The mass-immigration from Europe after 1933 brought many architects, amongst whom were a number of women.
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.
The related fields of typography and graphic design played a vital role in the advent of modernism in early twentieth-century Europe, with many vanguard groups—better known for painting, sculpture, architecture, and manifestos—using design to test the practical application of their new modes of artistic production. The European avant-garde, imported to the United States by a wave of emigrés in the late 1930s, was embraced by a new breed of designers, eager to build upon the principles of an incipient “international style.” Elaine Lustig Cohen, with her husband, Alvin Lustig, were among the most prominent graphic designers to adopt these advanced aesthetic concepts for use in the American market.
Dora Gad was a prominent Israeli interior designer and the first woman to practice as an interior designer in Palestine. Her work was paramount to the formation of a national identity for the fledgling state of Israel and created a space between European modernism and local Palestinian architecture. Along with her husband, she was involved in central national architectural projects of the state, including the design of the Knesset in 1966 and the Israel Museum in 1965.
Ada Karmi-Melamede, architect, lecturer and researcher in architecture, who was born on December 24, 1936, is one of the most important architects in Israel.
Landscape architect Rosa Grena Kliass was born in São Roque, in the hinterland of the state of São Paulo, on October 15, 1932.
As founding director and chair of the board of trustees, Phyllis Lambert was largely responsible for creating the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal (CCA), said to be the world’s leading architectural museum and study center. A native Montrealer, Lambert was one of four children of Saidye (Rosner) Bronfman and Samuel Bronfman (1891–1971), the man chiefly responsible for creating Seagram’s, once the world’s largest liquor distiller and distributor. Their fabulous wealth combined with a strong commitment to the Jewish community to propel the Bronfmans to preeminence in the worlds of commerce and Jewish affairs. Lambert’s two brothers, Charles (b. 1931) and Edgar (b. 1929), followed their father in both areas of endeavor; her sister, Minda (de Guinsbourg) (1925–1985), took on a traditional woman’s role by marrying into a Jewish family that had entered the ranks of Europe’s aristocracy. Already as a young woman, however, Lambert was determined to strike out on her own path.
Bertha Schaefer broadened the definition of interior decorator to designer, innovator, and pioneer in integrating fine arts and architecture with interior design. Schaefer’s two New York City businesses – an interior design firm and an art gallery – showcased defining features of the postwar period, garnering her significant praise and attention in the world of art and design.
Rachel Wischnitzer was a pioneer in the fields of Jewish art history and synagogue architecture. Her wide-ranging scholarship included books, articles, book reviews, and exhibition catalogs on ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish art.