Palestinian Heritage Foundation 

Newsletter of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation
    Volume 20,  No. 3                         December, 2014         

نشرة مؤسسة التراث الفلسطيني

Anna Rychter May watercolors at the Jerusalem Fund in Washington DC.

A rare collection of watercolor paintings by the late Anna Rychter May was on display at Gallery Al Quds at the Jerusalem Fund in Washington DC from October 24 through November 14, 2014. The 13 exquisite pieces reflect the work of Anna Rychter May while she lived in Jerusalem since her arrival in the City from Europe in 1923 till 1955. Most of these art pieces were commissioned by the late Dr. Rolla Foley, an American Quaker who taught music at the Friends School in Ramallah between 1938 and 1946. The watercolors were on loan to the Jerusalem Fund and are part of the collection of Farah and Hanan Munayyer.

The opening reception held on Friday October 24 was attended by over fifty people from Washington DC, New York City and Virginia. During the reception the Munayyers met some old friends and made new ones.

Due to Rolla Foley’s interest in music, many of his commissioned paintings included Middle Eastern musical instruments as seen in these watercolors.

Exhibit  invitation card 
Anna Rychter-May “Jerusalem”
Early 20th Century Watercolors
from the Palestinian Heritage Foundation Collection
By Dagmar Painter

The Jerusalem Fund Gallery Al-Quds in Washington DC opened a stunning exhibition of rare watercolors from the collection of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation on October 24, 2014. The 13 works were painted by the late artist, Anna Rychter-May. 

Rychter-May (1865-1955 b. Regensburg, Germany), was an early twentieth century artist known for her watercolors of Palestine. She lived and painted in Jerusalem from the 1920s to 1955.  Though painted in the 1940’s, the scenes depicted offer a glimpse into traditional life in Jerusalem. Painted with painstaking attention to detail and an exquisite eye for color, the scenes depict weddings, a fruit market, streetscapes, and family life, of Palestinians and an Eastern European Jewish family. Especially interesting is a series of depictions of musicians with their classical instruments, specially commissioned from the artist.  In all cases, the images serve as historical documentation as well as breathtakingly beautiful art.

The opening was well attended, with over 50 people enjoying the work and a short talk by Hanan Munayyer.  Of great interest was a visit by a professor from CUNY whose research intersects with this subject.  She was thrilled to find these artworks and will merge her own research with that of the Munayyers to advance the scholarship on this heretofore little known artist.

From the book, Traditional Palestinian Costume, Origin and Evolution, by Hanan Karaman Munayyer: “The watercolors in this collection were acquired by Rolla Foley from the artist herself in Jerusalem during the early 1940s through 1952. Letters exchanged between Rychter-May and Foley are also in the collection.

Rychter-May was married to Polish artist Tadeusz Rychter, whom she met while living in Germany.  In 1923 they left together for Jerusalem, which was at that time under the British Mandate. They were both excellent watercolorists who showed in many exhibitions, including a joint one in Jerusalem in 1927.  During World War II, Tadeusz went back to Europe for a visit and is thought to have died there.  After the war of 1948, Anna moved to what became known as Arab East Jerusalem, part of Jordan, where she died in 1955 at the age of 90.  None of her watercolors in this collection are titled or dated, but they are all signed clearly on the lower right corner: ‘A.Rychter-May, Jerusalem.’”





2014 Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People at the UN

On Monday, November 10th, the United Nations celebrated the year 2014 as part of the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People culminated with a stunning fashion show held at the organization headquarters in New York, by the renowned Italian fashion designer of  Palestinian background Jamal Taslaq, who creatively incorporated traditional Palestinian embroidery into his unique modern style. The ECOSOC Chamber was packed with an audience that attended the event.

Farah and Hanan Munayyer co-founders of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation were in attendance at the personal invitation of the Honorable Ryad Mansour, Ambassador of the State of Palestine at the UN. The Foundation presented the designer Taslaq with a copy of Hanan’s book “Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and Evolution”. Click below link to see the presentation of the book as aired by Al Mayadeen TV.

On Monday November 24, 2014 the United Nations celebrated the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. Several UN representatives spoke about the plight of the Palestinian people since 1948 including Secretary General Ban Ki Moun and ambassador Ryad Mansour. The reception which was attended by over 400 people was followed by a special concert conducted by the Joubran brothers performing specially for this occasion. 

Archbishop Atallah Hanna visits the Foundation

On Sunday November 30 and during His visit to New Jersey, Archbishop Atallah Hanan, Orthodox Archbishop of Sabastia, Palestine,  paid a visit to the Palestinian Heritage Foundation  in West Caldwell, New Jersey. The Archbishop who is an ardent supporter of the Foundation activities in the United States and around the world has attended both the 20th and 25th anniversary banquets held in New Jersey coming all the way from Jerusalem.

Twenty Universities to Receive Hanan’s Book

The Palestinian Heritage Foundation is happy to announce that its project to place the book “Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and Evolution”  into Middle Eastern sections of university and public libraries is going forward.

We are also happy to report that Mr. and Mrs. Samih Taleb Darwazah, ardent supporters of the Foundation including the Book Project were kind to sponsor the donation of the last  twenty copies of the book remaining in the Foundation’s possesion in the United States to university libraries.

Recently, the Foundation has been working through several personal friends to place these copies in the different university libraries. So far copies of the book were placed in the following libraries:

Iowa University
William Paterson University
Princeton University
Al Najah University
Yale University
Columbia University
Greenville College
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Grinnell College
Bethlehem University
New York University
Ball State University
University of Illinois
Rutgers University
Lawrence University
City University of New York
Bir Zeit University
Marymount University
Ballamand University
Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
Cliffside Public library
Princeton Public library

Reactions to Hanan’s book…..

Hanan your book is a TREASURE, thank you, thank you, thank you sooooooo much for taking the time to produce such a valuable record of our culture and heritage.

Deya’ Dresner

The book arrived safely this morning and we are glad to add it to our collection. This is a really nice book that I believe will benefit our students and faculty.

Iowa University

What an amazing book. Thank you again for your consideration and generosity!

Greenville College

Thank you for the gift Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and Evolution by Hanan Karaman Munayyer made possible by a generous donation from Mr. and Mrs. Samih Darwazah. The University Library serves its community by providing services and resources that support student pursuits for academic success and faculty endeavors for knowledge creation and classroom instruction.

Arthur W. Hafner, Ph.D.

Ball State University 

The Gorabs Donate Old Syrian Men’s Garbs to Foundation

Mr. and Mrs. Nick Gorab of New Jersey have donated  a Syrian men’s “Kumbaz” with its complimentary cloak and “Hatta” to the Foundation. All three pieces are made of silk. The items originally belonged to Nick Gorab’s grandfather, Nicola Gorab Sr. who lived at the time in Homs, Syria and later died there (see picture below). The kumbaz and complimentary items were brough back to the United States by Nick’s father who visited his father in Homs, Syria in the early 1970’s. These three items are over one hundred years old.

Shown in the picture below is Nicola Gorab Sr. with wife Miriam Zeitoun. Nicola is wearing the Kumbaz and jacket. This picture was sent by Nicola Gorab Sr. to his sons Aref and Sadek who immigrated to the United States from Syria. Both Aref and Sadek are the uncles of Nick Gorab.

The Foundation would like to take this opportunity to thank the Gorabs for this generous donation.

Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and Evolution
Book Reviews and Lectures:
Hussein Ibish’s review in NOW Lebanon. August 2011

This Week in Palestine, Book of the Month.
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Dr. Clovis Maksoud review in The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
Library of Congress
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