Forty-one pieces from the collection,”The Eye Of The Collector: The Jewish Vision of Sigmund R. Balka” will be exhibited Sunday, October 10, in Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek’s Main Street Gallery, located at 55 Kings Highway in Chester. The exhibit opens a 2:00 p.m. and will be accompanied by a wine and cheese reception. Both the collector, Sigmund R. Balka, and Hebrew Union College Museum Curator, Laura Kruger will speak. This free exhibit is open to the public.
One of the great strengths of this collection, which is being cosponsored by Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, is that it reflects and records jewish secular and religions experiences in Europe and America and provides a wonderfully informative visual record of Jewish life: street scenes of Jewish urban life; the practice of religious life; expressions of nostalgia for the Old World and acculturation in the New World.
The complete collection, donated to the Hebrew Union College Museum, encompasses over 200 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs and five decades of Balks’s life. “I don’t think I am anything but a custodian during my lifetime…the art speaks for itself,” says Balka. “The more public the opportunity to have it speak for itself, the better society is. Collecting art, curating exhibitions and serving on museum boards are for me as natural as breathing. It is my link with man’s creative spirit which, in the end, must prevail or we will extinguish ourselves.”
A graduate of Williams College and Harvard Law School, Sigmund Balka is General Counsel and Vice President of Krasdale Foods, directs the Krasdale Galleries in White Plains and New York where he has curated over 100 exhibitions by artists around the world. He has chaired and advised on art exhibitions and acquisitions for major cultural instituions including the Queens Art Museum, Rutgers University and The Judaica Museum.
“The Eye of the Collector” will remain on view at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek through mid January, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Balka returns to the Main Street Gallery, Sunday, November 14th to conduct two walking tours at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.. Each tour will last 30-45 minutes and accommodate 20 people. There is no charge and reservations can be made by calling the Temple office at 860-5268920.