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1909

Moshe Elazar Castel is born in Jerusalem. His mother was Rachel Ancona. His father, Rabbi Yehuda Castel (1871–1936), was the scion of a Sephardic family that had come to the Land of Israel from Castile in 1492. Initially, the family lived in Gaza, and later moved to Hebron, where the father was born. Rabbi Castel was a talmid chakham (Torah scholar) and a sofer (religious scribe), who teamed up with Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (1858–1922) in promoting the use of the Hebrew language, and became known for teaching ‘Hebrew in Hebrew.’ He was also an expert in piyyutim (Jewish liturgical poems), which were eventually collected in a volume titled Kol Zimra (“Sound of Singing”).The father also designed curtains for Torah arks in synagogues.

1922–1925

Moshe Castel attends the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem.

1926

Castel takes part in the fifth annual exhibition of the Hebrew Artists Association at the Tower of David in Jerusalem.

1927

Moshe Castel travels to Paris with the help of his brother, Yosef Hayim Castel (1899–1968). He attends the Académie Julian and the École du Louvre. He shares a studio with the renowned sculptor Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966) at 46 Rue Hippolyte Maindron, in the Montparnasse area of Paris. He stays in Paris for twelve years, until 1939. He takes part in group exhibitions, including at the Salon d'Automne and the Société des Artistes Indépendants, in addition to organizing solo exhibitions at various galleries in Paris. His first exhibition is attended by Ze'ev Jabotinsky (1880–1940), who writes enthusiastically about the young Castel and his art.

1928–1930

Castel signs an exclusive three-year contract with the Galérie Zak, which was founded by Jadwiga (1885–1943), the widow of the artist Eugène Zak (1884–1926), who was renowned for her uncanny ability to recognize talented contemporary artists; in 1929, it was she who organized the first exhibition of Wassily Kandinsky in France. Jadwiga Zak and her son would be murdered at the Auschwitz extermination camp.

1930

The first solo exhibition in London.

1931

In a civil ceremony in Paris, Castel marries Maria Chlawnowicz (after settling in Israel, she would change her name to Miriam Novich, 1908–1990), a native of Grodno Province, Belarus, who would go on to become the founder of the art collection of the Ghetto Fighters’ House (for some obscure reason, the marriage document gives Castel’s year of birth as 1907 – and not 1909, the year listed in all the books about him).

1933

Castel visits the Land of Israel, holding a solo exhibition at the Technion pavilion in Haifa.

1936

Accompanied by Maria Chlawnowicz, Castel travels back to the Land of Israel to attend his father’s funeral. He rents a room from Joseph Zaritsky (1891–1985) on 16 Mapu Street, on the corner of Ben-Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, and turns it into a studio. He contributes some works by Parisian Jewish artists, brought over from the French capital, to exhibitions held at the Tel Aviv Museum and the Bezalel Museum in Jerusalem. In 1937, Boris, the son of Moshe and Maria, is born. However, the couple separate shortly afterwards.

From 1936

Castel participates in group exhibitions of the Israel Painters and Sculptors Association, beginning with the one held in memory of Meir Dizengoff at the Tel Aviv Museum, which he had established.

1937

Castel visits Italy and its museums, taking a special interest in paintings from the proto-Renaissance period (the fourteenth century). He then goes back to Paris.

1939

Castel returns to the Land of Israel and settles in Safed, eventually becoming one of the dominant figures of the Artists’ Quarter, which would be established in the city after the Israeli War of Independence. He takes part in numerous group exhibitions in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

1947

After the passing of his second wife, Tova Hoz (1924–1947), Dov Hoz’s niece (her parents were Yaacov Yosef and Chaya-Sarah Hoz), who died in childbirth together with their son, Castel goes into seclusion at the Terra Santa Monastery, where he practices his art for a year. During his stay at the monastery, he creates a series of works centered around the Binding of Isaac.

1948

On April 22, at the Kasit cafe, Castel is one of the fifteen signatories of the founding declaration of the Ofakim Hadashim [“New Horizons”] artistic group. He takes part in a group exhibition of Ofakim Hadashim at the Dizengoff House of Tel Aviv Museum. For the first time, he is inspired by the basalt stones of the ancient synagogue in Korazim (Galilee); about two years later, he begins to incorporate this substance – ground to a black paste, according to his formula – in his works.

1948, 1952, 1964

Castel participates in exhibitions at the Israeli pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

1949

Moshe Castel marries Bilha Bauman (1922–2016).

1950

A solo exhibition at the Katz Gallery in Tel Aviv. In the Introduction, Castel writes: “I believe that a new, poetic kind of art is [developing] in Israel; its background is rooted deep in its Jewish past, [and] this will result in a new and powerful rebirth.”

1952

Castel visits Paris and – for the first time – the United States; he works and exhibits at galleries in New York. Among other things, he holds a solo exhibition at the Feigl Gallery. He also participates in an international group exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

1953

Castel takes part in the “From the Land of the Bible” group exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; this traveling exhibition is subsequently presented in Pittsburgh, Tucson, and other cities. He also participates in the “Seven Israeli Painters” group exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

1955

A solo exhibition titled “Moshe Castel: Works, 1950–1955” at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

1956

Castel creates stained glass windows for the synagogue aboard the Israel ship.

