HALLO, RUDOLF (1896–1933), German art historian, friend and successor of Franz Rosenzweig as head of the Freies Juedisches Lehrhaus in Frankfurt. Hallo was born in Kassel to a prominent family of court Jews and artisans, which included Israel Aron Hammerschlag of Prague and his grandson and namesake, who was made a Court Jew in 1657 by Frederick William of Brandenburg. The family tradition of painting, gilding, and synagogue decoration began in 1816, when Simon Hallo became an apprentice housepainter, the medieval painters' guild having opened to Jews in the wake of the Emancipation. The firm Gebrueder Hallo was founded in 1891 and moved to Tel Aviv in 1935.
Trained in classical art at the University of Goettingen, Rudolf Hallo contributed significantly to the founding of Jewish art history as a discipline and also wrote on biblical and archaeological subjects. His interest in art history, especially Jewish and Hessian provincial art and handiwork, carried on the family tradition on an academic level.
Franz Rosenzweig was the son of his mother's closest friend. Hallo married Gertrude Rubensohn, also a friend of Rosenzweig and one of his circle (see Rosenzweig's Briefe, 285, 288). Upon his incapacitation Rosenzweig designated Hallo to succeed him as head of the Lehrhaus (Briefe, 354). Because of differences between the two men concerning educational policy, which stemmed from deeper disagreements in philosophical outlook (cf. Briefe, 364, 365), Hallo resigned at the end of the summer trimester of 1923 (Briefe, 373). He returned to his native Kassel, and there became curator at a state museum, where he created a department of Jewish art. He continued writing and lecturing. Among Hallo's works are Juedische Kunst aus Hessen und Nassau (1933), Juedische Volkskunst in Hessen (1928), Rudolph Erich Raspe (1934, posthumously), Geschichte der juedischen Gemeinde Kassel (1931), and Judaica (1932, separate printing from Religioese Kunst aus Hessen und Nassau).
His son, william w. hallo, Assyriologist, was born in Kassel in 1928. He immigrated to the United States in 1940. Hallo taught Bible and Semitic languages at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati (1956–62), and from 1962 taught Assyriology at Yale University, serving as curator of the Babylonian collection there. He published extensively on ancient Near Eastern and biblical subjects.
G. Schweikhart (ed.), Rudolf Hallo. Schriften zur Kunstgeschichte Kassel. Sammlungen Denkmaeler Judaica (1983).