Jacob and the Angel
36 x 44 in. (91.4 x 111.8 cm)
(Vienna, Austria, 1893 - 1958, Hanover, NH)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Location: Not currently on view
This Genesis story is a common subject in Western painting, depicting the biblical figure of Jacob wrestling with an angel and receiving a blessing. Like Jacob, Maxim Kopf struggled mightily in his life and then was blessed, having spent two and a half years in internment camps in Europe before coming to the United States in 1941.
In 1947, MAG director Gertrude Herdle negotiated to purchase this painting, thinking “it one of the most important contemporary American paintings which we could add to our collection at this time.” Sixty-five years later, Kopf is no longer regarded as a major contemporary artist. However, as tastes change over time, a painting that was held in high esteem by one director may be well-regarded by another in the future. For that reason, museums approach the process of deaccessioning with great care.
[Label text from It Came From the Vault exhibition, 2013]