Ofir, Arie

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OFIR, ARIE (1939– ), Israeli designer and silversmith. Ofir was born in Tel Aviv and was a member of kibbutz Bet Nir. During rehabilitation from wounds received during his military service, he developed an interest in metalcraft, and from 1961 to 1964 studied at the *Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and later worked at the studio of D.H. Gumbel, a silversmith in Jerusalem, 1964–66, and from 1966 to 1968 at the workshop of Georg Jensen in Copenhagen, where he was granted a scholarship by the Danish Ministry of Education. On his return to Israel in 1969 he opened his own studio in Jerusalem. In 1969 he was appointed lecturer at the gold- and silversmithing department of Bezalel, its head in 1972, and in 1977 professor of fine arts.

He has held exhibitions at art museums in many countries, and was guest lecturer at various universities. His works are included in many private and public collections. Exhibitions have included the Jewish Museum, New York; Spertus Museum, Chicago; Yeshiva University Museum, New York; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Schmucksmuseum Pforzheim, Germany; and a Torah crown, breastplate and yad at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Anglo-Jewish Exhibition 1978). In 1976 Ofir designed and executed a memorial for Jerusalem soldiers killed in the Yom Kippur War, which stands in the Peace Forest between Armon Ha-Naẓiv and Abu Tor. Later he produced striking functional lighting elements by transferring two-dimensional images onto glass. In 1992 he was awarded the Jesselson Prize for Contemporary Judaica Design by the Israel Museum. He is the author of Yesodot Ha-Ẓorfut ("Basics of Gold and Silversmithing," 1977).

[Amia Raphael]