Fictional Canon: Reconsidering Karl Schwarz's Modern Jewish Art in Palestine

Noa Avron Barak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter investigates popular textual representations of the early Israeli art canon, positing its fictional character. By a literary analysis of Karl Schwarz’s Modern Jewish Art in Eretz Yisrael (1941) through a theoretical framework derived from Hayden White and Frank Kermode, I will draw distinctions between canon as history and canon as literature. Although common perspectives on the Israeli art canon have mostly dealt with the critical deconstruction of the power regimes dominating the art field, whether professional academic university departments or national-state institutions, my research points at the literary essence of the Israeli art canon. Viewing the canon through its textual representation enables me to delve into the writing and interpretation of art history, arguing for its narrative element and the literary components used by its authors. Indeed, I do not see writers of the canon as historians, but rather as poets. This move unveils the imaginative elements of the Israeli art canon, alluding also to the understanding that the consensus around certain artworks and artists may be an imagined consensus.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImagined Israel(s)
Subtitle of host publicationRepresentations of the Jewish State in the Arts
EditorsRocco Giansante, Luna Goldberg
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9789004530720
ISBN (Print)9789004530072
StatePublished - 27 Feb 2023

Publication series

NameJewish Identities in a Changing World


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