Welcome to the Magnes!

Exhibitions, Programs, and 15,000 Objects from Around the World

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life was established in 2010 following the transfer of the Judah L. Magnes Museum to the University of California, Berkeley. Its remarkably diverse archive, library and museum holdings include art, objects, texts, music, and historical documents about the Jews in the Global Diaspora and the American West. As one of the world's preeminent Jewish collections in a university setting, it provides highly innovative and accessible resources to both researchers and the general publicThe holdings of The Magnes continue to grow. In 2017, The Magnes established the Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection, and in 2018 it received the gift of the Roman Vishniac Archive

We are open to the public Tuesday - Friday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. We are closed on the weekends, Mondays, and on University Holidays. 

 

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)

On View: 
Jan 28, 2020 to May 29, 2020
Sep 1, 2020 to Dec 18, 2020

Born into a middle-class Polish Jewish family, Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) lived a life framed by two world wars, the collapse of European democracies, and the rise of totalitarianism. A refugee, he ultimately settled in the United States in 1940. Throughout his work as a miniature artist and political caricaturist, he used motifs drawn from religion, history, politics, and culture, pairing extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American Revolution, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel. 

Broad concerns for human rights are woven into Szyk’s entire production. In paintings and political cartoons, the artist exposed the Nazi genocide, supported the Polish resistance, exalted the establishment of the United Nations, and ridiculed dictators of all stripes. His unwavering denunciation of Fascist crimes in Europe, the suppression of national rights worldwide, and the endless violations of civil rights in America, are rooted in the experience of marginalization that characterized Jewish life in Eastern Europe in modern times. In our times, these concerns are still resounding strongly.

An Archive of Archives: Roman Vishniac's Exhibition History | New York, 1971-72

On View: 
Jan 28, 2020 to May 29, 2020

The Magnes acquired the Roman Vishniac Archive in 2018, thanks to an unprecedented gift by the late Mara Vishniac Kohn (1926-2018). The collection is comprised of thousands of original prints, negatives, and archival materials documenting the long international career of Roman Vishniac (1897-1990), a Russian-born modernist photographer most notable for documenting Eastern-European Jewish life in the years immediately preceding the Holocaust. Vishniac’s work has been celebrated in exhibitions and publications since the 1940s. The gift represents one of the most important acquisitions made by The Magnes since its founding in 1962, and one of inestimable value to UC Berkeley for insight and research into 20th-century East European Jewry, and beyond.

As this important collection is being painstakingly processed and documented, The Magnes is beginning to share new findings with the public. An archive of this magnitude is bound to reveal many discoveries, opening up new perspectives on the life and work of a globally recognized photographer, and allowing us to revisit some of the salient moments in his career. A veritable “archive of archives,” the collection also contains among its treasures substantial documentation of some of Vishniac’s early exhibitions.

Souvenirs from Utopia: The Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem (1906-1932)

On View: 
Aug 27, 2019 to Dec 13, 2019
Jan 21, 2020 to May 29, 2020

At the turn of the 20th century, under Ottoman rule, Jerusalem was rapidly developing into a center of Jewish cultural activities. The protagonists of this scene were, for the most part, recent East-European Jewish immigrants. They had been inspired to move to Palestine by the emerging Zionist movement, and were eager to shake off the oppressive conditions they had experienced under the Russian Empire. 

Press Release | Exhibition of Political Art by WWII-Era Human Rights Advocate Arthur Szyk Opens at UC Berkeley Magnes Collection (1.21.2020)

Exhibition of Political Art by WWII-Era Human Rights Advocate Arthur Szyk
Opens at UC Berkeley Magnes Collection

Students help to bring artist’s historic calls to action to contemporary audiences 

Berkeley, Calif. (January 21, 2020)—Arthur Szyk’s compelling political cartoons placed Nazi genocide, tyranny and racism on the covers of America’s most popular magazines during World War II. Today, his pioneering examples of graphic storytelling have renewed relevance as a new exhibition and University of California, Berkeley students bring Szyk’s works to contemporary audiences.

