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Acquisitions in 2019

In 2019, the mahJ’s collections were enhanced by one hundred and eleven artworks and artefacts: eighty-four donations (including seventy-three works on paper from Galerie Jacquester donated by Esther Topiol), four permanent loans by the Consistoire israélite de la Moselle and twenty-three purchases: a portfolio of drawings by Issachar Ryback and three small pictures by Alice Halicka at the Millon auction on 26 June 2019 and nineteen objects at the Ader-Nordmann auction on 19 December 2019.

Les colonnes de Guerry

Georges Jeanclos (Paris, 1933 - Paris, 1997), Les colonnes de Guerry, détail du chapiteau, France, 1994



Corne de bélier et son étui, Paris, 1835, mahJ, don de Jacques Arnold

  • An embroidered velvet Torah mantle dated 1728, probably of Germanic origin, found in a storeroom in the synagogue at Thionville (on permanent loan from the Consistoire de la Moselle).
  • Three early 20th-century rabbi’s jabots in lace and white embroidery from the synagogue at Hayange (on permanent loan from the Consistoire de la Moselle).
  • A shofar from the oratory of the Fondation Rothschild in rue Picpus, offered, as indicated on its original box, to a Parisian synagogue in 1835 by Solomon, known as Zalman Alcan, son of Elhanan from Frankfurt. Although shofars are quite commonplace objects, it is difficult to date them and this documented one is a rare exception (gift of Jacques Arnold).
  • A brass kosher plaque of the Association consistoriale israélite de Paris, in the name of Jacques-Henri Dreyfuss, chief rabbi of Paris from 1891 to 1933, discovered in the kitchens of the Fondation Rothschild’s old people’s home in rue Picpus (gift of Jacques Arnold).
  • A lithograph by Gustave Lévy (Toul, 1819 – Paris, 1894) depicting Moses with the Tablets of the Law. Dedicated to Baroness James de Rothschild, it is one of the very rare Jewish portrayals of the prophet and served as the model for the ivory binding of a prayer book published in Paris in 1857 in the mahJ collection (purchased at auction).
  • A Passover seder dish made by the Utzschneider & Co pottery at Sarreguemines between 1875 and1900 (purchased at auction).
  • An Esther scroll created in Fez in the 19th century, mounted on wood inlaid with silver-plated metal in the local tradition (gift of Irène Koch).
  • An amusing, possibly Egyptian, early 20th-century synagogue regulations in Hebrew, Arabic and French. Prohibiting entry to the synagogue to any bare-headed person – “nor can a handkerchief replace a hat or fez” – showing the influence of western customs in an oriental context (purchased at auction).
  • Megillat Ester, a Hebrew book reproducing the text of the Esther scroll published in Zürich in 1918 with Jugendstil graphics by Joseph Kaplan and six illustrations by Sigismond Mohr inspired by Assyrian art (purchased at auction).
  • Haggadah printed in Jerusalem in 1931 with illustrations by Arieh El-Hanani and an olive wood cover created by the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, founded in 1906 by Boris Schatz (purchased at auction).

    Historic collections


    Claude-Pierre Gouget, Histoire des Inquisitions où l'on rapporte l'origine et le progrès de ces Tribunaux, leurs variations, la forme de leur Juridiction, et l'Extrait du Manuel des Inquisiteurs, Cologne, 1759

