5 Art Museums to Enjoy When Visiting Israel

June 10th 2019

Love art? There’s art galore to be enjoyed in the museums of Israel and its variety is breathtaking. From handmade Judaica crafts and old religious artworks to world renowned modern paintings and sculptures, and so much in-between, there’s something for everyone who appreciates beauty.

There are art museums and galleries in most cities throughout the Holy Land. These house works by both Israeli and international artists. Some of these have a focus on Jewish and/or Zionist themes, both from the distant past and from the present.

You’ll also see a wide range of cultural influences in the works by Jewish artists, highlighting the diversity of the diaspora.

When visiting Israel next we recommend you visit some or all the following art museums:

Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art

For contemporary art lovers, the Herzliya Museum of Art is a must-see. Located in the affluent city of Herzliya just north of Tel Aviv, the museum features an ever-changing collection of modern art including paintings, sculptures, video installations, and photography.

The displays change multiple times a year with the works by new artists arriving on a frequent basis. There’s a heavy emphasis placed on cultural and social issues relating to Israeli society as well as multicultural perspectives from around the world.

Rubin Museum

One of Israel’s most famous artists was Reuven Rubin (born Rubin Zelicovici in Romania). His paintings reflected the scenes and people of Palestine before, during, and after the foundation of the modern State of Israel. Today you can see his works in the Rubin Museum which was his home for much of his life. Located in the center of historic Tel Aviv, the museum provides a fascinating insight into the life and times of an Israeli art pioneer.

Joseph Bau House in Tel Aviv

The Joseph Bau House is the former studio of renowned Israeli artist Joseph Bau. Located near Rothschild Blvd in central Tel Aviv, the museum features paintings, graphics, literature, movies and animations, telling the story of Bau’s life and work.

You’ll also see some of the equipment he used as well as anecdotes from his daughters. Bau arrived in Israel in 1950 and after his death it was revealed he worked in the Mossad as a graphic artist forging documents for spies. A survivor of the Płaszów concentration camp, Bau was also a prolific writer, poet and philosopher.

(please note: visits are by prior appointment only)

Tel Aviv Museum of Art

For a more conventional art museum visit, it’s worth checking out the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Established in 1932, it’s the largest museum in the city and is renowned for its collections of contemporary and classical art. Most of the works on display date from between the 16th and 20th centuries and include painting, sculpture, prints and drawings, photography, and video, among other mediums.

Just some of the famous names whose works are on display include Rubens, Canaletto, Klimt, Chagall, Picasso, Rothko, and Kapoor.

Fine Art & Doll Museum in Arad

In a small town on the road to the Dead Sea is located a special little museum which will appeal to fans of dolls and artistic sculptures. The Fine Art & Doll Museum in Arad is not often mentioned in tourist guides but has become a firm favorite among the people who stop by.

It’s run by a friendly and welcoming couple who share with visitors the processes, materials, and stories behind their beautiful creations. It’s ideal for people who prefer a more human and intimate ambiance to a typical museum experience.