A beautiful small ceramic decanter by Chava Samuel, who is considered to be The Mother of Israeli Ceramic. Probably conceived in the 1950's. It features a marvelous pettina which is the artist's signature style, and a handle. Chava (Eva) Samuel (1901-1989), the great mother of Israeli ceramics, was born in Assen, Germany. Her mother was a painter and her father a Rabbi, and Chava recalled her childhood as one of being full of art and Judaism. The opening of the Great Synagogue in Assen in 1913, being the most ornate one built in Germany to date, greatly influenced Chava’s artistic style in later years. Among her works can be found a variety of Jewish ritual objects such as Shabbat dishes, hannukiot, candlesticks, goblets, Pesah Seder plates, and Havdallah spice boxes in addition to figurines of characters from the Bible and Jewish folklore. In contrast to the extremely delicate porcelain common to the era, Eva created pieces out of simple ceramic material that featured flowing picturesque glazes. Many of Chava’s works that were not specifically for religious use also showed evidence of a style borrowed from antiquity. Chava, and her contemporary ceramicist friends, were the pioneers of a new style that was to be directly tied to the land of Israel. Yet Chava’s formal education began prior to her aliyah. From 1921-23 she studied at the prestigious Folkwang-Schule for Art in Assen, and in the artists’ colony Worpswede where she apprenticed under the painter and sculptor Carl-Emil Uphoff. In 1932 she immigrated to Palestine and in that same year opened “HaYotzer”, the first ceramics workshop in Jerusalem. Two years later she opened another ceramics workshop in Rishon LeZiyyon, called “Kad Va’Sefel” with fellow cermacist Paula Ahronson. By 1948 she had become the sole owner of “Kad Va’Sefel” and her works – painting, drawings and sculptures – began to be shown in museums throughout Israel. Chava’s works came into huge demand after she became known as the designer of the “armored car stamp” during the War of Independence, and the tile decorations depicting the signs of the Zodiac that adorned the stage of the hall that first housed the Israeli Knesset. “Kad Va’Sefel” closed in 1979. Chava’s works are evidence of ingenuity, skill and craftsmanship as well as being testament to an important period in history and the forging of a new national identity. As a pioneer in the Israeli ceramics industry of both useful items and a distinctly Israeli style, Chava’s works have become highly collectible and fashionable in recent years.
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