NEW YORK – The Jewish Museum will present “Masterpieces and Curiosities: The Benguiat Collection” from Sept. 6 through July 2020, featuring more than 30 works from the Museum’s H. Ephraim and Mordecai Benguiat Family Collection. This collection of 300 examples of decorative and ceremonial art related to Jewish culture is one of the formative groups of the Jewish Museum’s collection. The exhibition includes objects ranging from a newly restored Torah ark curtain from Istanbul (ca. 1735) to an ornately embroidered silk eighteenth-century pillowcase for the Passover Seder from Bulgaria.
One of seven sections that make up the Jewish Museum’s third floor collection exhibition, “Masterpieces and Curiosities” offers an in-depth examination of a single object or group of objects within a larger cultural, historical, or aesthetic context. This iteration of “Masterpieces and Curiosities” focuses on Jewish ceremonial objects collected by the Benguiats, a Jewish family of antique dealers from Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey), who traced their lineage to 11th-century Spain. They travelled extensively, purchasing art and precious objects in Syria, Turkey, Greece, North Africa, Italy, Gibraltar, and the United States.