Mystical prints: Marc Chagall, Ben-Zion and Ben Shah

Exhibition September 14, 2019 − March 22, 2020
"Mystical prints: Marc Chagall, Ben-Zion and Ben Shah"represent the printed works of three prominent 20th-century Jewish artists born in the Russian Empire. Among these seventy works of engraving and lithography from the biblical series of Chagall, Ben Zion’s complete portfolio of 1980's 36 Unknowns, the legendary Shah's Alphabet of Creation, and much more The exhibition, organized in collaboration with the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML) at St. John's University, presents a remarkable collection of HMML on paper.

The tradition of Jewish mysticism as an inspiration for these artists is at the center of the exhibition, from the suffering prophets of Ben Zion, to the influences of Shah in Kabbalah, to the fabulous images of Chagall. Like traditions, the work of each artist manifests a personal sense of mysticism. Chagall mixed his Russian childhood, Jewish history and his own symbolism to create works of dense metaphysical images. Ben-Zion, using his own word, “adored” the prophets and deeply studied their life and emotional journeys in his work. The Shah found meaning in the great work of Jewish mysticism, in the text of the Kabbalah “Sefer Hazoar” and in his own joy from the power of letters and words.