CHANA ORLOFF (1888 - 1968)

Starokonstantinov 1888 - Tel-Aviv 1968

"First of all, I am attracted by the decorative aspect - the plastic aspect if you prefer me to call it like that- as well as character… I would like my artworks to be as lively as life… " - Chana Orloff.

Born in Ukraine in 1888 , Chana Orloff embarked in 1905 for Palestine. Upon arrival in Paris five years later, she enrolled in « L’École des Arts Décoratifs » (School of Decorative Arts) which she  quitted to study sculpture in Vassilieff Academy located in Montparnasse. There, she met fascinating characters of whom Soutine, Modigliani, or Zadkine soon became close relatives. By 1913, the Salon d’Automne, Salon des Tuileries and Indépendants welcomed her artworks. Bernheim Jeune Gallery also exposed her, along with Matisse, Rouault et Van Dongen in 1916.

In 1919, literary and artistic Paris came in droves to Chana Orloff’s atelier to commission their portrait (her total body of work numbers over 300 of them).

Her highly praised first solo exhibition takes place at the avant-garde Weyhe Gallery in New-York in the year of 1928, soon followed by another one in Tel-Aviv in 1935, where criticism is equally laudatory.  

In 1942, the anti-Jewish laws make up with her while her art reached its full maturity. Geneva. was her temporary haven of peace until her return to Paris in 1945. She found her home ransacked,  and hundreds of sculptures were stolen or destroyed. In 1949, the Museum of Fine Arts in Tel Aviv exhibited 37 of her sculptures and numerous countries in Europe as well as the United States and Israel welcomed her artworks until Chana Orloff’s death in 1968.

The artist -who is nowadays considered a major figure of the School of Paris- was trained in the requirements of modern art, more specifically, in those of the incipient cubist school. Her artworks, infused with characteristic themes such as animals and maternity fully participate in XXth Century art.

Leaving behind a wondrous gallery of sculpture, Marcilhac Gallery decided that the time had come to make the exposure of it. Bringing together more than twenty sculptures in bronze, plaster, cement and wood as well as numerous drawings, Marcilhac Gallery offers a beautiful retrospective. Ranging from portrait; those of Georges Lepape or Lucien Vogel; the famous bather squatting in wildlife art (the basset, turkey or fish), the exhibition presents a selection of introspective pieces, both pure, intense and free.