Mané-Katz was an important member of the School of Paris (Ecolé de Paris) - a group of young artists, many of them Jews, who arrived in Paris from Eastern and Central Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. They changed the face of art in France between the two world wars, and quickly participated actively in the avant-garde, taking a prominent role in establishing Paris as the capital of the art world, filled with new and extraordinary creative power.
The Mané-Katz Museum, located on Panorama Road overlooking the magnificent view across Haifa Bay, was opened in 1977 in the home of the artist, where he lived and created during the last years of his life. In August 2010 the Museum was integrated in the Haifa Museums complex. In November of the same year, Haifa Municipality donated some IS 250,000 for repairs and refurbishment of the building, and work commenced immediately. It is now virtually completed, and the Museum re-opens to the public on April 9th, 2011. Refurbishments include basic repairs to the exhibition spaces and infrastructure. New offices have been constructed, as well as a museum shop and a café that looks out over the magical view. These efforts have resulted in excellent exhibition spaces that permit displays of Mané-Katz's works and his collections.
The newly-appointed Museum staff, with Svetlana Reingold as Museum Curator, has prepared an extensive exhibition program. The first exhibition, "Mané-Katz: a Jewish Heritage", is curated by guest curator Dr. Irit Miller, who had already begun preparing it at the end of 2010. This exhibition, from the Mané-Katz collection, presents his outstanding Jewish-Impressionist paintings from Paris. It displays aspects of his works that embody abundance and diversity - portraits and figures, scenery and still-life - but essentially focuses on his Jewish heritage. There are scenes from the shtetl and everyday life there, as well as works dealing with the Holocaust, and with survival and renewal in Israel. A permanent exhibition of his works will also be established.
The intention of the Museum is to introduce the public to a culture that extends beyond the boundaries of the time and place by which it has been nourished and influenced, and on which Mane-Katz left his own impress. Although emphasis is on subjects deriving from the settlements and ghettos of Eastern Europe, Mané-Katz was a universal artist. He saw himself as a citizen of the world, and was constantly travelling, so that there was almost no country that he did not visit in order to paint and/or exhibit there.
Temporary exhibitions at the Museum will deal with aspects of art history, with the focus on modern art, in order to paint a general picture of the world of culture and expression, and of various events as related to the works of Mané-Katz. They will also integrate inter-disciplinary subjects such as art, literature, music, philosophy, ethnology and history. The framework of the displays will be to compare of Mané-Katz's works with those of other contemporary artists in Israel and elsewhere, and thus to create an inter-period dialogue and consensus.
The Museum is thus a cultural centre that offers the public a range of lectures, events and encounters with noted specialists in cultural research and production.