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Luminaries

Hundreds of artists and artisans passed through Bezalel's studios and ateliers during the twenty-four years that Boris Schatz was at its helm. Among the important and noteworthy artists who were associated with the school were:



Ephraim Moshe Lilien Ephraim Moshe Lilien (1874–1925)
Ephraim Moshe Lilien traveled to Palestine with Schatz in 1906 to serve as the school's first instructor. Although he remained for less than a year, his bold graphic style remained an indelible influence on Bezalel's output for years to come. Lilien's distinctive designs include the iconic Bezalel emblem as well as Boris Schatz's personal bookplate.
Raban Ze'ev Raban (1890–1970)
After Boris Schatz, Raban is the artist whose prolific output is most closely identified with the Bezalel School. Raban served as director of the repoussé department and professor of anatomy and decorative arts. Highly acclaimed for his work in metals and stone, Raban gained further popularity through his book illustrations and success as a commercial graphic artist.
Gur-Arie Meir Gur-Arie (1891–1951)
Meir Gur-Arie was an instructor of painting and ivory carving. He collaborated frequently with Raban, most notably on the façade of the Jerusalem YMCA. In 1923, the two men formed the Industrial Art Studio, where they continued to produce materials in the Bezalel style even after the school closed in 1929.

Other noteworthy students and faculty included Shmuel Ben-David, the first student enrolled in the school; Mordechai Narkiss, director of the museum for more than three decades; Abel Pann, noted painter and lithographer; Ya'akov Stark, the father of Bezalel's intricate and distinctive calligraphic style; and Miriam Nissenholtz, known by her pseudonym, Had Gadya, the first woman to study at Bezalel.
Noteworthy


Tourism in Palestine/ Come See Erez Israel

Ze'ev Raban enjoyed great success as a commercial graphic artist and his many commissions included advertisements and product packaging designs. This poster was likely commissioned by the Jewish National Fund to promote tourism in Palestine. For the first time, the new sites and landmarks of the Land of Israel — the Herzliya Gymnasium, the settlements at Rishon le-Zion and Metulla, and even the Bezalel building — are juxtaposed with the traditional attractions of the Holy Land — the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the Mosque of Omar, and the Tower of David. The office of the tour guide service was located within the Bezalel shop. Undoubtedly, waiting clients were encouraged to browse among the available Bezalel products offered for sale.
Ze'ev Raban (1890–1970)
Colored lithograph
Jerusalem, 1929

The Sussi Collection

Hanukkah Lamp

This exquisite sterling silver Hanukkah lamp was created by Ze'ev Raban as a special commission, and is one of several known to have been executed in this style. The first of two inscriptions commemorates the founding of "Children's Week" by Mr. Israel Sunlight during Hanukkah 1928, while the second relates that this "Hanukkah Victory Trophy" was presented by Mr. and Mrs. George Rose of Manchester, England in 1931. The medallion under the shamash (server light) has been etched with the Hebrew word na'arenu (our youth). Further emphasizing the role of youth are the figures depicted in the roundels on the four angled sides of the base of the Hanukkah lamp, each illustrating holiday observances: Hanukkah and the three pilgrimage festivals of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot. In each case, the holiday observance involves a youngster.
Designed by Ze'ev Raban (1890–1970)
Executed by Yehia Yemini (1896–1983)
Silver, semi-precious stone, and enamel
Jerusalem, ca. 1931

Private Collection

Sabbath

Ephraim Moshe Lilien traveled to Palestine with Schatz in 1906 to serve as the school's first instructor. Although he remained for less than a year, his bold graphic style remained an indelible influence on Bezalel's output for years to come. Lilien's distinctive designs include the iconic Bezalel emblem as well as Boris Schatz's personal bookplate. This drawing was made by Lilien to represent the seventh day of Creation: ensconced in the celestial realm, the enthroned figure of God is flanked by two angels whose mighty wings obscure the Divine Countenance. The hands of God, depicted in the characteristic manner of blessing, are directed towards the earthly sphere at whose center is the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve stand before the Tree of Knowledge. This image was created by Lilien shortly after he left Palestine and is reproduced in volume I of Bucher der Bibel (Braunschweig: Westermann, 1908.)
E. M. Lilien (1874–1925)
Pen and ink drawing
Berlin (?), ca. 1906

The Sussi Collection

Silhouettes of Palestine

Meir Horodetzky arrived at Bezalel as a student in 1909. Following a popular trend among early twentieth-century arrivals to the Land of Israel, he Hebraized his last name and became known as Meir Gur-Arie. By 1911, he had been elevated to the faculty and taught painting and ivory carving until the closure of the school in 1929. In 1923, he and Ze'ev Raban co-founded the Industrial Art Studio, an independent workshop affiliated with Bezalel. The sharp contrasts of black and white in the emotive silhouetted figures and scenes created by Gur-Arie are reminiscent of the more formal artistry of E. M. Lilien.
In the Streets of Jerusalem
Meir Gur-Arie
Lithograph postcards
Jerusalem: L. Seidman, ca. 1925
Collection of Ira and Brigitte Rezak