The Eye of the Collector: The Jewish Vision of Sigmund R. Balka

Byline: Opens January 31 in Lawrence Gallery

Posted: January 22, 2013

Rosemont College is pleased to announce The Eye of the Collector: The Jewish Vision of Sigmund R. Balka on exhibition from January 31 to March 18, 2013. An opening reception will take place from 4 - 7 P.M. on January 31 in Lawrence Gallery featuring a talk at 4:30 P.M. by Laura Kruger, curator, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion Museum. Mr. Balka will be in attendance.

The exhibit features more than 40 pieces from a significant collection amassed by Sigmund R. Balka over a fifty-year period, now owned by The Hebrew Union College in New York. Sharing the art with the community - in this case in concurrent exhibitions at Rosemont and the Gorevin Gallery at Cabrini College - has always been of key importance to Mr. Balka. "Art is not of value if it is not presented so that people have the opportunity to interact with it. The more public the opportunity to have it speak for itself, the better society is." A selection of paintings, photographs,, drawings and prints by artists such as Rembrandt, Chagall, Max Beckman, George Grosz, and Louise Nevelson, as well as notable Philadelphia artists Will Barnet, Julius Bloch, and Jack Bookbinder will be on display at Rosemont College.

Visual depictions of Jewish secular and religious life in Europe and America prior to the 19th century were not common - most observant Jews kept strict adherence to the 2nd Commandment, Exodus 20:4 "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." Persecution, exile, dislocation and economic restrictions added another dimension that stifled graphic creativity. Not until the mid-19th century, with the Napleonic Wars, and the Emancipation of the Jews, did Jewish artists, depicting Jewish subjects, begin to make an appearance. The 19th and 20th centuries were the golden era of creativity, and constitute the major part of this collection.

Sigmund Balka graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia (where artists Eakins, Glackens and collector Dr. Albert C. Barnes were students) and was influenced by art from an early age.

Lawrence Gallery is located in Lawrence Hall on Rossemont College's campus at 1400 Montgomery Avenue in Rosemont, PA. The gallery's hours are Monday through Friday, 9 A.M. - 8 P.M. Founded in 1921 by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Rosemont College is a private, coeducational Catholic institution.

*This exhibit is courtesy of The Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion Museum located in New York.

Last Updated: January 22, 2013