"A Tribute To Kaufhaus N. Israel 1815-1939" (2003)
Collage and Paintings based on N. Israel Album 1912:
"Die Hygiene im Wandel der Zeiten"
Was presented in Galerie Bremer 2004 & Jüdisches Museum Westfalen 2005.
Presentation by Dr. Petra Lange, Art Historian (deutsch)
Kaufhaus N.Israel 1815-1935 (excerpt from the publication)
A purple corduroy covered book caught my eye whilst browsing in an antique market store in the centre of Berlin.It was sometime in November 2000. The book had a strange title: "Die Hygiene im Wandel der Zeiten". (Hygiene Throughout the Ages) and at the bottom ot the cover was written N. Israel. Berlin, 1912. Whilst touching the soft cover, questions and associations rushed to my min. Why an album about hygiene, of all subjects? Who was N. Israel? With a name like that, the person was probably Jewish, like myself. 1912, a date I always notice because my mother was born that year in Warsaw. Hygiene, my contemplation shifted to my father, a doctor who opened the first private surgery for the African people in my hometown of Bulawayo. I had an immediate personal interest in this edition just by looking at the cover.
I am an artist, not a historian. But history is one ot my many interests especially Berlin's history, and in particular, Berlins Jewish history, so it is not surprising that my curiosity was aroused. Leafing through the album, I was astonished by the excellent quality of the typography. The modern layout of the pages seemed so avant-garde for a 1912 publication. Although my limited knowledge of German did not enable me to understand all the many pages of text, I could instantly appreciate the illustrations and photographs of beautiful women from Africa, Asia and Europe, childcare, athletes, soldiers, food and housing from all over the world. Then came seating plans of Berlin's theatres followed by agenda pages, one for each month of the year. Finally, photographs of a shop with its striking Art Nouveau façade and grand atrium, and a huge variety of departments. I knew then that N. Israel was a big department store. To think that I had been coming to Berlin regularly since the 1980 s and I had never seen or heard of N. Israel. A shop that covered a whole block!
(More information in the book "A Tribute To Kaufhaus N. Israel 1815-1939") Dessa and Wikipedia article: