Gained in Translation. Jews, Germany, California circa 1849

Gained in Translation. Jews, Germany, California circa 1849

Gained  in  Translation:  Jews,  Germany,  California  circa  1849 
Inaugural  exhibition  of  The  Magnes  Collection  of  Jewish  Art  and  Life  

The  Bancroft  Library  Gallery,  University  of  California,  Berkeley;  March  1  -­‐  July  1  2011     

With  the  establishment  of  The  Magnes  Collection  of  Jewish  Art  and  Life  in  July  2010,  the  unique  archives   documenting  the  Jewish  experience  in  Northern  California  were  gifted  to  The  Bancroft  Library  by  the   former  Judah  L.  Magnes  Museum  in  Berkeley.  The  Magnes  archives  of  Western  Jewish  Americana  have   served  as  an  important  source  for  several  foundational  studies  of  Jewish  life  in  California.  Researchers   often  relied  on  the  combination  of  Magnes  and  Bancroft  collections  in  their  work.  Now,  the  physically   integrated  collections  of  both  institutions  bring  unique  resources  under  one  roof,  making  them  even   more  accessible  for  teaching  and  research.    

The  inaugural  exhibition,  Gained  in  Translation:  Jews,  Germany,  California  circa  1849,  draws  on  art,   artifacts,  books,  and  archival  materials  from  The  Magnes  Collection  of  Jewish  Art  and  Life,  The  Bancroft   Library,  and  the  Levi-­‐Strauss  Archives  to  stretch  the  historical  and  geographic  boundaries  of  San   Francisco  Jewish  history,  connecting  the  history  of  the  Jews  in  Germany  before  1849  to  the   establishment  of  the  Jewish  community  in  the  San  Francisco  Bay  in  the  second  half  of  the  19th  century.         

The  focal  point  of  the  exhibition  is  the  renowned  painting  by  Moritz  Daniel  Oppenheim  Lavater  and   Lessing  Visit  Moses  Mendelssohn  (1856),  one  of  the  most  reproduced  works  in  the  Magnes  Collection,   often  used  to  illustrate  the  cultural  dialogue  framing  the  social  and  cultural  emancipation  of  the  Jews  in   Germany.  The  decade  in  which  this  work  appeared  was  pivotal  for  German  Jews:  their  hopes  for   emancipation  were  challenged  by  the  failed  revolution  of  1848-­‐49,  which  also  spurred  emigration  to  the   United  States,  including  to  San  Francisco,  where  the  Gold  Rush  provided  new  opportunities  of  social   success  and  civic  engagement.  

Curators  
Alla  Efimova,  Jacques  and  Esther  Reutlinger  Director  
Francesco  Spagnolo,  Curator  of  Collections