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951) will be open to the public January 28—May 29 and September 1—December 18, 2020 at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley. Uniquely through art, Szyk was one of the first public figures to take immediate, direct action in bringing attention to the Holocaust as it was being perpetrated. The miniature size of his artwork stands in striking juxtaposition to the magnitude of the themes it confronted and the human rights violations it exposed.

Made possible by a generous gift of the Szyk collection from Bay Area-based Taube Philanthropies, the new exhibition includes more than 50 original artworks by Szyk and features two interactive workstations created by UC Berkeley students and Francesco Spagnolo, The Magnes curator.

Spagnolo has supervised nearly 100 students working at The Magnes over the past three years through UC Berkeley’s Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program. “It’s a diverse group of students—some with Jewish backgrounds and some with no connection to Judaism. Szyk’s work speaks to their shared concerns about human rights.”

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)

On View: 
Jan 28, 2020 to May 29, 2020
Sep 1, 2020 to Dec 18, 2020

Born into a middle-class Polish Jewish family, Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) lived a life framed by two world wars, the collapse of European democracies, and the rise of totalitarianism. A refugee, he ultimately settled in the United States in 1940. Throughout his work as a miniature artist and political caricaturist, he used motifs drawn from religion, history, politics, and culture, pairing extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American Revolution, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel. 

Broad concerns for human rights are woven into Szyk’s entire production. In paintings and political cartoons, the artist exposed the Nazi genocide, supported the Polish resistance, exalted the establishment of the United Nations, and ridiculed dictators of all stripes. His unwavering denunciation of Fascist crimes in Europe, the suppression of national rights worldwide, and the endless violations of civil rights in America, are rooted in the experience of marginalization that characterized Jewish life in Eastern Europe in modern times. In our times, these concerns are still resounding strongly.

An Archive of Archives: Roman Vishniac's Exhibition History | New York, 1971-72

On View: 
Jan 28, 2020 to May 29, 2020

The Magnes acquired the Roman Vishniac Archive in 2018, thanks to an unprecedented gift by the late Mara Vishniac Kohn (1926-2018). The collection is comprised of thousands of original prints, negatives, and archival materials documenting the long international career of Roman Vishniac (1897-1990), a Russian-born modernist photographer most notable for documenting Eastern-European Jewish life in the years immediately preceding the Holocaust. Vishniac’s work has been celebrated in exhibitions and publications since the 1940s. The gift represents one of the most important acquisitions made by The Magnes since its founding in 1962, and one of inestimable value to UC Berkeley for insight and research into 20th-century East European Jewry, and beyond.

As this important collection is being painstakingly processed and documented, The Magnes is beginning to share new findings with the public. An archive of this magnitude is bound to reveal many discoveries, opening up new perspectives on the life and work of a globally recognized photographer, and allowing us to revisit some of the salient moments in his career. A veritable “archive of archives,” the collection also contains among its treasures substantial documentation of some of Vishniac’s early exhibitions.

Souvenirs from Utopia: The Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem (1906-1932)

On View: 
Aug 27, 2019 to Dec 13, 2019
Jan 21, 2020 to May 29, 2020

At the turn of the 20th century, under Ottoman rule, Jerusalem was rapidly developing into a center of Jewish cultural activities. The protagonists of this scene were, for the most part, recent East-European Jewish immigrants. They had been inspired to move to Palestine by the emerging Zionist movement, and were eager to shake off the oppressive conditions they had experienced under the Russian Empire. 

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)

On View: 
Jan 28, 2020 to May 29, 2020
Sep 1, 2020 to Dec 18, 2020

Born into a middle-class Polish Jewish family, Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) lived a life framed by two world wars, the collapse of European democracies, and the rise of totalitarianism. A refugee, he ultimately settled in the United States in 1940. Throughout his work as a miniature artist and political caricaturist, he used motifs drawn from religion, history, politics, and culture, pairing extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American Revolution, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel. 

