Over 100 supporters of Israeli art gathered in the sumptuous surrounds of London’s Mansion House last Friday lunchtime for the official launch of the UK publication of a pictorial history.
Ill-health precluded the attendance of the author of A Century of Israel Art —long-time Israel Museum curator Yigal Zalmona. But in his stead, the Jerusalem museum’s director, James S Snyder, addressed guests, as did the Israeli Amabassador, Daniel Taub.
Mr Snyder was proud that the book reflected the “strong collection” of his museum, adding that it was impossible to separate art from the development of the nation.
Speaking afterwards, he said that “while Israeli art is today being absorbed worldwide, it also preserves a unique connection to Israel’s recent and eccentric history”.
The work’s wider context was also highlighted by Mr Taub, who said it charted the voice of Israeli expression.
He complimented publishers Lund Humphries on “a magnificent job in rendering the English version of this remarkable book”.
Welcoming the guests, the Lady Mayoress of the City of London, Claire Gifford, spoke of a Jewish-related contribution to Mansion House — and “one of the city’s hidden treasures”. This was the Harold Samuel collection of 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings, bequeathed in 1987 by property developer and entrepreneur Lord Samuel of Wych Cross.
The 84-piece collection is said to be arguably the best of its kind in the country.
Lund Humphries — whose Lucy Myers also spoke at the launch — is about to publish a further collaboration with the Israel Museum, Displaced Visions: Emigré Photographers of the 20th Century, examining the link between mass migration and the golden age of photographic modernism. Author Nissan Perez is senior curator in the museum’s photography department and has curated more than 180 exhibitions in Israel and abroad.