The Sassoons reveals the fascinating story of a remarkable Jewish family, following four generations from Iraq to India, China, and England through a rich selection of works collected by family members over time.
Attributed to William Melville. Portrait of David Sassoon. Oil on canvas; 41 ½ × 33 in. (105.4 × 83.8 cm). Private Collection
The exhibition highlights the Sassoon family’s pioneering role in trade, art collecting, architectural patronage, and civic engagement from the early 19th century through World War II through over 140 works—paintings, decorative arts, illuminated manuscripts, and Judaica—amassed by family members and borrowed from numerous private and public collections. Highlights include lavishly decorated Hebrew manuscripts from as early as the 12th century; Chinese art and ivory carvings; sumptuous decorative arts and rare Jewish ceremonial art; Western masterpieces including paintings by John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough, and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, and magnificent portraits by John Singer Sargent of various Sassoon family members. The Sassoons explores themes such as discrimination, diaspora, colonialism, global trade, and war that not only shaped the history of the family but continue to define our world today.
Organized by Claudia Nahson, Morris and Eva Feld Senior Curator at the Jewish Museum, New York, and Esther da Costa Meyer, Professor Emerita at Princeton University. Exhibition design by Leslie Gill and Adam Johnston, Leslie Gill Architect; graphic design by Miko McGinty.
The Sassoons is made possible by The Achelis and Bodman Foundation; The David Berg Foundation; The Starr Foundation; the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; Barbara Tober, The Acronym Fund; The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; David Keidan; the Oded Halahmy Foundation for the Arts; The Nancy Sidewater Foundation; Sharon Wolfe and Meir Rotenberg; Dr. Harriette Kaley; and Christopher Tsai and André Stockamp.
Additional support is provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Exhibitions Endowment Fund; The Joan Rosenbaum Exhibitions Endowment; and The Centennial Fund.
The publication is made possible, in part by Denise Littlefield Sobel, the Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Charitable Foundation, the Barr Ferree Publication Fund at Princeton University, and the Dorot Foundation.
Digital guide supported by Bloomberg Connects.