Skip Navigation

About the WorkShare

Friday Evening

Isidor Kaufmann (Austrian, b. Hungary, 1853-1921)

Friday Evening, c. 1920

  • Oil on canvas
  • 28 5/8 x 35 7/8 in. (72.7 x 91.1 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. M. R. Schweitzer, JM 4-63

Not on view

largeImage

close

Friday Evening

close

Friday Evening

close

Listen

Isidor Kaufmann's nostalgic painting Friday Evening reflects the tranquility of the Sabbath. A lone figure has lit the Sabbath candles and sits lost in thought. Perhaps she is awaiting her husband's return from synagogue to begin the Sabbath meal. Atop the white table linen are the candlesticks and Kiddush cup, challah loaves covered in a white cloth, and a prayer book. Although Kaufmann was not an observant Jew, he frequently depicted traditional eastern European Jewish life in his paintings. He left the canvas of this painting unfinished, revealing his preparatory pencil drawings in several places.

Light features prominently in Kaufmann's painting. The light from the Sabbath candles, wall sconces, and hanging chandelier glints off the white table cloth, challah cover, headdress, and walls. The candle flames and electric chandelier lamps are also reflected in the mirror on the back wall. The rich color of the young woman's dress provides a counterpoint to the white and off-white space and a focus for the viewer's attention. But even the texture of her garment captures and reflects some of the abundant light of the scene.