Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism


Arthur Szyk, The Family at the Seder, 1936. Watercolor and gouache on paper, 7 1/2 x 5 1/2  in.  Courtesy the Robbins Family Collection, Palo Alto, CA. Copyright © The Arthur Szyk Society.


Monday, Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday | 11:30am and 2:30pm
Thursday | 2pm and 6pm
Friday | 11:30pm

Admission: Free with regular Museum admission.
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About the Exhibition

Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism is the first exhibition to look at the contribution of Jewish designers, architects, patrons, and merchants in the creation of a distinctly modern American domestic landscape. In the aftermath of World War II, the hub of world Jewry shifted from Europe to America. We look at the cultural context in which many Jewish émigré architects and designers from Europe in the 1930–40s were welcomed and embraced into the creative communities that sprang up around the US—including Black Mountain College, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, and even in the Bay Area at Pond Farm in Guerneville. The story told in this exhibition gives remarkable insight into Jewish assimilation into American society. At the same time, Designing Home goes beyond a simple exploration of physical Jewish contributions to the history of modern architecture and design—an impact that continues today—to examine broader cultural and social themes.

The exhibition and its public programs look at the intersections between Jewish social ideals and modernism’s own progressive commitment to egalitarianism.

Organized by The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, with Guest Curator Donald Albrecht.



Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism is organized by The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco. Major sponsorship for this exhibition is provided by Maribelle and Stephen Leavitt, the Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, Osterweis Capital Management, the Seiger Family Foundation, and the Jim Joseph Foundation. Patron sponsorship is provided by Phyllis Cook, Alison Gelb Pincus and Mark Pincus, and The Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation. Supporting sponsorship is provided by AIG Private Client Group, an Anonymous donor, Judy and Harry Cohn, Dana Corvin and Harris Weinberg, G2 Insurance Services, Peggy and Richard Greenfield Foundation, Siesel Maibach, Dorothy R. Saxe, and Barbara and Howard Wollner. Participating sponsorship is provided by Alvin H. Baum, Jr., T Beller and Philip S. Schlein, Susan and Joel Hyatt, Carol and Alan J. Pomerantz, Shelli Semler and Kyle Bach, Ruth and Alan Stein, and Roselyne Chroman Swig.

Additional support is provided by The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s Bernard and Barbro Osher Exhibition Fund.

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Essential support for catalog publication has been provided by Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation, in memory of Ben and A. Jess Shenson.

Media sponsorship is provided by Dwell magazine.


Major support for The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s exhibitions and Jewish Peoplehood Programs comes from the Koret Foundation.



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