Painting Music

A Visit with David Benforado

David Benforado with a nay flute in front of an oil painting

David Benforado playing a nay flute, in the background one of his recent paintings “Brown-Orange,” 150 x 150 cm, oil on linen, 2015/2016; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Leonore Maier

“There is a whole world in five notes, just as there is a world in five colors.” With these words David Benforado, painter and musician, expressed his understanding of art to me. Painting Makams and Between Sound and Silence are, appropriately, the titles of his two series for the art vending machine, both of which have been available for sale this year at the Jewish Museum Berlin (more information about the art vending machine on our website). Music and painting are combined in small-scale oils, studies in color filled with energy and vitality.

Ever since David Benforado has been painting, he has been working with music. His atelier has again and again been the site of sessions with professional musicians, for instance during his time in Budapest with the accordion player David Yengiburgan and here in Berlin with pianist Antonis Anissegos. Seven years ago Benforado began studying the ney, a Middle-Eastern flute, and soon he encountered the world of Turkish makams and modal music from the eastern Mediterranean. This became a source of inspiration for his painting.  continue reading

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“Now we’ll follow the intrepid path that Lassalle led us to!”

Dark Red Booktitle with golden letters

“Enthüllungen über das tragische Lebensende Lassalles” (An Exposé of the Tragic Death of Lassalle) by Bernhard Becker © Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Leonore Maier

150 years ago today – on the last day of August, 1864 – Ferdinand Lassalle died as a result of injuries sustained in a duel. The German politician and journalist was a founder of the first workers’ organization in the country, the General German Workers’ Association, which had come into being the year before his death and is today still considered “the birthplace of social democracy”. Ferdinand Lassalle’s duel pistols were on display at the exhibition “150 Years of Social Democracy”, presented a year ago by the Moscow State Archive.

Both a politician and a charismatic agitator for the organization of workers, Lassalle was only 39 years old when he challenged Wilhelm von Dönniges to a duel because the latter had refused to grant Lassalle his daughter’s hand in marriage.

After his abrupt demise, a veritable cult of personality developed around his memory: there were poems, songs, even rituals carried out during the widespread commemoration ceremonies, as well as various pieces of memorabilia that circulated among his followers. The first book with “An Exposé of the Tragic Death of Lassalle” appeared in 1868, by one of his close political comrades.
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Soccer & the First World War

Gems from our Collection

Photograph of a soccer team

Harry Engel (1892-1950) with the FC Bayern Munich, Munich, September 1916
© Jewish Museum Berlin, donated by Alfred Engel, photo: Jens Ziehe

On 15 February 1940, after a four-year wait for an American visa then a successful escape from Nazi Germany, the Engel family, hitherto of Munich, reached the safe shores of Manhattan. In the family’s luggage was memorabilia that the then 13-year-old Alfred Engel was to donate to the Jewish Museum Berlin, decades later, from his father’s estate. It includes rare photographs from the 1910s, a time when Harry Engel (1892–1950) was an active soccer player at FC Bayern Munich.  continue reading