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This vintage poster advertises an upcoming ball for the Students association of the Jerusalem Art School’s “New Bezalel” and the Palestine consevatoire; held for the benefit of destitute students. The event was held on the evening of Dec. 2, 1939. The picture depicted is of a snake wrapped around a tree, with apples all around. At the base an artist’s palette. Printed by Central Printing, Jerusalem.
Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design is Israel’s national school of art. Established in 1906 by Jewish artist and sculptor Boris Schatz, Bezalel is the oldest institution of higher education in Israel. The art created by Bezalel’s students and professors in the early 1900s is considered the stepping stone for Israeli visual arts in the 20th century.
Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design is Israel’s national school of art. Established in 1906 by Jewish artist and sculptor Boris Schatz, Bezalel is the oldest institution of higher education in Israel. The art created by Bezalel’s students and professors in the early 1900s is considered the stepping stone for Israeli visual arts in the 20th century. The academy is currently located at the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – with the exception of the Architecture faculty, located at the historic Bezalel building in downtown Jerusalem. In 2009 it was announced that the academy will be relocated to a new campus in the Russian Compound, as part of a wide municipal plan to revive Jerusalem’s downtown. The new Bezalel campus is planned by Tokyo-based award winning architectural firm SANAA.
The Bezalel School was founded in 1906 by Boris Schatz who envisaged the creation of a national style of art blending classical Jewish/Middle Eastern and European traditions. The school opened in rented premises on Ethiopia Street. It moved to a complex of buildings constructed in the 1880s by a wealthy Arab surrounded by a crenelated stone wall. In 1907, the property was purchased for Boris Schatz by the Jewish National Fund. Schatz lived on the campus with his wife and children. The first class consisted of thirty young art students from Europe who successfully passed the entrance exam. Eliezer Ben Yehuda was hired to teach Hebrew to the students, who hailed from different countries and had no common language. His wife, Hemda Ben-Yehuda, worked as Boris Schatz’s secretary. In addition to traditional sculpture and painting, the school ran workshops that produced decorative art objects in silver, leather, wood, brass and fabric. Many of the craftsmen were members of the Yemenite Jewish community, which has a long tradition of working in precious metals. Silver and goldsmithing had been traditional Jewish occupations in Yemen. Yemenite immigrants were also frequent subjects of Bezalel school artists. Many of the students went on to become well-known artists, among them Meir Gur Aryeh, Ze’ev Raban, Shmuel Ben David, Ya’ackov Ben-Dov, Zeev Ben-Zvi, Jacob Eisenberg, Jacob Pins, Jacob Steinhardt and Hermann Struck studied at Bezalel In 1912, the school had one female student, Marousia (Miriam) Nissenholtz, who used the pseudonym Chad Gadya. The school closed in 1929 in the wake of economic difficulties. After Hitler’s rise to power, Bezalel’s board of directors asked Josef Budko, who had fled Germany in 1933, to reopen the school and serve as its director.The New Bezalel School for Arts and Crafts opened in 1935, attracting many teachers and students from Germany, many of them from the Bauhaus school shut down by the Nazis.Budko recruited Jakob Steinhardt and Mordecai Ardon to teach at the school, and both succeeded him as directors. In 1958, the first year that the prize was awarded to an organization, Bezalel won the Israel Prize for painting and sculpture. In 1969, Bezalel became a state-supported institution. In 1975 it was recognized by the Council for Higher Education in Israel as an institute of higher education. It completed its relocation to Mount Scopus in 1990.