1957

Murals for the Jerusalem ship.

1958

Castel takes part in two group exhibitions: “Ten Years of Israeli Painting” at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and “Exhibition of the [First] Decade” at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem (where he presents Facing the Future, a stained-glass work). A mural for the Churchill Auditorium at the Haifa Institute of Technology.

1959

Castel purchases a studio in Montparnasse, Paris, working there for several months each year.
He wins the first prize (Prêmio de Estado; Grand Prize of the State) at the São Paulo Biennale in Brazil.

1960

Castel takes part in a group exhibition at the Salon de Réalités Nouvelles in Paris, a venue for abstract art.

1961

Castel takes part in a group exhibition at the Galérie Karl Flinker in Paris, with which he has signed a contract for exclusive representation in Europe.

1963

A solo exhibition at the Galérie Karl Flinker, Paris.
Castel participates in a group exhibition of Israeli artists at the Galérie Charpentier, Paris.

1964

Castel takes part in a group exhibition of Israeli artists at the Jewish Museum in New York (a traveling exhibition that visits fifteen sites in the US and Canada over two years).
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York acquires one of Moshe Castel’s works and presents it at the exhibition of new acquisitions.
Castel signs a contract for exclusive representation in the United States with the Lefebre Gallery in New York. A solo exhibition at this gallery. He buys an apartment in New York and begins to make frequent trips to the US.
He visits Spain, including Toledo, Andalusia, and Granada.

1965

A solo exhibition at the Galérie Karl Flinker, Paris.

1966

Praise to Jerusalem, a large basalt wall relief for the Knesset building, Jerusalem. A solo exhibition at the Lefebre Gallery, New York.

1967

Praise to Jerusalem (in honor of the reunification of the city), a lithograph printed at the Atelier Mourlot studio, Paris. This is followed by a series of lithographs created at the same studio.
A solo exhibition titled “Moshe Castel: New Works” at the J.L. Hudson Gallery, Detroit, Michigan.

1968

A trilingual (French, English, and German) monograph titled Castel, edited by Marcel Joray, with an introduction by Michel Tapié de Céleyran, is published by Éditions du Griffon (Neuchâtel, Switzerland).

1970

Waiting for the Messiah, permanent collection, the Vatican.

1970–1971

The Western Wall. Glory to Jerusalem and The Golden Scroll, two large wall reliefs incorporating basalt, for the hall of ceremonies, the President’s House, Jerusalem.

1971

Castel takes part in the group exhibition “Expressionism in the Land of Israel in the 1930s, and Its Ties to the School of Paris,” at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

1971, 1973

Castel participates in the international Art Basel fair in Basel, Switzerland.

1973

A solo exhibition titled “Moshe Castel. A Retrospective, 1928–1973” at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

1975

Castel takes part in the group exhibition “The Jewish Experience in 20th Century Art” at the Jewish Museum in New York.

1977

A solo exhibition at the Janus Gallery in Washington, D.C.

1979

A solo exhibition titled “Moshe Castel: Paintings and Works on Paper,” at the Galérie Dresdnere in Toronto, Canada.

1980

A solo exhibition at the Engel Gallery in New York.
Castel takes part in the group exhibition “Artists from Israel, 1920–1980” at the Jewish Museum in New York.

1982

A solo exhibition at the “Angel” Gallery in Tel Aviv.

1982–1983

Castel’s paintings are included in the group exhibition “Bezalel, 1906–1929” at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

1984

The premiere of Yonah Zaritsky’s film Moshe Castel: A Portrait of the Artist, produced by the Israel Film Service, at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
A jubilee exhibition marking sixty years of creativity at the Knesset building, Jerusalem.

1985

Castel’s paintings are included in the group exhibition “Art in Israel, 1906–1985” at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium.

1986

Castel designs a medal issued by the Israel Coins and Medals Corporation, featuring versions of two of his works: Searchers for the Messiah and Everlasting Love.

1985–1986

Castel’s paintings are included in the group exhibition “Milestones in Israeli Art” at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
1987

תבליט בזלת גדול

The Tribes of Israel Together, a large basalt relief, at the Israel Diamond Exchange, Ramat Gan.

1988

And Peoples shall stream towards it and Kings of Jerusalem, two large wall reliefs, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Jerusalem.

1989

A solo exhibition on the occasion of his eightieth birthday – “Moshe Castel: Sources and Roots” – at the Beersheba Museum of Israeli Art.

1991

Moshe Castel dies in Tel Aviv, and is buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

2010

The Moshe Castel Museum of Art is inaugurated by the artist’s widow, Bilha Castel, in Ma’ale Adumim. Its architect is David Resnick (1924–2012), who works according to sketches left by the artist.

2019

The publication of the monograph Moshe Castel: Towards a True Sephardic Art by Dr. Gideon Ofrat (Jerusalem: Keter, published by the Levin Art Foundation).

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