    • The statutes of the city of Avignon, printed in 1617 in Latin and French with the coat-of-arms of Pope Paul V. A chapter lists the “rights and obligations of the Jews”, confined since the late 16th century to four closed quarters or “quarries” (purchased at auction).
    • Letters of patent issued in 1760 authorising six Jewish families in Avignon to trade in silk fabrics in Bordeaux despite opposition by the profession’s guilds, bearing testimony both to the attempts by many Jews in the Comtat Venaissin to escape life in the “quarries” in which they had been confined by the popes and their exceptional integration in southwest France before the Revolution (purchased at auction).
    • History of the Inquisitions […] by Claude-Pierre Gouget, published in Cologne in 1759. Beautifully illustrated with nine copper-etched plates, this book describes the exceptional tribunals in the Middle Ages then those of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions that particularly targeted the Marranos, Iberian Jews forced to convert to Christianity and accused of “Judaizing” in secret. These courts prompted the Marranos’ mass migration to more welcoming lands such as the United Provinces (the Netherlands) and southwestern France (purchased at auction
    • The Tractatus de Juribus Judaeorum by Georg Lochner, Nuremberg, 1741, a legal treatise in Latin and German by a Christian author, with a fine copper-etched frontispiece depicting a marriage, a dying man dictating his will, merchants at their counters and a prisoner being led to the gallows (purchased at auction).
    • A 1794 leaflet showing Marianne slaying a dragon with a pike and wearing a Phrygian bonnet, in which the deputy André Foussedoire (Issoudun, 1753 – Lausanne, 1820), on a mission in Alsace, is showing his indignation at the infringements of common law committed locally against Jewish citizens (purchased at auction).
    • A portrait of Lucien Lambert in 1872, aged three, by Piet Van Havermaet (1834-1897), a painter famous in Belgium for his high society portraits. This portrayal of the infant son of a family of Brussels bankers shows the cultural integration of the Jewish bourgeoisie in the 19th century (gift of Hubert and Catherine Lambert).
    • Le Tractatus de Juribus Judaeorum de Georg Lochner, Nuremberg, 1741, traité juridique en latin et allemand d’un auteur chrétien, précédé d’un très beau frontispice gravé sur cuivre figurant un mariage, un mourant dictant son testament, des négociants devant des caisses et un prisonnier conduit vers un gibet (achat en vente publique).
    • Un feuillet de 1794 surmonté d’une Marianne terrassant un dragon, une pique à la main et un bonnet phrygien sur la tête, dans lequel le député André Foussedoire (Issoudun, 1753 – Lausanne, 1820) en mission en Alsace fait part de son indignation face aux entorses au droit commun commises localement à l’encontre des citoyens juifs (achat en vente publique).
    • The Game of the Dreyfus Affair and the Truth, a kind of snakes and ladders game illustrating the affair’s impact throughout French society (purchased at auction).
    • Three very large 1904 pastel portraits of members of the Hassoun family in Constantine by the teacher Abraham Hassoun (1876-1972): a portrait of himself with his wife, also a teacher, and his son in western dress at Eyn Beïda, and two portraits of them in oriental dress, showing the social ascension of this Jewish family of modest origins whose son, André-Gilbert, then aged two, later attended the Ecole Polytechnique (purchased at auction).

    Fine arts


    Alice Halicka (1884-1975), Jeune garçon et deux femmes, années 1920

    • A study by Edouard Moyse (Nancy, 1827 – Paris, 1907), who with Edouard Brandon was one of the first two French Jewish artists to depict specifically Jewish subjects. As in many of the artist’s works, it is difficult to locate this marriage scene in time and space but the costumes could suggest a Maghrebin ceremony, the artist having stayed in Algeria for a long period between 1855 and 1860 (purchased at auction).
    • An ink drawing by Jules Adler (Luxeuil, 1865 – Paris, 1952) of a young cowherd at Saint-Valbert in 1911. It was shown at the Salon in 1912 as In the Stable and acquired directly from the artist by one of his pupils (gift of François Meyer)
    • Three small pictures (two oils on canvas and a gouache mounted on card) depicting shtetl scenes by Alice Halicka (Krakow, 1884 – Paris, 1975), a School of Paris artist who arrived in Paris in 1912 (purchased at auction).
    • In the Shadow of the Past, a portfolio of twelve etchings by Issachar Ryback (Ukraine, 1897 – Paris, 1935) with commentaries by Gustave Kahn. Executed in 1933 in a more serene style, Ryback was returning to the theme of traditional Jewish life in a small Eastern European community that he had depicted ten years before in Shtetl, mayn khoreve Heym, a Gedenkenish (“Shtetl, My Destroyed Home, A Remembrance”) already in the museum’s collection as well as several of the artist’s illustrated children’s books (purchase).
    • Franck Brangwyn (Bruges, 1867 – London, 1956) produced these three very small etchings in 1930-1931 to illustrate A l’ombre de la Croix (In the Shadow of the Cross), the book by Jérôme and Jean Tharaud on the life of Hungarian Jewish communities first published in 1915 (gift of François Meyer).
    • The Studio, a small oil on card by the School of Paris artist Esther Carp (1897-1970) (purchased at auction).
    • Two drawings by Walter Spitzer, a Polish artist born in 1927, depicting a shochet (ritual slaughterer of animals) and a rabbi (purchased at auction).
    • Seventy-three works on paper donated by Esther Topiol from Galerie Jaquester (a contraction of Jacques and Esther Topiol), which opened in the late 1970s in rue Rambuteau in Paris. The ten artists, half of whom are women, fall into two groups, the first exploring abstraction and expressionism: Colette Brunschwig (11), Liliane Klapisch (7), Jeanne Coppel (3), Félicia Pacanowska (1), Antal Biro (1); the second representing the Israeli art scene in the 1970s and 80s: Anna Shanon (27), Moshe Kupferman (9), Mordecai Ardon (10), Nissan Engel (3) and Joseph Zaritssky (1).
    • The Guerry Columns, terracotta sculptures by Georges Jeanclos (1933-1997), created in 1994 as a model for a monument commemorating the site of a well at Guerry, a hamlet near Savigny-sur-Septaine into which the corpses of thirty-six Jews were thrown. They were executed by the French militia and the Gestapo on 24 and 26 July and 8 August 1944 as a reprisal for the liberation of Saint-Amand-Montrond by the members of the Resistance (gift of Mathilde Ferrer, the artist’s widow, and his children Elisabeth, Marc and Emmanuel Jeanclos).