Press Releases

Prof. Murray Zimiles Wins National Jewish Book Award

Date Released: 2/21/2008

Purchase College Art+Design Professor Murray Zimiles has won the 2007 National Jewish Book Award in Visual Arts for his book Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses: The Synagogue to the Carousel. Professor Zimiles will receive the award at the 57th Annual National Jewish Book Awards ceremony on March 4 at the Center for Jewish History in New York City.

The National Jewish Book Awards program is the longest running North American awards program of its kind in the field of Jewish literature.

Murray Zimiles is an artist and Kempner Distinguished Professor at Purchase, where he has taught drawing and printmaking in the School of Art+Design since 1977.

His book was selected by a panel of three judges who chose his book as the best written, most comprehensive and engaging book in its category.

Professor Zimiles has researched and documented the story of Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses: The Synagogue to the Carousel for more than 20 years, and curated an exhibition of the same name currently on view at the American Folk Art Museum in New York City. It is the first major study of an important aspect of the Jewish contribution to American folk art. 

During his many years of research, Professor Zimiles traveled extensively throughout Central and Eastern Europe, Israel and the United States to study and photograph artwork and synagogues, in addition to consulting with more than 150 curators, historians, art historians, collectors, librarians, archivists and religious scholars. 

He has lectured widely on Jewish woodcarving traditions in the United States and abroad and is the author of exhibition catalogs and books, including Early American Mills, a book on wooden architecture that spurred his interest in the wooden synagogues of Eastern Europe.

As an artist, he has had solo exhibitions at the Purchase College Neuberger Museum;  the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York; and the National Museum of American Jewish History, among others, and has participated in more than 100 group shows here and abroad.  He is represented in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Jewish Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, all in New York; the New York Public Library; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., as well as the Museum of Modern Art, Haifa and Tel Aviv Museum in Israel.  He holds a B.F.A. from the University of Illinois and an M.F.A. from Cornell University.

The exhibition Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses will travel to the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. from May 24 to September 1.