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Rosenzweig Gallery: 3 Inspired Voices

Friday, January 24, 2020 27 Tevet 5780

7:30 PM - 8:30 PMMonsein Community Court


3 Inspired Voices

An exhibit of the works of Silvia Heyden, Edith London, and Rabbi Efraim Rosenzweig

The Judea Reform Rosenzweig Gallery is honored to exhibit "3 Inspired Voices"featuring the work of three artists who all lived in Durham as contemporaries (at some point in their lives) and were powerfully and uniquely woven into the fabric of our Jewish community.  Featuring the tapestries of Silvia Heyden, z"l, the paintings of Edith London, z"l, and books and handmade Judaica of Rabbi Efraim Rosenzweig, z"l, these artists enduring work and blessed memories are a beautiful part of a past that is still with us here in Durham and at Judea Reform Congregation.

Edith London, German by birth, and Silvia Heyden, who is Swiss, met in Durham because their spouses were recruited to work at Duke University--Fritz London in physics and Siegfried Heyden in medicine. The two artists, while working in very different media, became instant friends and colleagues and shared a modernist aesthetic rooted in the Bauhaus tradition. Silvia Heyden and Edith London had already laid the groundwork for their careers in Europe. Both  artists found their individual voices as they worked and lived in Durham from the 1950s on. In 2014 an exhibit at the Durham Arts Council entitled “Together Again” paired Heyden’s tapestries with the paintings of London under the curatorial eye of Lee Hansley who represented both artists at his gallery in Raleigh. Rabbi Efriam Rosenzweig, Judea Reform Congregation’s founding Rabbi in 1962,  was also an accomplished artist and carpenter, working in slate, metals, and wood. Rabbi Rosenzweig started a business called “Judaica Originals and Reproductions” to make and sell art items. He was a contemporary of Edith London and Silvia Heyden in Durham, North Carolina.


Silvia Heyden

Silvia Heyden, z”l (1927-2015), was born in Switzerland and studied in the School of Arts in Zurich from 1948-1953 under the Bauhaus tradition and led by the famous designer Johannes Itten. She moved to the United States in 1954 with her husband, Dr. Sigfried Heyden, and to Durham, NC in 1966 with her family. Silvia was a world-renowned tapestry artist who explored color and composition in her hundreds of tapestries.  In 2006, Silvia wove an original Ark cover for the former Judea Reform Congregation building. That weaving and Ark cover is now in the Bossen Family Library. In 2009, Silvia was commissioned to create tapestry doors for Judea’s portable Ark used in the Levin Social Hall for High Holy Days. In 2011, a documentary “A Weaverly Path: The Tapestry Life of Silvia Heyden,” was made about Silvia’s art and life.  She explored her voice and art until her death in Durham in 2015.

Edith London

Edith London, z”l, (1904-1997), was born in Berlin where her exposure to art began as a child; her extended family included writers and sculptors, who enjoyed the cultural milieu of the Weimar Republic; she attended the University of Berlin; took classes at Berlin’s Federation of Women Artists; and was introduced to the work of Henri Matisse. She married a noted theoretical physicist, Fritz London, in 1929 and in 1933 they fled Germany to Oxford, England, and subsequently lived in Paris from 1936-1939, where Edith studied art under renowned French painters Marcel Gromaire and Andre Lhote. Fritz London became one of many refugee scientists who immigrated to the United States and the young family settled in Durham, NC in 1939. From 1955—1969, Edith worked as the slide curator in the Art History Department of Duke University She returned to Duke University in 1979 to teach Studio Art. From 1966 to 1991, she had over 20 solo exhibitions of her work, and her paintings and collages. In 1998, Judea Reform Congregation received a generous donation of an Edith London painting for our permanent collection; this “untitled” piece now hangs in the Bossen Family Library.

Rabbi Efraim Rosenzweig

Rabbi Efraim Rosenzweig—affectionately named “Ef”—was Judea Reform Congregation’s founding Rabbi in 1962 (after leading UNC’s Hillel for 10 years). He brought his dynamic, progressive, inspired, learned, and devoted leadership to Judea Reform Congregation. He had boundless energy and served as secretary, cantor, administrator, and rabbinic leader for those early years. And he had many talents beyond his rabbinic leadership. He studied at the Chicago Art Institute, wrote books of poetry, and was an accomplished artist and carpenter, working in slate, metals, and wood. Rabbi Rosenzweig started a business called “Judaica Originals and Reproductions” to make and sell art items. 

Special thanks to Frank and Carol London, Rose London, Francoise Heyden, Richard Fry, Daniel Heyden, and Rabbi John S. Friedman and Judea Reform Congregation's Arts & Acquisition Committee





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