Museum of Jewish Art and History Paris

Housed in a 17th-century mansion, the museum has a collection focused on Judaism in Europe and around the Mediterranean from Antiquity to the present day. With an extensive permanent collection of 600 works and objects on display (out of 12,000), it hosts one of the largest and most ancient collections of Judaica. It features masterpieces bearing testimony to the rituals and history of many communities, notably Jewish presence in France across the centuries (including the Emancipation and the Dreyfus Affair).

Several rooms show the wealth of Jewish culture in Italy and Amsterdam, the Jewish worlds of Central and Eastern Europe, the Levant, and the Maghreb. The collection culminates with works of Jewish avant-garde artists of the 20th-century School of Paris.

The mahJ also hosts over 8,000 photographs and has an active policy of commissioning contemporary artists (Dove Allouche, Kader Attia, Christian Boltanski, Sophie Calle, Michel Nedjar, Cécile Reims…) either by acquiring works or temporarily showcasing projects in its galleries.

The exhibition programme complements the themes explored in the permanent collection. This dynamic policy has enabled the rediscovery of artists (Maryan, Felix Nussbaum, Charlotte Salomon, Arnold Schoenberg…) photographers (Barry Frydlender, Evgueni Khaldei, Lore Krüger, Nathen Lerner, Helmar Lerski, Roman Vishniac, Patrick Zachmann) comic book artists (Art Spiegelman, Goscinny, Gotlib, Luz) remarkable personalities (Walter Benjamin, Sigmund Freud, Helena Rubinstein, Marcel Proust, Joseph Roth) and art movements (the Yiddish avant-garde, Orientalism, the New York music scene) and lesser known domains (the Splendour of the Camondos, magic in Jewish tradition, the Algerian and Yemenite Jews) and historic moments in French Jewish history (Jews during the Frist World War, Dreyfus Affair).

The mahJ’s auditorium hosts wide-ranging programmes (conferences, symposiums, films, concerts…), it also offers numerous educational activities for visitors of all ages and backgrounds, a library offering 23,000 references which can be freely consulted, a bookshop with 6,000 titles in a magnificent setting.

Ⓒ Photo: Paul Allain

Since its opening in 1998, the mahJ has aimed at introducing Jewish art and history to all, while working towards opening an intercultural dialogue and fighting against all forms of discrimination. Its building, collection and programmes all contribute to making the mahJ one of the artistic highlights of Paris’ Marais quarter.

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