Towards Moriah

Artist Peter Freudenthal describes his abstract painting as a form of spiritual expression.

Peter Freudenthal

8th Floor Asher Library - Currently On View

Peter Freudenthal (born Norrköping, Sweden, 1938) created his first abstract paintings in 1962, inspired by the architecture he observed while working as an archaeologist in the Wadi Halfa region of Sudan.

Freudenthal was attracted to Jewish motifs based on his fundamental belief that art is a spiritual expression. He disregarded the advice of his mentor, Swedish artist Olle Baertling, who told him to abandon religious references. The subject of this artwork is Mount Moriah, Judaism’s holiest site and the place that Jews turn towards during prayer. According to the Hebrew bible, Mount Moriah is the site of the Abraham’s binding of Isaac, as well as the location of Solomon’s Temple. This composition shows Abraham as the red form in the right foreground and Isaac as the yellow form in the left foreground, with the mountainous terrain indicated by the incline in the background.

Freudenthal's creative process begins with the production of as many as 30 to 40 small sketches in which he seeks out the optimum combination of balance and tension. The artist uses only straight lines, squares, and rectangles. He works with a consistent palette of 25 intense and ethereal colors, avoiding earthtones.  

Spertus Institute has 24 works donated by Freudenthal, including a portfolio of prints inspired by the Amidah, a central prayer of the Jewish liturgy.

Towards Moriah

A Painter with a Lyrical Eye For Geometry: Peter Freudenthal

In this video clip from the 1970s we see Swedish artist Peter Freudenthal at work.

From the Spertus Collection

8th Floor Asher Library
Name: Towards Moriah
Artist: Peter Freudenthal
Location: 8th Floor Asher Library
Origin: Sweden, 1979-1981
Medium: Painting
Dimensions: 117 x 76 3/4 in.
Credit: Gift of Peter Freudenthal
Catalog Number: 93.103
External ResourcePeter Freudenthal’s Artist Website

Artist's Website