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Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater (Jewish Museum) Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Series: Jewish Museum
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (November 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030011155X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300111552
  • Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 9.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,311,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Excellent. . . . First-rate essays . . . introduce more than 200 colorful illustrations which beautifully demonstrate the creativity of the Jewish artists who brilliantly used their avant-garde competence to complement the experimental stage productions."—Morton I. Teicher, Buffalo Jewish Review
(Morton I. Teicher Buffalo Jewish Review 2009-01-16)

"The present volume . . . is most impressive. . . . No more informative or attractive book could possibly grace a library's collection or a coffee table. Highly recommended."—Choice

Finalist in the 2010 National Jewish Book Award in the Visual Arts Category sponsored by the Jewish Book Council
(National Jewish Book Award in the Visual Arts Category Finalist Jewish Book Council 2010-01-01)

About the Author

Susan Tumarkin Goodman is senior curator at The Jewish Museum. Her books include Marc Chagall: Early Works from Russian Collections and The Emergence of Jewish Artists in Nineteenth-Century Europe.

More About the Author

Jeffrey Veidlinger is Joseph Brodsky Collegiate Professor of History and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. Previously he was Alvin H. Rosenfeld Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Indiana University and Director of the Borns Jewish Studies Program. Professor Veidlinger is the author of The Moscow State Yiddish Theater: Jewish Culture on the Soviet Stage, which won a National Jewish Book Award and the Barnard Hewitt Award for Theater Scholarship, and the author of Jewish Public Culture in the Late Russian Empire, which won a Canadian Jewish Book Award and the J. I . Segal Prize. His most recent book is In the Shadow of the Shtetl: Small-Town Jewish Life in Soviet Ukraine. In 2006, he was named a Top Young Historian by the History News Network.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Reich Claude on February 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Far from being just another book on Chagall, this catalogue for a recent exhibition held at the Jewish Museum in NYC is a treasure trove of information, photographs and artworks documenting the intense relationship that the Russian-born Chagall (but not only him) maintained with Habima and Goset (the Moscow State Yiddish Theater), two theater companies that spearheaded a modernist revolution on the Russian and Jewish stages during the years following the 1917 Revolution, Habima being more Zionist-oriented (and eventually emigrating to Palestine) and Goset emphasizing the Expressionnistic side of its theater.

The book tells the story of those two companies, draws a vivid portrait of the main actors (Salomon Mikhoels murdered by Stalin's henchmen in 1948), authors (Dobrushin, Babel, Asch...), artists (Chagall, of course, but also Natan Altman, Robert Falk, Ignaty Nivinsky or Isaac Rabinovich)and musicians (Lev Pulver, Moshe Milner...)who collaborated in all sorts of ways in this unique cultural experience.

The title is slightly misleading as Chagall left Goset in 1922 and the company went on until 1949 with many other artists taking a central role in designing costumes and sets, many of which are beautifully illustrated in never-before-seen images in the book.

This book is also a marvelous document on the Jewish cultural life in Russia during the first half of the XXth century, its relationship to Zionism and Communism and the diversity of the many artists taking part in it.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Smith-Peter on September 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The cover of the book is taken from Marc Chagall's Introduction to the Jewish Theater, and that is what the book does as well. It places Chagall's work within the broader context of two Jewish theaters. The first is the Hebrew theater Habima, which was founded in the USSR and is now the national theater of Israel. The second is the Moscow State Yiddish Theater, which Jeffery Veidlinger in his interesting chapter describes as "Yiddish Constructivism."

I came to this book without much knowledge of this specific subject, and the introduction was interesting and easy to follow. There are many illustrations, both color and black and white, which help to place Chagall in a wider context.

Closing this book, I came away with a great deal of respect to all the people who worked in these two theaters. They were very courageous as well as talented. Some, like Solomon Mikhoels, paid for it with their lives. This is a world that deserves to be rediscovered.

The book itself is beautifully produced and typeset. A sumptuous introduction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ivor E. Zetler on January 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Moscow State Yiddish Theatre (GOSET) was established in Petrograd in 1919, moving to Moscow the following year. Subsidised by the state, it performed plays in Yiddish, as opposed to the alternative company Habimah who used the Hebrew language. GOSET disintegrated after the murder (ordered by Stalin) in 1948 of the great actor Solomon Mikhoels.

Quoting from the catalogue: "To a large degree the Jewish theatre was influenced by the mass pageants, street performances, Russian circus, cabaret and music -hall burlesque of the early 20th century. Jewish artists absorbed the language of revolutionary art movements in Europe and Russia, notably Cubism, Futurism and Constructivism."

The first section of this catalogue contains informative articles related to GOSET and Habimah. The balance of the book contains illustrations featured in the exhibition; costume designs, posters, costumes plus historic photographs of stage sets, actors and artists.

One of the main centrepieces of the exhibition were the six theatre murals by Chagall. These are attractive works in the typical Chagall style. Using this artist's name in the title of the catalogue is an obvious marketing ploy and somewhat deceptive. Chagall's participation in the exhibition content is relatively minor; in fact Nathan Altman's works are at least equally prominent but his name lacks Chagall's cachet.

Nevertheless, this book gives a fascinating overview of Russian Jewish Theatre
in words and archival illustrations. The book is well printed with excellent quality reproductions.
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