Concerning Pal-Bell No.462 "Chanukiya" (olive branch oil burning menorah)
- From "Luminous Art: Hanukkah Menorahs of The Jewish Museum" By Susan
L. Braunstein, Yale University Press (New Haven and London) 2004 at
(b. Hungary 1913, d. United States 2003)
Pal-Bell Co., Tel Aviv, 1950
Copper alloy: cast and patinated;
7 5/8 x 8 3/8 x 4 5/17 in.
(19.4 x 21.3 x 11 cm)
The Jewish Museum, JM 6-54
Fashioned two years after the creation of the State of Israel, this
lamp harks back to ancient models in its form and surface
decoration. The shape of the oil containers simulates that of Roman
lamps, while the green patina suggests the coloration found on
ancient bronzes. This type of patination was a favorite form of
surface decoration in the land of Israel from the days of the early
Bezalel School, and was chosen to link the art of the new settlers to
that of their ancient ancestors (Shilo-Cohen 1983a, p. 281). The
pitcher in the center is a reference to the miracle of the sanctified
oil during the ancient dedication of the Jerusalem Temple.
The maker, Maurice Ascalon, trained in Brussels and Milan before
immigrating to Palestine in 1934. Among his works is a large copper
sculpture, The Toiler of the Soil, the Laborer, and the Scholar,
which decorated the facade of the Palestine Pavilion of the 1939
World's Fair and is now in the collection of the Spertus Museum,
Chicago. Ascalon started Pal-Bell Company in the late 1930s for the
production of ritual and secular decorative arts objects. This lamp
won first prize at the 1950 Tel Aviv Design Competition.
Ascalon immigrated to the United States in 1956, where he taught
sculpture at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, and founded
Ascalon Studios. His son and grandson now run the studio and
continue to produce large-scale sculpture for public spaces and
houses of worship.
MAKER'S MARKS: "PAL-BELL CO. LTD." with interlace design in rounded
square. HALLMARK: "MADE IN ERETZ ISRAEL". DATE OF ACQUISITION:
1954. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Braunstein and Weissman Joselit, no. 46, fig.
68. SIMILAR LAMPS: Palestine Galleries, p. 3; Natalie Halpern Eichen
Collection (Plous, no. 39). OTHER WORKS BY ASCALON: Smithsonian
American Art Museum Art Inventories Catalogue,