The Levin Collection
The Levin Collection of Israeli Art, Jerusalem
The Levin Collection is comprised of works in various media by Israeli artists who played a significant role in Israel’s cultural development during the last century. It offers a broad historical vision of Israeli art beginning with the creation of the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem in 1906 and continuing through the present day. The collection was assembled over a period of forty years by preeminent art historian and curator of the art and culture of Israel, Dr. Gideon Ofrat. Its quality and diversity evidence Ofrat’s impressive scholarship.
Since its purchase by Mr. Ofer Levin, the collection has continued to mature and develop. It is regularly updated and expanded by the acquisition of new works in different media. Works by emerging Israeli artists are emphasized with intent to maintain the historical and pluralistic approach that has informed the collection from the outset.
Four volumes published by Levin Press were authored by Dr. Gideon Ofrat and include commentary and illustrations on hundreds of works from the collection.
The Levin Collection explores the depth and complexity of Israeli art via a rich mosaic of trends, styles, and content. In addition to artworks that were included in the documented and recognized historical narrative of Israeli art, the collection also includes artists who, for various formalistic and political reasons, were not always granted the recognition they deserved. In keeping with this inclusive approach, the collection also contains a unique and panoptic representation of works addressing Jewish identity and life in the Diaspora, despite these themes having historically been excluded from the canon of Israeli art as incompatible with the secular Zionist philosophy prevalent in their time. Only in the last four decades have they found their way back to the mainstream of local art discourse.
Another major strength of the collection is its selection of landscape paintings, including views of Jerusalem and its surroundings, a recurring and persistent theme in Israeli art. The Levin Collection strives to open a window to the country’s land and landscapes in such a way as to reflect the complex issues innate to Israeli identity.