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Boris Schatz

June 29, 2010

Vorno, Lithuania 1866 – Denver, Colorado, United States, 1932
“Art is the bud, craft is the fruit.” – Boris Schatz

The founder of the famous Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Boris Schatz, came from a Rabbinic dynasty in Lithuania. He studied art in Vilnius, Lithuania and Warsaw, Poland before heading to Paris where he studied at the Académie Cormon. At the invitation of Prince Ferdinand, Shatz became the court sculptor of Bulgaria and founded the Royal Academy of Art in Sofia.

Schatz met Theodor Herzl in 1903 and in 1905, at the 5th Zionist congress, he proposed a Jewish art school which he founded in 1906 in Israel and named Bezalel after the artisan from the Bible who designed the Tabernacle. He believed in traditional representational art with Jewish themes and pushed for that style in his school. His school attracted many of the first artists to Israel, although there were a great number who left to explore more contemporary styles of art. Schatz campaigned for his school till his death. He was constantly looking for new teachers, students and patrons both in Israel and abroad. The school closed in 1929 (it reopened in 1935) because of the war and for financial reasons. Schatz died while fundraising in the United States.

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