by Charles Ezekiel Polowetski
oil on canvas, 1909
13 3/4 in. x 17 3/4 in. (349 mm x 451 mm)
Bequeathed by the sitter's widow, 1947
Sitterback to top
- Israel Zangwill (1864-1926), Novelist and advocate of Jewish causes. Sitter in 11 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This portrait of Israel Zangwill, the acclaimed British author,playwright and advocate of Jewish causes, was painted the year after he published The Melting Pot (1908). Credited with establishing the term as a metaphor that is still used to describe American cultural policy today, Zangwill’s play explored the idea of multicultural assimilation. This late impressionist work shows Zangwill engaged in the occupation for which he was renowned – deep in thought and writing in his study. It was painted by the Russian born, émigré artist Charles Polowetski, who subsequently moved permanently to the United States in 1914 having studied painting in Paris in the studio of Leon Bonnat.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 685
Events of 1909back to top
Current affairsThe American retailer Harry Gordon Selfridge opens the first British custom-built department store on what was then the 'dead end' of Oxford Street. The revolutionary complex, considered the world's largest at the time, transforms shopping, offering diverse amenities including a post office and a library, and modernises the visual face of retailing through innovative window displays.
Art and scienceThe Frenchman Louis Bleriot becomes the first person to cross the English channel by aeroplane, winning the £1,000 prize offered by the Daily Mail, and greeted by cheering crowds at Dover station. Bleriot's flight also showed that England was, as H.G. Wells put it, from a military point of view 'no longer an inaccessible island'.
In dance, Alexandre Benois becomes the first artistic director of Sergey Diaghilev's innovative Ballets Russes.
InternationalThe National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), is founded in America to campaign for the rights of African Americans. One of the oldest and most influential civil rights movements, it was founded by a diverse group of individuals from mixed backgrounds, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida Wells-Barnett, Henry Moscowitz and William English Walling.
The Selig Polyscope company sets up the first film studio in Los Angeles.