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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

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Friday Evening

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Friday Evening

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Isidor Kaufmann was born in Arad (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now in Rumania) in 1853 but lived most of his adult life in Vienna, Austria. Kaufmann studied at the Viennese Academy of Visual Arts and by the 1880s was doing a lot of genre painting, depicting Jewish and non-Jewish people in everyday life. Eventually, Jewish genre scenes became the focus of his work.

Kaufmann traveled to parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in which traditional Jewish life remained vibrant, and he was inspired to document this lifestyle. His sketches from these trips were the basis of numerous paintings that depicted Jewish ritual, prayer, study, and daily life in a nostalgic and sentimental way. Kaufmann's work was popular with the cosmopolitan Jews of Vienna, as well as the non-Jewish bourgeoisie. Kaufmann stated, "Since it is my conviction that the strength of every artist is rooted in his own people--I became the painter of Judaism...to reveal all its beauties and its nobility and...to make the traditions and institutions...accessible for Gentiles as well."