The Jew Not Painted

The »Żyd Niemalowany« collection is the largest private collection of original Jewish-themed graphics in Europe. It is divided into three segments, depending on the technique and origin.
The first group, made up of 19th-century wood engravings, was published either in books or in illustrated journals at the time. It is worth noting that 1860-1890 marks the only period in the history of the press when printed images were original, state-of-the-art graphic prints. What makes them even more unique is that in Poland they were created by some of the most prominent painters and graphic artists of the era, unlike abroad, where images were mainly produced by professional press illustrators. This phenomenon might perhaps best be illustrated by listing our artists: Andriolli, Brandt, Chełmoński, Fałat, the Gierymski brothers, Gerson, Gottlieb, Grottger, Kossaks (father and son), Kostrzewski, Matejko, the Pillati brothers, Rodakowski, Siemiradzki, Wierusz-Kowalski, Witkiewicz, and more. They were, perhaps, more renowned in the past, but they are certainly worth recalling. And not only because they managed to take part in a unique creation, the visual record of the 19th-century world of Polish Jews, portraying and delineating Jewish life at the time for the generations to come.

The second segment includes Judaica created by 20th-century graphic artists, including Ephraim Moses Lilien, Lucien Madrassi, Joseph Penell and Hermann Struck. The lithographs by the latter, depicting portraits of the East-European Jews (Ostjuden) and the Atlantis of their shtetlech, otherwise unknown in Poland, continue to speak through our exhibitions. They are in good company, for the works of Hermann Struck hang on the walls of the most prestigious museums in the world.

The third segment – and the crême de la crême of the collection – is comprised of Bible-themed prints. Etchings, engravings, mezzotints and steel engravings dating between the 15th-18th centuries. Portraits, figurative representations, maps and city plans, panoramas and architectural objects. Depicted by some of the old masters of European art – Adrichom, Audran, Boydell, Le Brun, Calmet, Coypel, Heemskerk, Luyken, Poussin, Rembrandt, Ribera, Rubens, Sadeler, Schedel, Suruge, van der Werff and Wierix, among others.