Thursday, July 6, 2017

‘Portrait of a Bride’ tells the story of a market in Jewish art

By David Van Biema
“Portrait of a Young Jewish Bride” by Isidor Kaufmann circa 1905. Photo courtesy Kestenbaum & Company
NEW YORK (RNS) She is serene and dignified (perhaps even a little bored). Her eyes are slate blue and her lips bee-stung. She wears the marriage finery of early 20th-century Orthodox Judaism: a fur-trimmed cape, satin bib and a tiara boasting 300 small pearls. And 112 years after first being painted, her image still commands the room — as the premiere offering at Kestenbaum and Company, an auction house in Manhattan devoted solely to a full spectrum of Judaica. Her estimated price: $200,000 to $300,000. There is the art market and then there is the market for explicitly Jewish art. One is big and rich and over-observed. The other is little-known and intense, and as riddled with irony as Jewish history. [More]
“Portrait of a Hasid” by Isidor Kaufmann. Photo courtesy Kestenbaum & Company