"A rich, nuanced, and sensitive treatment of this brilliant but often neglected painter. The work is especially valuable for its investigation of Halaby’s formative years as a Russo-Palestinian artist growing up in Kiev and Mandate Palestine."—Salim Tamari, professor of sociology, Birzeit University and research associate, Institute for Palestine Studies
"Like Sophie Halaby’s paintings and work, Schor’s book outlines the wispy contours of a world full of potential where the salons of Paris were just a steamer ticket away for an aspiring Arab woman artist, but one that is constricted by war, colonialism, nationalism, and expropriation over the course of the twentieth century."—Leila Hudson, associate professor, University of Arizona
"Sophie Halaby in Jerusalem is poignant in its appreciation for an artist who dedicated her life to her homeland through her work, adding a valuable note to art history."—Foreword Reviews
"In Sophie Halaby in Jerusalem, Schor weaves together Halaby’s art, research from oral histories, papers from family members, peers and a wide range of institutional archives to sketch the contours of the artist’s life against the backdrop of 20th century Jerusalem."—Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
"What Schor generously provides to the next generation of scholars on Palestinian art, Palestinian women’s history, and social histories of Jerusalem is a holistic vision of Halaby’s world. The sights, smells, tastes, and, above all, the voices that filled Halaby’s senses are brought to new life through this book."—Jerusalem Quarterly
"Schor’s biography makes a valiant effort to remember this unobtrusive trailblazer whose legacy was almost lost to the vagaries of history."—Al Jadid Magazine
A pioneer among Palestinian artists, Sophie Halaby was the first Arab woman to study art in Paris, subsequently living independently as a professional painter in Jerusalem throughout her life. She was born in 1906 in Kiev to a Russian mother and a Christian Arab father. Her family fled to Jerusalem in 1917 in the wake of the Russian Revolution. Her life was marked by violence and war, including the Arab Revolt from 1936 to 1939, the Nakba in 1948, and the Six-Day War in 1967. In response, Halaby drew a series of political cartoons criticizing British rule and Zionist goals; later in life, she followed the work of younger artists who supported the Palestine liberation movement. However, the political turmoil of her times is largely not depicted in her art. Instead, her work is a tribute to the enduring beauty of the landscape and flora of Jerusalem, often sketched in pen and ink or red and black chalk, and painted with egg tempera, oils, and watercolors. Schor’s compelling biography shines new light on this little-known artist and enriches our understanding of modern Palestinian history.
Laura S. Schor is professor of history at Hunter College and The City University of New York Graduate Center. She is the author of several books, including The Best School in Jerusalem: Annie Landau’s School for Girls, 1900–1960.
7 x 10, 296 pages, 11 black and white, 21 color illustrations, 2 maps