As a museum institution, the mission of the Jewish Museum of Belgium is to collect, safeguard, exhibit and showcase objects and documents that reflect the diversity of Jewish life and traditions in Belgium and around the world over the course of time.

Each year, the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles offers museums that have signed an agreement or are recognized by it, the opportunity to submit a request for the acquisition of a work of art or a collection object that is purchased and placed on deposit to increase or complete the museum’s collections. This year, the JMB submitted a request for the acquisition of the “Orchidéa” medallion carved in ivory by Philippe Wolfers, representing his wife Sophie Willstädter in profile and dating from 1896. The medallion was proposed by Thomas Deprez Fine Arts, one of Belgium’s leading suppliers of exceptional fin-de-siècle antiques. The bid was accepted. This key work by the famous Art Nouveau jeweller and sculptor will thus enrich our collections and, once the Museum reopens after renovation work, will be featured in the new scenography. Philippe Wolfers, a brilliant jack-of-all-trades, gave Louis Wolfers, Père et Fils (renamed Wolfers frères in 1987) its true international artistic influence. He exercised his talents not only as a jeweler, but also as a sculptor, medalist, interior designer and industrial artist.

In the process, he became a virtuoso in goldsmithing, jewelry, glass, furniture and sculpture. Early in his artistic career, he was responsible for the great success of chryselephantine sculpture in Belgium. His technical mastery and stylistic purity in ivory work earned him an international reputation.

LARGE TORAH WREATH. Poland, circa 1880. Traditional style with eight stag heads and alternating ribs and lions. It is topped by a second small wreath. Height 13 inches. Animal decoration. A passage in Pirkei Avot (Mishna) book 5, 23 states: “Be strong like a leopard, light/bright like an eagle, swift like a stag and mighty like a lion, to do the will of your father in heaven”. The crown’s animal decorations include the eagle at the top, the stag and the lion. J. Greenstein & Co. New York. Gift: Philippe Blondin