This article analyzes the late Maurice Sendak’s (1928–2012) entry into the field of children’s picture books in the midtwentieth century and his contribution to the affective shift in children’s literature. It examines Sendak’s complex social position and artistic development in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as lesser-known illustrations by Sendak, including collaborations with Ruth Krauss and with the artist’s brother, Jack. These works began to respond to Sendak’s own childhood as a queer son of Eastern European Yiddish-speaking immigrants. They also offered new potential mirrors for midcentury children—perhaps especially queer and otherwise marginalized children—as they navigated cultural gaps between home and the public sphere, as well as between personal orientations and the social pressures of postwar America.
Maya Balakirsky Katz
The present article investigates the visual elements of the illustrated youth quarterly L’Illustration Juive, which was published in Alexandria between 1929 and 1931 in French and Hebrew. The analysis sets out to expose the ideologies and worldviews informing the publication’s editorial board, as well as the conscious or unconscious message that the quarterly tried to communicate to its young readership. The article explores more than 300 photographs and reproductions that featured in twelve issues published over the journal’s three years of existence. Analysis of the visual elements in this article shows that the quarterly featured many photographs of holy sites in the Land of Israel, as well as reproductions of artworks that reflected the religious Jewish way of life in the diaspora and Israel, including the Jewish calendar and Jewish life cycle. These works hold the Old Testament as a key book for Judaism, as well as for Jewish nationalism. Clearly evident in the visual elements, as in the overall visual messages of the quarterly, is the harmony struck between Jewish nationality, Zionism, and a religious Jewish cultural—or diasporic—world. It was this harmonious view that editor Rabbi David Prato sought to convey, upholding as he did a religious nationalist Jewish future, which he defined in the newspaper as a double tendance.
This article offers an alternative reading of Martin Buber (1878–1956), one guided by his writings on craft and artistic creation. Rather than view Buber as a philosopher of dialogue, it views him as a philosopher of relationships, including relationships to nonhuman things. His writings on craft and artistic creation are taken to exemplify these nonhuman relationships. After sketching out the general structure of Buber’s thought, and the role that nonhuman relationships play in it, this article traces a trajectory through Buber’s work, showing the ever-increasing importance of these relationships through an analysis of his treatments of art and craft. It ends with an analysis of his late anthropological work on craft and images, which demonstrates that this was a longstanding, if not central, concern of Buber’s that guided not only his treatment of material things, but his understanding of Judaism as well.
This article examines images of wild flowers in Israeli visual culture from the period of pre-state Israel until the present day. These images have served as “cultural objects” that have helped construct a national identity. They have appeared in Hebrew publications, stamps, banknotes, and artworks. Arguing that the choice of botanical art is a political statement, this article shows the complex attitudes embodied in contemporary wild flower images—both thematic and stylistic—in which the artists negotiate their multifaceted relationship with the Land of Israel as a troubled territory. The images created by Israeli-Jewish artists share a twofold significance: they stand as naïve memories of Israel’s early years and, at the same time, they embody the reality of conflict implied in the idea of sharing the Land with the Israeli Arabs. The methodology of this article is interdisciplinary, as it integrates an analysis of visual images with the use of interviews and the explication of texts.