The last time I picked up a survey of Israeli art it nearly made me miss my flight. The book, Ronald Fuhrer’s Israeli Painting: From Post-Impressionism to Post-Zionism, was intriguing, but not exactly scintillating. My mistake was admitting to a security guard at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport that it was a gift from a friend. This flourish of candour set off a chain of whispers, furrowed brows and exhaustive luggage searches. Who was this ‘friend’? Was this book even mine? What did it say? Finally content that the book was probably not a weapon of mass destruction, I received it back with a grunt of disapproval that let me know I should be a bit more careful with such contraband in the future.
After this little imbroglio, it would be too much to expect another tome to top my list of memorable Israeli art books. Nonetheless, Yigal Zalmona’s A Century of Israeli Art leaves a sizeable impression. This boulder of a book, more than five hundred pages and loaded with illustrations, is nothing