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The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York, NY 10128

The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York, NY 10128
212.423.3200

info@thejm.org
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Jewish Museum Members and visitors can park at Impark and Champion Parking. Read More

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Who We Are

Welcome to the Jewish Museum, a museum in New York City at the intersection of art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds. Whether you visit our home in the elegant Warburg mansion on Museum Mile, or engage with us online, there is something for everyone. Through our exhibitions, programs, and collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media, visitors can journey through 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture from around the world.


Our Mission

The Jewish Museum is dedicated to the enjoyment, understanding, and preservation of the artistic and cultural heritage of the Jewish people through its unparalleled collections and distinguished exhibitions. Learn More

History

The Jewish Museum was founded in 1904 in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where it was housed for more than four decades. Located along New York's Museum Mile, this elegant former residence has been the home of the Museum since 1947. Learn More

Stories

Greater Goods: Lella Vignelli Judaica Read More

In this series, explore the artists and artisan-made products that set the Jewish Museum Shop apart.

“If you do it right, it will last forever. It’s as simple as that.” — Lella Vignelli
Seder Plate by Lella VIgnelli for the Jewish Museum.

“Elegant,” “clean,” and “timeless” are words frequently used to describe the work of the iconic designer Lella Vignelli (1934–2016) by design enthusiasts and experts alike. Born in Udine, Italy as Elena Valle, Vignelli earned her degree in architecture at the University of Venice’s School of Architecture; studying also as a special student at MIT’s Architecture School.

Vignelli’s formal training was in architecture, but her lifelong practice was in design. She created enduring identities for brands including Bloomingdale’s, American Airlines, and others, as a founding member of the Chicago-based firm Unimark International along with her husband, Massimo Vignelli (1931–2014), whom she married in 1957. She applied her precept, “if you can’t find it, design it,” across many forms; the pair created groundbreaking furniture, housewares, packaging, and exhibition design.

Kiddush Cup by Lella Vignelli for the Jewish Museum

In the early 1970s, they were selected to design a new system of visuals for the New York City subway. Many of the resulting elements — including the brightly colored circles that identify the system’s train lines — are still in use nearly fifty years later. “If you do it right,” said Vignelli, in a 2007 article in New York Magazine, “it will last forever. It’s as simple as that.”

Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for The New York Times, wrote of the Vignellis’ work, “(it is) clean, and it is relatively spare, but it is not austere. It is luxurious without being plush … the best of the Vignelli designs bring together visual pleasure and ease of use, relate to the history of design yet give us the sense that we are seeing something beautiful made in a way we have never seen it before.”

Candlesticks by Lella Vignelli for the Jewish Museum.

Lella Vignelli continued to create beautiful objects throughout her career. Working with San Lorenzo, an Italian high-end silver studio based in Milan, she explored the aesthetic and utilitarian capabilities of the precious metal, designing luxury goods; among them, items for the home, jewelry, and ritual objects — including a menorah with swiveling arms. In 2003, Vignelli attended the Jewish Museum launch for Judaica created by the designer Adam Tihany. Inspired to develop her own line, she designed three pieces exclusively for the Museum. The commission included a kiddush cup, a set of candlesticks, and a Seder plate, all manufactured by San Lorenzo, by then a long-time partner. The suite of Judaica was introduced in 2008 and is part of the Museum’s permanent collection. All three pieces can also be purchased at the Shop.

The designs, which exemplify Vignelli’s signature style — elegant, sleek, and above all, thoughtful — are influenced by the pure lines of Modernism and the textures of 16th-century European costume. When set on the Sabbath or holiday table, their brightly polished contours reflect the participants around them, bringing friends and family together.

To explore more of the Jewish Museum Shop’s selection, create a gift registry, or send a gift e-card, visit Shop.TheJewishMuseum.org. Every purchase supports the Jewish Museum.


