American Jewish Artists

Samantha Baskind

in Jewish Studies

ISBN: 9780199840731
Published online August 2012 | | DOI:
American Jewish Artists

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American Jewish art, like Jewish art more generally, is variously understood. For some scholars, American Jewish art need only be art made by a Jewish American, independent of content, while others feel that both the artist’s and the artwork’s identity must be Jewish. Working in diverse styles and adopting both figuration and abstraction across varied media, some artists address Jewishness and the more specific American Jewish experience, while others make art indistinguishable in subject from that of their Gentile counterparts. This bibliography offers books and essays that explore the artists’ Jewish identity and relevant preoccupations in their art. In other words, it provides a gateway to literature that understands American Jewish art by theme, not just sociologically. To see it otherwise, considering the prominence of some of the artists—several of the most renowned 20th-century American artists were Jewish—would yield thousands of citations. Because the field of American Jewish art is still in its infancy, this bibliography delineates more than just a selection of scholarship reflecting the top of the field. Four important notes: other entries in the Oxford Bibliographies series include a section on anthologies, but to 2012 no anthology solely focusing on American Jewish art and artists exists, although in broader anthologies on Jewish art, American contributions are sometimes featured. In addition, some of the most valuable material in the field can be found in museum catalogues, chiefly from the Jewish Museum in New York. Importantly, a number of European artists working on Jewish themes spent some time in the United States, especially as exiles during World War II (e.g., Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz). Because they are not “American artists,” scholarship on this period of their careers does not appear in this bibliography. Finally, a number of readings in the bibliography could be placed in more than one section (e.g., some works on Jewish Identity could be in the Holocaust section), but because of space limitations the entries are described in only one section.

Article.  7552 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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