Modernism in Israel: Works on Paper opens on February 21, 2006, at the Magnes. The exhibition includes prints, watercolors, ink drawings, and illustrated books dating from the 1940s-1950s.
During the mid-twentieth century, artists in Israel were intense observers and participants in the momentous historic developments of their time, as a new national culture was being forged and an independent Jewish state established.
Many of these artists trained in Germany or with German teachers. Their works exhibit the spiritual and emotional qualities of German Expressionism as well as its high level of printmaking craftsmanship. Others studied in France where they were strongly influenced by the modernist (and largely Jewish) School of Paris, absorbing this style's lyrical sense of light, color, and form.
Artists were involved in all aspects of Israeli culture, from theater stage design to book illustration. Their heroic images of farmers and soldiers, as well as lovingly depicted Israeli landscapes and cityscapes, express the social ideals and passionate political commitments that they shared with contemporary writers, poets, and intellectuals. Ultimately, however, each artist's individual esthetic vision and personal dedication to making the best possible art transcended schools and ideologies.