MFA receives a transformational gift spanning three centuries of Jewish decorative arts
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has acquired the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Collection, a transformational gift of Judaica comprising 119 decorative and ritual objects. The gift showcases an incredible array of works that greatly enhance the Museum’s holdings of Judaica, which now feature pieces from the 18th through the 20th century from Europe, Asia, Israel, and America—including metalwork, works on paper, textiles, ceramics, sculptures, and paintings. A selection of the newly acquired works is now on view in the Museum’s European galleries, featuring objects that demonstrate the continuity of Jewish traditions over hundreds of years.
The gift was made by Lynn Schusterman, who, with her late husband, Charles, established The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. “This foundational gift establishes the MFA as one of a very few encyclopedic art museums in America working to build a collection of Judaica,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director. “The varied and engaging works will enliven our galleries and engage our audience.” The works in the Schusterman Collection represent pieces that were meant to be used in the home—rather than in a synagogue or temple setting—where the celebration of Jewish holidays and rituals has long been enriched by precious decorative domestic objects. The collection includes 71 pieces of silver and metalwork, five works on paper, seven textiles, three paintings, three sculptures, and numerous examples of ceramics and earthenware. Among the diverse objects are 31 Hanukkah lamps in a variety of materials, 22 spice containers, six silver amulet cases, eight pairs of silver Sabbath candlesticks, and a brass standing Sabbath candelabrum.
The gift of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Collection ensures that MFA visitors will have the opportunity to explore centuries of Jewish culture through these fascinating examples of Judaica, and learn more about the works through gallery tours, educational programming, and online resources.
Above: Yehia Yemini, Hanukkah lamp, Israel, Jerusalem, 1920s. Silver. Charles and Lynn Schusterman Collection. On view in the Lorna and Robert Rosenberg Gallery, 252.