Cincinnati Museum of Art celebrates Henry Mosler as part of Cincinnati’s Jewish Bicentennial

Henry Mosler (American, 1841-1920), Plum Street Temple, 1866, oil on canvas, Cincinnati Skirball Museum; Gift of Audrey Skirball Kenis, the artist’s granddaughter, 41,259

CINCINNATI— The Cincinnati Museum of Art joins the citywide Jewish Bicentennial commemoration with an in-depth examination of the life and work of Henry Mosler (1841-1920), the most important religious painter Cincinnati Jew in the 19th century. The special exhibition Henry Mosler Behind the Scenes: Celebrating Cincinnati’s Jewish Bicentennial will be on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum from June 10 to September 4, 2022.

More than 30 works by the artist are selected from the museum’s permanent collection, with some notable loans including that of Mosler Plum Street Templefrom the Skirball Museum at the Hebrew Union College.

The special exhibition, organized by the museum, retraces his career as a young artist who first apprenticed as a wood engraver, then as a painter in the studio of James Henry Beard. He also reveals his activities as a corresponding artist for Harper’s Weekly during the civil war.

Mosler gained an international reputation in the late 19th century for his richly detailed narrative paintings. Born in Prussia to a Jewish family who immigrated to the United States in 1849 and settled shortly afterwards in Cincinnati, the artist won success at the Paris Salon exhibition for paintings depicting the rituals of daily life in Brittany. Mosler was also an avid and accomplished draughtsman, as evidenced by the more than six hundred drawings in the museum’s notable collections. This richness of Mosler’s drawings allows us, for the first time, to present his oil paintings side by side with their preparatory studies.

“From figures to furniture, Mosler strove to diligently study every aspect of his paintings. With their intimate details, carefully crafted figures, and skillful manipulation of light, his paintings delight the eye and draw us in. Cincinnati’s art world provided essential formative experiences for Mosler, and the city is proud of the accolades he won in official art circles. . He chose not to express his Jewish heritage in the narratives of his paintings, preferring to focus on then-popular subjects of rural European life,” says Dr. Julie Aronson, Curator of American Paintings, Sculptures and Drawings at the museum.

Henry Mosler Behind the Scenes: Celebrating Cincinnati’s Jewish Bicentennial will be on view to the public free of charge in the Sara M. and Michelle Vance Waddell Gallery and the Manuel and Rhoda Mayerson Gallery (G124 & 125) across from the museum’s Terrace Café. No ticket is required. General admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is also free. Photography allowed, but no flash. On social media, use the hashtag #HenryMosler.

The exhibit is generously supported by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and the Jewish Bicentennial of Cincinnati. For a full list of events, please visit

The Cincinnati Museum of Art will present the American Jewish Artists and the Golden Age conference on Thursday June 16 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Fath Auditorium of the museum. Samantha Baskind, professor of art history at Cleveland State University, will explore Mosler and Moses Jacob Ezekiel, former Cincinnatians who achieved great fame in their day, and their pivotal contributions to American Jewish art. The conference is free for museum members; $20 general public; and $5 for students. Tickets will soon be available for purchase on the exhibition webpage.

2021 marks the 200th anniversary of Jewish community life in the city of Cincinnati, which officially began with the founding of Chestnut Street Cemetery. The Jewish community and the city of Cincinnati will commemorate this milestone through community celebrations, multi-generational programs and interactive experiences.

The Cincinnati Museum of Art is supported by the generosity of individuals and corporations who donate to ArtsWave each year. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Cincinnati Art Museum with state taxpayer dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents. ‘Ohio. The Cincinnati Art Museum gratefully acknowledges the operational support of the City of Cincinnati, as well as our members.

Free general admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is made possible through a donation from the Rosenthal Family Foundation. Prices for special exhibitions may vary. Parking at the Cincinnati Art Museum is free.

Mildred D. Field