Broad concerns for human rights are woven into Szyk’s entire production. In paintings and political cartoons, the artist exposed the Nazi genocide, supported the Polish resistance, exalted the establishment of the United Nations, and ridiculed dictators of all stripes. His unwavering denunciation of Fascist crimes in Europe, the suppression of national rights worldwide, and the endless violations of civil rights in America, are rooted in the experience of marginalization that characterized Jewish life in Eastern Europe in modern times. In our times, these concerns are still resounding strongly.

January 2020

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In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)


9/1/2020 to 12/18/2020

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

Born into a middle-class Polish Jewish family, Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) lived a life framed by two world wars, the collapse of European democracies, and the rise of totalitarianism. A refugee, he ultimately settled in the United States in 1940. Throughout his work as a miniature artist and political caricaturist, he used motifs drawn from religion, history, politics, and culture, pairing extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American Revolution, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel. 

Broad concerns for human rights are woven into Szyk’s entire production. In paintings and political cartoons, the artist exposed the Nazi genocide, supported the Polish resistance, exalted the establishment of the United Nations, and ridiculed dictators of all stripes. His unwavering denunciation of Fascist crimes in Europe, the suppression of national rights worldwide, and the endless violations of civil rights in America, are rooted in the experience of marginalization that characterized Jewish life in Eastern Europe in modern times. In our times, these concerns are still resounding strongly.

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

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In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)


9/1/2020 to 12/18/2020

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

Born into a middle-class Polish Jewish family, Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) lived a life framed by two world wars, the collapse of European democracies, and the rise of totalitarianism. A refugee, he ultimately settled in the United States in 1940. Throughout his work as a miniature artist and political caricaturist, he used motifs drawn from religion, history, politics, and culture, pairing extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American Revolution, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel. 

Broad concerns for human rights are woven into Szyk’s entire production. In paintings and political cartoons, the artist exposed the Nazi genocide, supported the Polish resistance, exalted the establishment of the United Nations, and ridiculed dictators of all stripes. His unwavering denunciation of Fascist crimes in Europe, the suppression of national rights worldwide, and the endless violations of civil rights in America, are rooted in the experience of marginalization that characterized Jewish life in Eastern Europe in modern times. In our times, these concerns are still resounding strongly.

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

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In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)


9/1/2020 to 12/18/2020

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

Born into a middle-class Polish Jewish family, Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) lived a life framed by two world wars, the collapse of European democracies, and the rise of totalitarianism. A refugee, he ultimately settled in the United States in 1940. Throughout his work as a miniature artist and political caricaturist, he used motifs drawn from religion, history, politics, and culture, pairing extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American Revolution, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel. 

Broad concerns for human rights are woven into Szyk’s entire production. In paintings and political cartoons, the artist exposed the Nazi genocide, supported the Polish resistance, exalted the establishment of the United Nations, and ridiculed dictators of all stripes. His unwavering denunciation of Fascist crimes in Europe, the suppression of national rights worldwide, and the endless violations of civil rights in America, are rooted in the experience of marginalization that characterized Jewish life in Eastern Europe in modern times. In our times, these concerns are still resounding strongly.

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

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In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)


9/1/2020 to 12/18/2020

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

Born into a middle-class Polish Jewish family, Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) lived a life framed by two world wars, the collapse of European democracies, and the rise of totalitarianism. A refugee, he ultimately settled in the United States in 1940. Throughout his work as a miniature artist and political caricaturist, he used motifs drawn from religion, history, politics, and culture, pairing extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American Revolution, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel. 

Broad concerns for human rights are woven into Szyk’s entire production. In paintings and political cartoons, the artist exposed the Nazi genocide, supported the Polish resistance, exalted the establishment of the United Nations, and ridiculed dictators of all stripes. His unwavering denunciation of Fascist crimes in Europe, the suppression of national rights worldwide, and the endless violations of civil rights in America, are rooted in the experience of marginalization that characterized Jewish life in Eastern Europe in modern times. In our times, these concerns are still resounding strongly.