Greater Goods: Lella Vignelli Judaica was originally published in The Jewish Museum on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Stream Favorites from the New York Jewish Film Festival (Part 3) Read More

For nearly 30 years, the Jewish Museum has partnered with Film at Lincoln Center to present the New York Jewish Film Festival — films from around the world that explore the Jewish experience. Now from your own home, enjoy our selection of films from past festivals streaming online.

Still from Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me, 2017

In the final installment of our series revisiting films from the New York Jewish Film Festival (see part one and part two), we are proud to present a love story, a family drama starring Sasson Gabbai, a documentary about the legendary Sammy Davis, Jr., and a documentary by Alexa Karolinski (co-creator of the Netflix series Unorthodox), about a special friendship.

Felix and Meira

https://medium.com/media/555cc9798c457b3d04ae466122a60a68/href

Directed by Maxime Giroux
Screened at the 2015 New York Jewish Film Festival

When Meira, a young, Orthodox Jewish wife and mother with an undercurrent of rebelliousness, meets Felix, a middle-aged atheist, a slow-booming affair takes shape in this Montreal-set drama that unfolds like a classic forbidden-love novel.

Watch on Amazon Video or Apple TV

Oma & Bella

https://medium.com/media/7b3d7d5f7a17b7b1b3852fe789f14352/href

Directed by Alexa Karolinski
Screened at the 2013 New York Jewish Film Festival

An intimate and touching glimpse into the lives of roommates Regina Karolinski (Oma) and Bella Katz, Holocaust survivors and close friends, living in Berlin, using their love of cooking as a charming leitmotif.

Watch on Amazon Video or Apple TV

Restoration

https://medium.com/media/90f404ed2a2629afb75d88c680330f45/href

Directed by Yossi Madmoni
Screened at the 2012 New York Jewish Film Festival

A sensitive drama in which a Tel Aviv man tries to keep his antique restoration business afloat. Amidst conflicts with his son, a stranger comes to town and a complex love triangle ensues. Starring Sasson Gabai of Shtisel and The Band’s Visit.

Watch on Amazon Video or ChaiFlicks

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me

https://medium.com/media/bab300b5c96bf3b83c824f4a87d7b247/href

Directed by Sam Pollard
Screened at the 2018 New York Jewish Film Festival

In this exhilarating documentary, Sam Pollard pays tribute to the multi-talented, multi-racial entertainer by examining the political complexities and contradictions that defined his career. During the Civil Rights era and after, Sammy Davis, Jr. struggled to maintain his identity, while embracing his Judaism.

Watch on THIRTEEN Passport or Amazon Video

— Aviva Weintraub, Associate Curator and Director of the New York Jewish Film Festival

The 2020 New York Jewish Film Festival was made possible by the Martin and Doris Payson Fund for Film and Media. Generous support was also provided by Wendy Fisher and Dennis Goodman, Sara and Axel Schupf, Louise and Frank Ring, The Liman Foundation, Mimi and Barry Alperin, an anonymous gift, the Ike, Molly and Steven Elias Foundation, Amy and Howard Rubenstein, Robin and Danny Greenspun, Steven and Sheira Schacter, and through public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council. Additional support was provided by the Polish Cultural Institute New York, Dutch Culture USA, the German Consulate General New York, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States.


Stream Favorites from the New York Jewish Film Festival (Part 3) was originally published in The Jewish Museum on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

James Tissot’s Journey to the Jewish Museum Read More

Discover how James Tissot’s beloved watercolor illustrations entered the Jewish Museum collection. The artist’s original suite of 368 illustrations of the Hebrew Bible have been digitized for the first time and are available online.

James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836–1902) and followers, “Moses Defends Jethro’s Daughters,” c. 1896–1902. Gouache on board. 8 3/8 × 12 in. (21.3 × 30.5 cm). Jewish Museum, New York, Gift of the heirs of Jacob Schiff, X1952–149

James Tissot’s watercolor illustrations are some of the most beloved and sought-after images in the Jewish Museum’s collection. The biblical stories are illustrated in cinematic vignettes that have influenced popular culture for decades. Though Tissot was mostly known as a painter of the fashionable society of London and Paris, he began a series of religious paintings, The Life of Christ, in 1885. Completed in 1894, the almost four hundred paintings toured Paris, London, and the United States until, by public subscription and with great fanfare, the Brooklyn Museum purchased them in 1900.

