The Art Fund helps the Jewish Museum acquire new contemporary Judaica object

  • 29 August 2008

The Jewish Museum London has acquired a new piece of contemporary Jewish ceremonial art designed by London-based Belgian artist Daniel Lehrer, with the help of a grant from The Art Fund, the UK's leading independent art charity. The ner tamid synagogue lamp, in silver and amethyst, will go on view in the new Museum's Religion Gallery when it reopens in Camden Town in late Summer 2009.

The ner tamid (Hebrew for ‘eternal light’) is the lamp which burns perpetually in Jewish synagogues, shining light on the Ark that houses the Torah. Lehrer’s lamp design was created for the 2004 Spertus Judaica Prize Competition in Chicago where he was a finalist. It has been acquired for the Museum with the help of a £2,000 grant from The Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent art charity, and a £2,000 grant from the MLA / V&A Purchase Grant Fund.

“Lehrer’s unique ner tamid lamp will complement the Museum’s rich variety of artifacts and encourage interest in the best of modern Judaica design. Through showcasing contemporary religious objects, the Museum’s new galleries will demonstrate the vibrancy of Jewish life today,” said Sarah Harel Hoshen, Curator (Judaica) at the Jewish Museum.

The artist’s design was inspired by the story of the Burning Bush in the Bible. He chose to reflect light through an amethyst stone to emphasise a feeling of permanence implied by the word tamid. The amethyst is surrounded by a repoussé panoramic view of Jerusalem, symbolising the spiritual light which emanated from the Holy Temple. Amethyst is also one of the stones mounted on the breastplate of the High Priest in Biblical times. The Jewish Museum has been awarded Designated status by the Museum’s Libraries and Archives Council in recognition of the outstanding national importance of its collections of Jewish ceremonial art which are among the finest in the world. The lamp will be displayed in the new Religion Gallery, next to the Museum’s 17th century Venetian Synagogue Ark.

Jewish Museum Development Project:
The Jewish Museum London is a cultural and educational resource of national and international importance. Through its outstanding collections and its lively programme of exhibitions and education, it aims to explore and preserve Jewish heritage, celebrate diversity and challenge prejudice.
The Museum is currently closed for a major expansion that will triple the space at the flagship Camden Town premises and integrate the collections, displays and activities of its two previous two sites under one roof. The new Museum will have enlarged exhibition galleries, new education facilities and hands-on displays for children and families.


Artist’s Biography:
Daniel Lehrer was born in Antwerp. He studied in London and gained a degree in    Advanced Crafts in Gold and Silversmithing from the Sir John Cass College School of Art. After serving an apprenticeship with the renowned artist and craftsman George Weil, Lehrer set up his own workshop in Hatton Garden where he has received commissions from Royal families and Heads of State for official presentation gifts. His work has been exhibited at the Jewish Museum exhibition Judaica 2000, as well as at Goldsmiths Hall in 2003 and at the British Library SACRED exhibition in 2007. His Jewish ceremonial pieces are in synagogues and private collections in the UK and abroad.

For further information contact Dina Wosner:  020 8371 7371 marketing@jewishmuseum.org.uk www.jewishmuseum.org.uk
Notes to Editors

The Art Fund:
The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art.  It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members.  Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections.  Recent achievements include:  helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million; putting together a unique funding package to ensure Dumfries House in Ayrshire and its contents were secured intact for the nation in July 2007; and running the ‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK.  For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit www.artfund.org

MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund:
The MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund is a government fund, established at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&) in 1881 as part of its nationwide work. The annual grants budget, currently £1,000,000 is provided by the Museum, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). The Fund supports the acquisition of objects relating to the arts, literature and history by regional museums, record offices and specialist libraries in England and Wales. Each year it considers some 300 applications and in 2007-08 awarded grants to 100 organisations, enabling acquisitions of over £4million to go ahead.
Visit the website at www.vam.ac.uk/purchasegrantfund