze Portraits of the Emperor Hadrian for the First Time

Featuring Loans from the British Museum and the Louvre in Dialogue with the Israel Museum’s Portrait Bust,
this Special Display Caps the Museum’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations


Bronze portraits of the Emperor Hadrian, from the British Museum (left); the Israel Museum (center); and the Louvre (right) Photo:©Elie Posner, Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel   (December 20, 2015) – Three extant bronze portraits of Publius Aelius Hadrianus—better known as the Emperor Hadrian (117 – 138 CE), one of the boldest and most accomplished rulers of the Roman Empire—are brought together for a first-time display in the Israel Museum’s Archaeology Wing, marking a symbolic return of the Emperor to Jerusalem, whose last visit to the city was in 130 CE. Opening December 22, Hadrian: An Emperor Cast in Bronze, concludes the Israel Museum’s celebrations of its 50th anniversary throughout 2015, and is among a series of special displays spotlighting masterworks from sister institutions loaned in tribute to the Museum and presented in dialogue with works from the Museum's own holdings.

Of the many bronze portraits of Hadrian that are known to have existed, only three survive. The Israel Museum’s bronze, which was found in a Roman legion camp near Beth Shean in the north of Israel, depicts the emperor in military garb with beautifully preserved body armor. It is flanked by two other extraordinary examples: one from the British Museum found in 1834 in the river Thames, which may have been created to commemorate Hadrian's visit to Britain in 122 CE; the other, from the collection of the Louvre, considered to have originated in Egypt or Asia Minor. Such portraits offered an important means in their time for conveying imperial authority, with statues being erected as civic and military monuments to reinforce the breadth of the Emperor Hadrian’s rule. 

The return of Hadrian to Jerusalem celebrates in a way the emperor's last visit to Judea in 130 CE, contextualized through the first-time presentation of a monumental Latin dedicatory inscription erected by the 10th Roman Legion in Jerusalem in that same year. One section of the inscription was unearthed in 1903, and the other was discovered during recent excavations in 2014 by the Israel Antiquities Authority. The two parts of the inscription are joined here for the first time, on loan from The Israel Antiquities Authority and the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Museum, Jerusalem. 

“As we conclude the year-long celebrations of our 50th anniversary, we are especially grateful for our meaningful partnerships with the Louvre and the British Museum, whose loans serve as a powerful metaphor for the international and inter-cultural connections we have fostered throughout the Museum’s history,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “The dialogue with our own Hadrian created by the adjacency of these visiting masterpieces is quite extraordinary, and we look forward—especially in the complex times in which we live today—to continuing this essential level of cultural collaboration with sister institutions internationally, illustrating the remarkable and remarkably continuous history of world culture that we preserve and share together.”

“Following our loan of Princess Hélène of Adiabène’s sarcophagus in 2011, which had never left France previously, the inclusion of the Louvre's Hadrian bronze portrait in this display signifies the cooperation between the Musée du Louvre and the Israel Museum and demonstrates the desire to develop even stronger ties,” said Jean-Luc Martinez, President and Director of the Musée du Louvre.

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum said, "When the British Museum mounted its exhibition, Hadrian: Empire and Conflict in 2008, the Israel Museum made outstandingly generous loans to the exhibition, which was seen by over a quarter of a million visitors. It is a great pleasure to be able to reciprocate that generosity and to celebrate the Israel Museum's 50th Anniversary by lending this great sculpture to Jerusalem."

Like his predecessors, Emperor Hadrian was immortalized in bronze and marble statues. These statues, which were sent throughout Rome’s provinces as a demonstration of Rome’s imperial power, possessed political as well as cultic significance, and some were venerated as the embodiment of the divine Caesar.

These three images are seemingly alike, yet each possesses a unique set of characteristics which highlight the multifaceted and contradictory character of Hadrian, known not only as an astute general and politician, but also as a benevolent ruler who was well-versed in disciplines such as architecture, geometry, literature, poetry, and philosophy. The display of the three portraits also stimulates a discussion of two diametrically opposed views of Hadrian’s rule: the accepted view of Hadrian as a scholarly peacemaker and protector who built the iconic wall across northern Britain, and the contrary perception in his own time of Hadrian as "the bone grinder," the destroyer of Judea.

Hadrian: An Emperor Cast in Bronze is on display through June 30, 2016. The exhibition is curated by David Mevorach, Senior Curator of Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Archaeology, and Rachel Caine-Kreinin, Associate Curator, together with Thorsten Opper, Senior Curator, Department of Greece and Rome, The British Museum.

The Israel Museum is the largest cultural institution in the State of Israel and is ranked among the leading art and archaeology museums in the world. Founded in 1965, the Museum houses encyclopedic collections ranging from prehistory through contemporary art and includes the most extensive holdings of Biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world, among them the Dead Sea Scrolls. Over its first fifty years, the Museum has built a far-ranging collection of more than 500,000 objects through an unparalleled legacy of gifts and support from its circle of patrons worldwide. 

The Museum’s 20-acre campus, which underwent a comprehensive renewal in 2010 designed by James Carpenter Design Associates and Efrat-Kowalsky Architects, features the Billy Rose Art Garden, the Shrine of the Book, and more than 225,000 square feet of collection gallery and temporary exhibition space. The Museum also organizes programming at its off-site locations in Jerusalem at the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum, where it presents archaeological artifacts from the Land of Israel; and at its historic Ticho House, a venue for exhibitions of contemporary Israeli art.  

The Shrine of the Book houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, among these the world's oldest biblical manuscripts, as well as other rare biblical manuscripts. This monumental structure has become an icon in Israel and around the world, its shrine-like interior affording visitors a rich spiritual experience. 

The Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2015, with a year-long program devoted to an exploration of Israel’s aesthetic heritage in the fifty years before and after its founding. 


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