The Arty Semite

Collector Keeps Israeli Art 'Out of the Ghetto'

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
Sigalit Landau, ‘Dead See,’ 2004. Courtesy of the Rothfeld Collection of Contemporary Israeli Art, American University Museum.

Donald Rothfeld, a retired cardiologist from New Jersey now living in New York, has decided to keep his significant Israeli art collection “out of the ghetto.” Consequently, Rothfeld has donated it to the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center in Washington, D.C.

Rothfeld made the gift together with his wife, Susan Merker, and designated it in honor of Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, a personal acquaintance of the couple. The donor reportedly told the New Jersey Jewish News, “We have been in enough ghettos. It’s time for Israeli artists to get out into the real world, not just Jewish museums, synagogues, and JCCs.”

Rothfeld first became interested in Israeli art he happened upon the Bertha Urdang gallery in New York around 25 years ago. Over time, he amassed a collection of over 150 contemporary works including mixed media, paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and videos. Among the pieces in the collection are works by Moshe Kupferman, Sigalit Landau, Yael Bartana and Elad Lassry.

Although Rothfeld and his wife have donated the collection to American University, they say they will continue to visit Israel at least once a year in search of more art to collect. They are particularly on the lookout for new, emerging artists.

The donation of the collection came with an additional gift of $50,000 for its maintenance and exhibition. Programming related to exhibitions of the collection will be organized by the museum and the university’s Center for Israel Studies.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Susan Merker, Renee Ghert-Zand, Katzen Arts Center, Donald Rothfeld, Israeli Art, American University Museum

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. http://jd.fo/a3BvD Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.