The Emergence of Jewish Artists in 19th Century Europe

November 18, 2001 - March 17, 2002

In post-Enlightenment Europe, opportunities arose for Jews to establish themselves as professional artists for the first time. The paintings shown here highlight the complexities faced by minority artists in a dynamic European art world.

​Cover of the Jewish Museum’s exhibition catalog for The Emergence of Jewish Artists in 19th Century Europe.

As Enlightenment ideas influenced the law, Jews and other groups were granted equal citizenship. Jews began to establish themselves as professional artists for the first time in modern history. Some artists took the opportunity to express their Judaism in their art. Others embraced the secular art world and left their Jewish identity behind.

Shown together for the first time since the beginning of the twentieth century, these artists display a variety of artistic styles and preoccupations, and highlight the complexities faced by minority artists in a dynamic European art world.

The Emergence of Jewish Artists in Nineteenth-Century Europe is made possible through the leadership support of Daniel R. and April S. Goldberg, Brenda Gruss and Daniel O. Hirsch, Andrew E. and Marina W. Lewin, Clement and Susan Lewin, Tamar and Stephen Olitsky, and an anonymous donor in memory of their grandparents Oscar and Regina Gruss.
Major gifts have been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Council for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Milton and Miriam Handler Foundation, and other generous donors. The catalogue has been published with the aid of a publications fund established by the Dorot Foundation.