Moritz Daniel Oppenheim (January 7, 1800 in Hanau, Germany – February 26, 1882 in Frankfurt am Main) , “the painter of the Rothschilds & the Rothschild of painters“, was not only the first Jewish artist with an academic background, but also an icon of Jewish emancipation in Germany. Together with his bestseller – the depictions on traditional Jewish family life – the great achievements of 19th century German Jewry fell into oblivion.
Young filmmaker Isabel Gathof is seeking Oppenheim’s traces – motifs, descendants and heritage – in Germany, France and Israel, on the occasion of the world’s first monument set up for the artist.
Imposing images show the becoming of this great man and blur the lines between the past and the present on two narrative levels.

Everything started in November 2013, when young filmmaker Isabel Gathof learned that Moritz Daniel Oppenheim’s hometown Hanau (close to Frankfurt) – which happens to be Isabel’s hometown as well – decided to set up a monument to honor the city’s most famous Jewish son. On her own initiative Isabel decided to produce a documentary film about Oppenheim as an outstanding personality of German-Jewish history. Inspired by the dualistic concept of the Oppenheim monument, titled “Moritz and the dancing image” by sculptors Robert Schad & Pascal Coupot, Isabel developed an interwoven dramaturgy of two alternating narrative levels. The idea of the movie “Moritz Daniel Oppenheim – The first Jewish painter” was born! It all started as a small project but soon turned into an international production, shot in four different countries of the world – Germany, France, Israel and Portugal – combining interviews with internationally renowned art historians & experts on Oppenheim’s work with personal stories of direct descendants, first time told on camera.
The film is funded by HessenFilm and entitled to be labeled as “Prädikat wertvoll” – awarded by the German federal authority for evaluating and rating film and media.

The film had its world premiere at Cinematheque in Jerusalem and its European premiere at the Moscow Jewish Film Festival.