Thanks to a grant from Bank of America, PAMM was able to begin restoring a sculpture by George Segal, which belongs to the museum’s permanent collection.
The piece, titled Abraham’s Farewell to Ishmael is a sculptural representation of a key episode in the Old Testament revolving around a dilemma faced by the Biblical patriarch Abraham. In this story, Abraham’s wife Sarah seeks to ensure the right of inheritance of her son Isaac by demanding that her husband expels his mistress Hagar and her first-born son from their home. After receiving a divine promise of Hagar and Ishmael’s safety, Abraham reluctantly banishes them to the desert. George Segal cast the figures from real models, capturing a range of human emotions, from the father’s grief-stricken tenderness to Sarah’s rage and Hagar’s resigned acceptance. Segal’s choice of subject matter relates as much to the contemporary Arab-Israeli conflict as it does to ancient history: this narrative can be said to contain the Biblical roots of the split between Jews, the ostensible descendants of Isaac, and Muslims, who reputedly descend from the exiled Ishmael.
The funds to complete this conservation project were donated to the museum by Bank of America, which has been a longstanding community partner of the museum.