By focusing on Jewish women artists working in Britain today, whose Jewishness and gender are central to their artistic output, it offered valuable insights into the diverse ways in which women perceive their Jewishness in contemporary Britain. Aware of their complex “otherness” as women, Jews and artists, they put that awareness to good creative use; and in so doing, proved that art has a crucial role to play in exploring—and perhaps crystallizing—issues of identity.
The 1970s were a conceptual and political period in Israeli art. Art during these years expressed the plural form—of the nation, the society and of modern art.
Women in general and Jewish women in particular have been participating in the artistic life of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union for over a hundred years.
While women are often excluded from the historical narrative of Israeli art-making, women artists made significant contributions to the canon of Israeli art throughout the twentieth century. Depicting landscapes, creating ceramics, and painting beautiful portraits, many female artists made significant contributions to the development of the Bezalel Art school and Israeli modern art. In 1952, the artistic Group of Ten was founded, to use a modern language in order to express the Israeli experience and landscape.
Although modern Austrian art attracted a high proportion of Jewish women, most of them are forgotten today both because of the male ethos of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century life which relegated women to the domestic domain, and because of the Holocaust which robbed many Jewish women artists of their lives and erased their artistic achievements from popular recognition.
For three decades Judy Chicago has melded politics with art through painting, sculpture, writing, and teaching.
Katherine M. Cohen was a sculptor and artist dedicated to advocating for equality for women in the arts. Comfortably situated in the community of Philadelphia’s Jewish elite, Cohen created many commissions for the community reflecting Jewish themes and illustrated a Jewish children’s book. Cohen made a speech at the Chicago World’s Fair advocating for the support of artists, and specifically female artists.
Mary Frank was a sculptor and painter inspired by dance, photography, and the moving body. Born in London, Frank immigrated to the United States in the 1940s and danced with Martha Graham and studied art at the American Art School in New York. Frank imparts a sense of the timelessness and her work, and her sculptures have been described as sensual, sublime, poetic and profoundly moving, placing her among the foremost figurative artists of our time.
Artist and innovator in Jewish art education, Temima Gezari was born Fruma Nimtzowitz in Pinsk, Russia, on December 21, 1905.
Gego, born Gertrude Goldschmidt, was one of Venezuela’s most creative and ingenious artists. Her sculptures have not only a sense of closure but also a boundlessness erasing any distance between viewer and artist and insisting on generating new perspectives.
Eva Hesse created innovative sculptural forms using unconventional materials such as latex and fiberglass and gave minimal art organic, emotional, and kinetic features. She scorned the decorative, creating sculptures out of repeated units which embodied opposite extremes. Her large fiberglass and latex works are recognized as major works of the 1960s artistic era.
Elena Kabischer, a graphic artist, painter and sculptor was born on March 23, 1903 in Vitebsk into the family of a craftsman. In 1916 she started studying in the private School of Drawing and Painting managed by Yehuda Pen (1854–1937), the oldest of Vitebsk painters, among whose pupils were also Marc Chagall (1887–1985) and Eliezer Lisitsky (1890–1941).
Rose Kohler was a multitalented woman who was known as an accomplished painter and sculptor. She was a teacher in, and later the chair of, the National Council of Jewish Women’s religious schools in Cincinnati, Ohio, and wrote many articles on art and religion.
Joyce Kozloff is an internationally recognized painter, public muralist, and feminist whose long-term passions have been history, culture, and the decorative and popular arts. One of the founders of the pattern and decoration movement, Kozloff is dedicated to creating her own work and giving the folk art of women of color a voice. Kozloff is known as one of America’s more original and engaging artists.
Gertrud Kraus, the “first lady” of modern expressionistic dance in Israel, was born in Vienna on May 5, 1901.
Batia Lichansky, Israel’s first woman sculptor, famously expressed the pioneer Zionist spirit during the formative years of the State of Israel through her portrait sculptures, reliefs, and memorials sculpted in stone, wood, and bronze. After studying across Europe, Lichansky became a prominent Israeli artist and won the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Dizengoff Prize twice, in 1944 and 1957.
Charlotte Schacht Lipsky, interior decorator, was born in Riga, Latvia, in December 1879. The eldest of five children, she was the only girl. Lipsky immigrated to the United States in 1895, accompanied by her mother, who lived with Lipsky until her death. Upon arriving in the United States, Lipsky immediately involved herself in politics, specifically in the Jewish socialist movement, becoming one of “Emma Goldman’s girls” on the Lower East Side of New York.
Louise Nevelson belongs to a generation of Manhattan-based painters and sculptors who were born at the close of the nineteenth century and whose careers spanned the twentieth, coinciding with the development of modernism in America.
Variously described in the pages of the New York Times in the 1920s and 1930s as writer, poet, and artist, Isadora Newman found creative expression in a variety of media. Two themes, however, run through this diversity: a respect for the ability of children to see freshly and a lasting impression of the black and Creole heritage of her native New Orleans.
Critics have always found dignity and humor, plus “an unerringly true adjustment of weight to line” in the sculpture of Chana Orloff, one of the “Ecole de Paris,” who said that she wanted her works “to be as alive as life …”
During World War II, sculptor Virginia Morris Pollak used her deep understanding of clay, plaster, and metal to revolutionize reconstructive surgery for wounded servicemen. This earned her a presidential citation, and she was later appointed to JFK’s Commission for the Employment of the Handicapped. Pollak also co-founded her own sculpture studio and chaired the Norfolk Fine Arts Commission, beautifying her hometown with an outdoor sculpture museum at the Botanic Garden.
The celebrated painter and sculptor Antoinetta Raphael, whose artistic works vividly portray both the imaginary and the familiar.
Miriam (Mimi) Schapiro is one of the foremost pioneers in the feminist art movement in the United States. Nicknamed “Mimi Appleseed” after Johnny Appleseed whose dream was for a land where blossoming apple trees were everywhere, she has opened paths previously closed and unknown to women artists, past and present, trained and untrained.