inside the Museum of Art in Ein Harod

The closing of the Brown collection exhibition at the Museum of Art in Ein Harod left me as many art lovers in Israel with a taste of more. Two new exhibitions opened a couple of weeks ago in the same space, and we were the lucky visitors in a quiet Sunday morning. Visiting the museum during the week (Sundays are workdays in Israel) has the advantage of silence and avoids the weekend crowds, with the disadvantage of missing the guided tours. The current exhibitions have no audioguides, so as visitors we were on our own.

Albert Rubin - Temple Mount

The room near the entrance hosts early works by Albert Rubin. It is part of a series of exhibition in which the museum helps recovering lesser-known Jewish and Israeli painters which left their mark on the history of Israeli art. Born in Bulgaria in 1887, Rupin’s career was marked by the three years that he spent in Palestine as a student of the Bezalel Art School in Jerusalem (to become later the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design). Discovered by Boris Schatz, the founder of the school and admitted among its first 30 students, Rubin painted in this period of formation mostly portraits, landscapes and paintings of Biblical inspiration.

Shlomo Nerisky - Spanish Jew in Jerusalem

Albert Rubin - Portrait of a Yemenite

Although it is not great art, Rubin’s paintings catch an interesting moment in the beginnings of the renewal of Jewish art in Palestine before Israel was founded. It also allows an interesting glimpse to the landscape and people of the area in the last decade of the Ottoman rule. For example, here are placed one near another a portrait of Rubin and a photograph from the exhibition ‘Orientalists’ at the Tel Hai Photography museum which I visited a few months ago.

Alleyways in the Old City

The Jerusalem landscapes have also a primary atmosphere and a charm of rediscovery. See for example the group of paintings in the alleys of the Old City, a few years before history, armies and tourists came along together and made these places some of the most crowded and most emotional locations on Earth.

More information and the full catalog of the exhibition is available at http://www.museumeinharod.org.il/english/exhibitions/2010/albert_rubin/

Yechiel Krize - Safed, 1940

The second and most import exhibition of the moment includes again works from the Brown collection, this time focusing on the Abstract period of Yechiel Krize (1909 – 1968). Among the few early paintings of the artists I remarked the landscape of Safed, painted at the time when many other Jewish painters of the time (Menachem Shemi especially) dealt with the same subject. The quest for a new language and the road that led the painter to abstract art is already visible.

Gouache, 1955-1958

By the 1950s the artist had already taken the definite turn to abstraction, melting and recomposing the elements of landscape or light or other sources of inspiration into a new form of expression which had little similarities with works of other Israeli painters of the time, but was in dialog and synchronicity with the modern art of the time, especially American abstract artists.

Closeness, 1958-59

Gouache and oil painting on wood were the two preferred techniques of the period.

the 'white period' room in the exhibition

painting from the 'white period' - early 60s

The ‘white period’ in the early 60s is maybe the most coherent and expressive period of his creation. The Browns seem to have also appreciated Krize’s work of that time, as the period is well represented in the exhibition, with a full dedicated room.

Late Gouaches, 1963-1966

Late Abstract, 1964

The last years of his life brought to Yechiel Krize a better recognition in Israel, with two major exhibitions of his works being organized in the 1960s, and a major retrospective in 1970, following his death. His searches seem to have never stopped, leading him to permanent experiments in form and colors, as well as the crystallization of a powerful and recognizable style.

Painting, 1960-62

An extensive article about Krize and the exhibition in Ein Harod can be read at http://www.haaretz.com/magazine/friday-supplement/he-didn-t-paint-flowers-1.300972.

The Web site of the Museum of Art in Ein Harod is accessible at http://www.museumeinharod.org.il/english/. The museum is open all days of the week.