Two deeply idiosyncratic exhibitions at Yeshiva University Museum warrant close inspection if only to show how the diverse richness of biblical and Judaic subject matter can inspire contemporary artists. The very eclectic nature of both artist’s works speaks volumes about the possibilities available when artists take Jewish subjects seriously and subsequently embrace them with their own demons.
Many of these paintings I do not like. Some I do. All of them are very important for us to look at and understand since Oppenheim’s work represents the seminal encounter between Jewish tradition and the challenges of the modern world.
This exhibition, Moritz Daniel Oppenheim; Jewish Identity in Nineteenth Century Art, presents over 90 paintings of the first and perhaps most famous Jewish artist of the 19th century. It presents all aspects of his very successful career and for the first time shows his depth and skill as a portraitist and as a genre painter. The exhibition at Yeshiva University Museum on 16th Street is beautifully hung and designed by Oliver Hirsch of Hircsh & Associates Fine Art Services. The show was organized by the Judisches Museum der Stadt Frankfurt am Main under the patronage of the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder and is accompanied by a definitive catalogue raisonne published by the Frankfurt Jewish Museum. It must be seen by anyone interested in Jewish Art.