New York Philanthropists Robert and Renée Belfer Donate 350 Antiquities to Israel Museum

Belfer Collection, Bronze mirror with a woman head in relief, (Hellenistic period, late 4th-3rd century CE)
Photo: © The Israel Museum

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem has announced the gift of over 350 works of art and artifacts by New York-based collectors Robert and Renée Belfer.

The collection is most notable for its holdings in ancient glass, including approximately 300 works from the Late Bronze Age through to the Islamic period. In addition, it boasts around 50 Greek and Roman sculptures and reliefs, such as a bronze figure from the 1st century, as well as ancient mosaics, including a 2nd century Roman view of a city.

The gift comes during the Israel Museum’s 50th anniversary year, which the institution is celebrating through a number of shows highlighting gifts across all of its collections. The Belfer’s donation will be on view from June to November of this year in a special exhibition, “A Roman Villa—The Belfer Collection,” which will examine how the Roman nobility decorated their homes with Greco-Roman sculptures, and ancient mosaics and glassware.

Speaking about the gift, museum director James S. Snyder said, “The donation of this unparalleled collection enables us to extend the rich narrative of ancient civilizations as told through the museum’s holdings in archaeology.”

The Belfers have long been involved with the Israel Museum and Renée Belfer is currently chair of the Executive Committee of the American Friends of the museum. Talking about the donation she said, “When deciding on an ideal home for our collection, we could not think of a more fitting venue than the Israel Museum.”



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