Left: Lady of Elche, 500 BCE–150 CE. Limestone, 22 in. (56 cm). Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid. Right: Tissot, “Jephthah’s Daughter,” c. 1896–1902

After the wild acclaim of his illustrations of the Christian Bible, Tissot began a project to illustrate the Hebrew Bible. He made one of many trips to Palestine in 1896 to draw inspiration, observing the landscape where the biblical stories took place and producing what he felt were historically accurate illustrations.

Left: Standing male worshipper, Sumerian, c. 2900–2600 BCE. Gypsum, shell, black limestone, and bitumen, H. 11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Fletcher Fund, 1940. Right: Tissot, “Daniel and the Young Men,” c. 1896–1902

In 1902, when he was midway through the project, Tissot died suddenly. The series was continued by artists from Tissot’s studio, who finished his partially completed pictures or created works that approximated his style.

Left: anonymous Italian artist, Relief of Ramesses II Receiving Supplicants from the Depiction of the Battle of Qadesh in the Great Hall of the Temple at Abu Simbel, Egypt. Engraving, 14 5/8 x 19 5/8 in. (37 x 49.7 cm). Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Right: Tissot, “Moses Speaks to Pharaoh,” c. 1896–1902

There is a complicated and fascinating story of how these illustrations ended up in the Jewish Museum’s collection, quite different from the fervor surrounding the Brooklyn Museum’s purchase of the Life of Christ series. After the artist’s death, the American Tissot Society owned the later series which, due to the society’s financial difficulties, had to be put up for auction in 1909. The minimum price of $40,000 set by the gallery was not met, so the works were sold to Jacob H. Schiff, a private collector, who then gave them to the New York Public Library.

In 1911, the gouaches were exhibited at the main building and other branches of the library, after which they were put into storage. They languished in the basement at Fifth Avenue and Forty-Second Street until 1952, at which point the Schiff heirs were asked to find a more suitable repository for the artworks. They chose the Jewish Museum, located since 1947 in the former home of their relative, Frieda Schiff Warburg. The paintings received little attention and were left crated in a remote storeroom until 1976.

Tissot, “The Songs of Joy,” c. 1896–1902

The good condition of the works, all but forgotten in storage, is a small miracle. Protected by their sturdy crates, the small watercolors, each no larger than a sheet of paper, survived in their period gilt and wood frames and with their original golden mats.

Tissot, “Pharaoh Notes the Importance of the Jewish People,” c. 1896–1902

The Christian Bible, illustrated by Tissot and published by M. de Brunhoff, Paris, has been widely reproduced since it was first printed in 1904. Tissot’s illustrations of the Hebrew Bible gained new attention in 1982 when the Jewish Museum exhibited around 160 of the watercolors. It is no coincidence that Tissot’s ark was used as a model for the set of Stephen Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was released around the same time.

Tissot and followers, “Moses and Joshua in the Tabernacle,” c. 1896–1902

The original suite of 368 illustrations of the Hebrew Bible has been digitized for the first time and are available online for high-resolution download on the Jewish Museum’s website.

— Katherine Danalakis, Collections Manager, Jewish Museum

Search our online collection to view illustrations by James Jacques Joseph Tissot by visiting TheJewishMuseum.org/Collection.

Join our #TwinningwithTissot Challenge

Pick your favorite Tissot painting inspired by illustrations of biblical stories. Pose with homemade costumes, props, and accessories to stage a scene — by yourself, as a couple, or as a family! Then share your creations on social media. Get creative with how you use materials found around you, and have fun!

— Rachel Levine, Assistant Director of Family Programs, Jewish Museum


James Tissot’s Journey to the Jewish Museum was originally published in The Jewish Museum on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Hagenauer Menorah

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