Ephraim Moses Lilien (1874–1925) was one of the most important Jewish artists at the turn of the twentieth century. A successful illustrator, photographer, painter, and printer, he became the first major Zionist artist and the first modern Jewish artist to create an entire book of biblical illustrations. This lecture examines Lilien’s female imagery and the gendered discourse surrounding his construction and imaging of the “New [Male] Jew.” Behind Jewish depictions of male athleticism, heroism, strength, and explicit heterosexuality at the turn of the twentieth century were generally perplexing and ambivalent portrayals of the “New Jewish Woman” as the passive, naked, sensual--even provocative--femme fatale. Drawing on her recent book, "Gender, Orientalism and the Jewish Nation: Women in the Work of Ephraim Moses Lilien at the German Fin de Siècle," Dr. Lynne Swarts (University of Sydney) will discuss Lilien’s creation of a more nuanced image of the “New Jewish Woman,” a portrayal that often eluded the Zionist imagination.
Free and open to the public, this lecture will be held virtually on Zoom. Advance registration required online at BildnerCenter.Rutgers.edu.
Sponsor: The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers University