Lot #21159

Messiah in Chains By Boris Schatz

estimate: $30000 - $40000

starting price: $26000

closing price: $36000

technique: Plaster Sculpture
Dimension: Height: 48 cm, length: 22 cm, width: 24 cm
condition: Good
provenance: Estate of the Artist
exhibition: Boris Schatz – The Father of Israeli Art, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, January 2006.
literature: Yigal Zalmona, "Boris Schatz – The Father of Israeli Art", The Israel Museum, Jeursalem (2006), colored image on p. 100.

Professor Boris Schatz (Zalman Dov Baruch) 1866 – 1932. Sculptor and Painter. Schatz was born in Lithuania to a religious, Orthodox family with a rabbinical lineage. In Vilna, he attended the yeshiva (talmudic college), and was meant to continue the family dynasty. However, he objected to Orthodox Judaism and was quickly driven away from synagogues and marked as a sinner. From an early age he began to study art. Schatz believed in Socialist ideas and developed a deep sympathy for the poor, which was expressed in his art. His early creations included many sculptures with poor Jewish figures in tattered clothing. In 1889, he married Jennie and they moved to Paris. Schatz studied with the sculptor Mark Antokolski, and at the same time studied painting at the Cormorn Academy. In 1894, he sculpted his most famous sculpture Mattathias the Hasmonean. In 1895, he was invited to Bulgaria by Prince Ferdinand, and became his court sculptor. Schatz created important sculptures scattered throughout Sofia. He lived there for ten years but left due to personal issues, namely his divorce, and separation from his first daughter Angela. In 193 he met with Theodore Hertzel and presented him with the idea of establishing a college for art-crafts, that would be called Bezalel after Bezalel Ben Uri Ben Hur, builder of the Tabernacle, the first artist mentioned in the Bible. The decision to establish Bezalel was accepted in the Seventh Zionist Congress in 195 in Basle. In 196 Boris Schatz arrived in Israel and founded Bezalel which began operating with a fabrics and carpets department. Departments for silver design, brass work, wicker furniture, lithographs and others were gradually added, 3 different handcrafts in total. By 199 began Schatz to organize worldwide exhibitions of Bezalel items in order to receive international publicity and funds. In 1911 he married Dr. Olga Pavzner, an art critic. In 1912 their first son Bezalel was born, and their daughter Zohara was born in 1916. The Bezalel school was closed down for the first time by the Turks during World War I, and Professor Schatz was arrested and deported to Syria. With its re-opening after the war Bezalel encountered extreme economic difficulties and was finally closed down in 1929. Boris Schatz was the head of Bezalel for sixteen years, and continued with his desperate endeavors to raise money for the School even after its closure. Professor Schatz died of a heart condition in 1932, at the age of 66, in Colorado, USA while travelling to collect donations for Bezalel. Schatz sculpted hundreds of sculptures throughout his life, mostly of Biblical and Zionist figures.