Schor, Ilya

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SCHOR, ILYA (1904–1961), U.S. metalsmith, painter, and printmaker. Born in Zloczoq, Poland, Schor was the son of a Hasidic painter. Before attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, he worked as an apprentice to an engraver and goldsmith. He continued his studies in Paris before coming to New York in 1941. Schor achieved a reputation as a worker in metal. His jewelry and ritual objects, such as kiddush cups and Torah crowns, are filled with delicate, detailed, and intricate design. He did a great deal of work for ritual use in synagogues, such as doors for the ark of Temple Beth-El, Great Neck, New York. With artists such as Percival Goodman, Seymour Lipton, Ben Shahn, and Milton Horn, Schor contributed work which reflected the post-World War ii Jewish community's renewed interest in the synagogue as both a spiritual and cultural gathering place: original and handcrafted ritual objects, sculpture, painting, and windows emphasized the importance of the synagogue in Jewish community life. Schor's work was reminiscent of pre-Emancipation Jewish craftsmen. His oils and some of the books he illustrated with woodcuts depicted life in the small Jewish communities of his boyhood. His woodcut Fiddler, composed of simple, flat shapes with a minimum of detail, recalls a figure of the Eastern European shtetl. He illustrated The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man by Abraham Heschel (1951), The Earth Is the Lord's': The Inner World of the Jew in Eastern Europe, also by Heschel. Rather than working in the Abstract Expressionist style of his peers, Schor always remained a narrative, figurative artist who referred to traditional Jewish religious or cultural subject matter, making art in a manner which combined both folk and modernist sensibilities.


G.C. Grossman, Jewish Art (1995); A. Kampf, Jewish Experience in the Art of the Twentieth Century (1984).

[Nancy Buchwald (2nd ed.)]

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Schor, Ilya

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