Jankel Adler's painting Sabbath shows a parlor scene on the weekly day of rest. The artist has not depicted the festive, pleasurable moment of welcoming the Shabbat that is familiar from many other pictures. He has chosen to show the hours afterward. A man is reclining on the couch near his prayer shawl, his prayer book in hand. His wife is seated in a chair with a bowl of sunflower seeds in her lap. The table is set with objects and dishes for Shabbat. But the candles have burnt low, half the hallah bread has been eaten, and the wine glass is empty.
A Poem by Else Lasker-Schüler
Indeed many works by Jankel Adler contain Jewish themes, individual Yiddish words, and allusions to Jewish customs. The poet Else Lasker-Schüler wrote of her friend:
With large, poetic harp-like characters
He consecrates every picture he paints
To his young god Tsebaoth.
The Artist, Jankel Adler
Jankel Adler left Łódź in 1913 to attend the School of Applied Arts in Barmen (present-day Wuppertal). In the 1920s he joined the activities of left-wing avant-garde groups in Düsseldorf, Cologne, and Berlin. His intense engagement with wall painting during this period influenced his painting technique, which involved scratching patterns into a mixture of oil paint and sand.
Sabbath was made in 1927/28 during the artist's brief period of success in Düsseldorf. At that time he was at the center of a small Jewish art community that probably included Düsseldorf lawyer Joseph Gottlieb. It was from Gottlieb's heirs that the Jewish Museum acquired the painting.
In 1933, Jankel Adler went in exile in Paris and, when the war broke out in 1939, volunteered for the Polish army. When he was discharged for health reasons two years later, he moved first to Scotland, and then to London in 1943. Jankel Adler died there in 1949, knowing that none of his nine siblings had survived the Shoah.
|Artist||Jankel Adler (1895–1949)|
|Location and year of origin||Düsseldorf, 1927/28|
|Material||Mixed media, oil, sand on canvas|
|Dimensions||120 x 110 cm|
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Selected Objects: Fine Arts Collection (12)
Fine Arts Collection
Glance through our art holdings featuring modernist works by Max Liebermann and Lovis Corinth, and commercial graphic art by Louis Oppenheim. The motifs span from biblical and Jewish themes to intimate portraits and Felix Nussbaum’s haunting response to his experience of persecution.
Albertine Mendelssohn-Bartholdy as a Bride by August Theodor Kaselowsky
In this painting, Albertine Heine appears to be a Christian Madonna. She holds the ring near her heart, wearing a white dress with her gaze modestly lowered.
Biblical map of the Holy Land
This "New and Original Biblical Map of the Holy Land" from 1893 was probably never intended to be used by pilgrims or travelers on the ground.
Loneliness by Felix Nussbaum
Nussbaum is nearly unique among artists for his striking examination of his plight as one of the persecuted. He painted it in Brussels, where he was in hiding, in 1942.
The Plesch Family Portrait by Max Slevogt
Max Slevogt created this painting of his friend's family in 1928. It captures the intimacy of family life while fulfilling a group portrait's representative function.
Composition by Otto Freundlich
Otto Freundlich painted this abstract composition in 1938 – one year after another artwork of his had been branded "degenerate art" in Nazi Germany.
Moses Looks upon the Promised Land by Lesser Ury
For artist Lesser Ury, the painting marked the end of a lifelong preoccupation with the figure of Moses. Unfortunately, only a pastel sketch for the painting survives.
S. Adam Advertising Poster by Louis Oppenheim
With this poster by the well-known graphic artist Louis Oppenheim, the S. Adam clothing store advertised its products to male and female sports enthusiasts in 1908.
Passage through the Red Sea by Jakob Steinhardt
This woodcut by Jakob Steinhardt illustrates a 1920s Haggadah. The people barely escaped with their lives—as is revealed in the expression on Moses’ face.
Girl Walking by Elisabeth Wolff
The sculpture by Elisabeth Wolff was a trophy at the first sporting festival held by the Reich Committee for Jewish Youth Associations, in 1934. The artwork has only been entrusted to our collection for safekeeping.
Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Max Liebermann
In this late self-portrait, the artist presents himself as bourgeois in a dark suit and a Panama hat. Two years after his eightieth birthday, he painted himself here with a touch of resignation and melancholy.
Sabbath by Jankel Adler
Jankel Adler's painting Sabbath shows a parlor scene on the weekly day of rest. But the artist has not depicted the festive, pleasurable moment of welcoming the Shabbat.
Petermannchen by Lovis Corinth
Lovis Corinth painted this portrait of his student and wife-to-be during a beach vacation on the Baltic coast. It contains a secret romantic message.
Selected Objects and Highlights from the Collection
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Fine Arts Collection
Focal points, media, subjects, and what the artwork says about Jewish history
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