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Art

Austria: Jewish Women Artists

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.

Ellen Auerbach

The life of Ellen (Rosenberg) Auerbach was a constant journey of self-discovery and, in her photographic work, a search for the essence that lies behind people and things. Her curious mind, her keen and intuitive eye and her sense of humor permeated her photography, which was re-discovered in the late 1970s, along with that of other avant-garde photographers and artists of the Weimar Republic. Auerbach belonged to the generation of New Women who sought to break with traditional female roles and become independent through their work.

Artists: Yishuv and Israel: 1920-1970

Until the 1970s women were always a minority among Israeli artists and most of them either followed the men or worked outside the leading artistic movements. Although the early twentieth-century Yishuv (the Jewish settlement in Palestine) was a pioneering society with egalitarian ideals, it was (like every society in the world) ultimately led and directed by men, and so too were the various artistic groups.

Artists: Russia and the Soviet Union

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.

Artists: Israeli, 1970 to the Present

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.

Artists: Contemporary Anglo

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.

Artists: "Second Generation" in Israel

A number of studies from the mid-1980s onward have demonstrated the impact of the Holocaust on visual art, in particular for artists who themselves experienced the agony of the Holocaust, but also among their contemporaries. These artists portrayed the Holocaust’s atrocities and responded to the horrific trauma through various forms of expression. Now, more than sixty years after the Holocaust, it is apparent that its impact has carried over into the works of so-called “second generation” artists as well.

Artists in Britain: 1700-1940

The earliest recorded native Anglo-Jewish artist was Catherine da Costa (1678?–1756), daughter of the physician to Charles II, who studied under the famous drawing master and engraver Bernard Lens and painted portraits of her family and other members of the early Anglo-Jewish community in a charming, though somewhat naive style. Not until a hundred years later did another Jewish woman, Rebecca Solomon, make any impact whatsoever on the English art scene.

Art in the United States

American Jewish women have made major contributions to the art world as artists, photographers, gallery owners, museum curators, art critics, art historians, and collectors at least since the beginning of the twentieth century.

Art during the Holocaust

It is now generally considered that while men and women shared the same fate and their daily existence in the internment and concentration camps was more or less similar, differences between the sexes did exist. Such differences are reflected in the works of art produced in the camps.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Art." (Viewed on December 15, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/art>.

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