CINCINNATI— The Cincinnati Art Museum joins the citywide commemoration of the Jewish Bicentennial with an in-depth examination of the life and work of Henry Mosler (1841–1920), the most important painter of Jewish faith from nineteenth-century Cincinnati. The special exhibition Henry Mosler Behind the Scenes: In Celebration of the Jewish Cincinnati Bicentennial will be on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum from June 10–September 4, 2022.
More than 30 works by the artist are selected from the museum’s permanent collection, with a few notable loans including Mosler’s Plum Street Temple, from the Skirball Museum at Hebrew Union College.
The special exhibition, organized by the museum, traces his journey as a young artist who apprenticed first as a wood engraver, then as a painter in the studio of James Henry Beard. It also reveals his activities as an artist-correspondent for Harper’s Weekly during the Civil War.
Mosler achieved an international reputation in the late nineteenth century for narrative paintings rich in detail. Born in Prussia to a Jewish family who immigrated to the United States in 1849 and settled in Cincinnati soon after, the artist won success at the Salon exhibition in Paris for paintings depicting the rituals of daily life in Brittany. Mosler was also an avid and accomplished draftsman, as reflected in the more than six hundred drawings in the museum’s remarkable holdings. This wealth of Mosler drawings enables us, for the first time, to display his oil paintings side by side with their preparatory studies.
“From figures to furnishings, Mosler strove through assiduous studies to get every aspect of his paintings just right. With their homey details, carefully wrought figures, and skillful handling of light, his paintings delight the eye and draw us in. The Cincinnati art world provided essential formative experiences for Mosler, and the city took pride in the accolades he won in official art circles. He chose not to express his Jewish heritage in the narratives of his paintings, preferring to focus instead on then popular subjects from European country life,” says Dr. Julie Aronson, curator of American Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings at the museum.
Henry Mosler Behind the Scenes: In Celebration of the Jewish Cincinnati Bicentennial will be on view to the public for free in the Sara M. and Michelle Vance Waddell Gallery and the Manuel and Rhoda Mayerson Gallery (G124 & 125) across from the museum’s Terrace Café. No tickets are required. General admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is also free. Photography permitted, but no flash. On social media, use the hashtag #HenryMosler.
The exhibition is generously supported by The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and the Jewish Cincinnati Bicentennial. For a full list of events, please visit jewishcincy200.org.
Cincinnati Art Museum will present the Jewish American Artists and the Gilded Age lecture on Thursday, June 16 from 7–8 p.m. in the museum’s Fath Auditorium. Samantha Baskind, Professor of Art History and Cleveland State University, will explore Mosler and Moses Jacob Ezekiel, one-time Cincinnatians who went on to achieve great fame in their day, and their vital contributions to Jewish American art. The lecture is free for museum members; $20 general public; and $5 for students. Tickets will soon be available to purchase on the exhibition webpage.
2021 marks the 200th anniversary of Jewish community life in the city of Cincinnati, which formally began with the founding of Chestnut Street Cemetery. The Jewish community and the City of Cincinnati will commemorate this significant milestone through community celebrations, multi-generational programs and interactive experiences. jewishcincy200.org
The Cincinnati Art Museum is supported by the generosity of individuals and businesses that give annually to ArtsWave. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Cincinnati Art Museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Cincinnati Art Museum gratefully acknowledges operating support from the City of Cincinnati, as well as our members.
Free general admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is made possible by a gift from the Rosenthal Family Foundation. Special exhibition pricing may vary. Parking at the Cincinnati Art Museum is free. cincinnatiartmusem.org
Cincinnati Art Museum