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

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In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)

In Real Times. Arthur Szyk: Art & Human Rights (1926-1951)


9/1/2020 to 12/18/2020

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

Born into a middle-class Polish Jewish family, Arthur Szyk (Łódź, Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, 1951) lived a life framed by two world wars, the collapse of European democracies, and the rise of totalitarianism. A refugee, he ultimately settled in the United States in 1940. Throughout his work as a miniature artist and political caricaturist, he used motifs drawn from religion, history, politics, and culture, pairing extraordinary craftsmanship with searing commentary on a diverse range of subjects including Judaism, the American Revolution, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel. 

Broad concerns for human rights are woven into Szyk’s entire production. In paintings and political cartoons, the artist exposed the Nazi genocide, supported the Polish resistance, exalted the establishment of the United Nations, and ridiculed dictators of all stripes. His unwavering denunciation of Fascist crimes in Europe, the suppression of national rights worldwide, and the endless violations of civil rights in America, are rooted in the experience of marginalization that characterized Jewish life in Eastern Europe in modern times. In our times, these concerns are still resounding strongly.

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

»
 
 
 
An Archive of Archives: Roman Vishniac's Exhibition History | New York, 1971-72

An Archive of Archives: Roman Vishniac's Exhibition History | New York, 1971-72


1/28/2020 to 5/29/2020

Every week, Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, during the UC Berkeley Fall and Spring Semesters.

The Magnes acquired the Roman Vishniac Archive in 2018, thanks to an unprecedented gift by the late Mara Vishniac Kohn (1926-2018). The collection is comprised of thousands of original prints, negatives, and archival materials documenting the long international career of Roman Vishniac (1897-1990), a Russian-born modernist photographer most notable for documenting Eastern-European Jewish life in the years immediately preceding the Holocaust. Vishniac’s work has been celebrated in exhibitions and publications since the 1940s. The gift represents one of the most important acquisitions made by The Magnes since its founding in 1962, and one of inestimable value to UC Berkeley for insight and research into 20th-century East European Jewry, and beyond.

As this important collection is being painstakingly processed and documented, The Magnes is beginning to share new findings with the public. An archive of this magnitude is bound to reveal many discoveries, opening up new perspectives on the life and work of a globally recognized photographer, and allowing us to revisit some of the salient moments in his career. A veritable “archive of archives,” the collection also contains among its treasures substantial documentation of some of Vishniac’s early exhibitions.

Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Read More

»
 
 
 
 
Posted on Thursday, September 8, 2016

I am delighted to share the wonderfully insightful reflection and writing of Isabel (Issy) Steckel (Wesleyan, 2019), this summer’s Social Media intern at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. Issy, a Bay Area native, interested in all things art, Italy, and Jewish studies, dove in, head first to her position as Social Media intern. Her knowledge and expertise only served to garner more publicity for The Magnes, and to bolster our social media presence, tripling our follower count on Instagram.

Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Over the course of this year, our Magnes Graduate Fellow, Yosef Rosen, in collaboration with our former Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP) student, Zoe Lewin, worked extensively with The Magnes’s shiviti manuscript collection.

Posted on Friday, May 6, 2016

I am delighted to share an essay by Lauren Cooper. Lauren, who is graduating from UC Berkeley this Spring, with a Major in Comparative Literature, and Minors in Spanish and History, has been involved with Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) that I direct at The Magnes for the last two years.

Posted on Friday, November 20, 2015

Carla Shapreau, a faculty member at Berkeley Law whose research involves the Nazi-era plunder of musical cultural property and the restitution of those possessions, a senior fellow in the Institute of European Studies and a curator at the Department of Music, as well as a member of the Magnes Working Group on Mapping Diasporas, is the recipient with two co-authors of this year’s Claude V.

Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2015

Greg Niemeyer is Associate Professor of Art Practice and the Director of the Berkeley Center for New Media (bcnm.berkeley.edu). Born in Switzerland in 1967, he studied photography and classics, and received his MFA from Stanford, where he founded the Digital Art Center.