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Arnold Schwartzbart, z"l

Biography to Display: 

1942 Born Russia

2015 Died Knoxville, Tennessee

EDUCATION

1966 BA Zoology, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee

1969 BA Architecture, School of Architecture, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee

1985, 1988, 1991 International Seminar on Jewish Art, Jerusalem, Israel

1980's Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

1992 Coursework, The Synagogue Throughout the Ages: Art & Architecture, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

RESIDENCIES

1991 Visiting Artist, Mishkenot Sha'ananim, Jerusalem, Israel

1992 Visiting Artist, Mishkenot Sha'ananim, Jerusalem, Israel

PRIMARY WORK EXPERIENCE

1969-1976 Partner, GSW Architecture, Knoxville, Tennessee

1977-1981 Partner, Wilcox & Schwarzbart Architecture, Knoxville, Tennessee

1981-2015 Studio Artist, Knoxville, Tennessee

 

Arnold Schwarzbart, z”l emigrated to the United States in 1951. He is known for his creation of ceramic and mixed media Judaica. Signature forms include donor walls, meditation cylinders, and a ritualistic utilitarian production line created between 1981 and 1996. Everything had a purpose in Schwarzbart's work. Trained as an architect, he often bridged clean modernist design with antiquity by focusing on themes of ritual and spirituality. Subject matter in Schwarzbart's work often includes texts from the Hebrew Bible, other traditional Hebrew texts, and the Jewish mystical traditions. Work is created using a variety of clays and firing techniques based appropriate for the work at hand.

Schwarzbart's donor walls are frequently site-specific works. Walls are typically created using at least two different tile types. Schwarzbart typically reserves one type of tile for names of donors, while the other set acts as an embellishment: serving as an area for carved drawings, traditional texts, and decorative glazes related to the project.

Meditation Cylinders are created on the potter's wheel in conjunction with artist Peter Rose. Once the pre-fired piece reaches the leather hard stage, Schwarzbart carves a low-relief grid-like frame work onto the exterior of each cylinder. Traditional Jewish meditations, among other texts, are then incised onto the surface of select squares in the grid.

Schwarzbart's production line (1981 – 1996) features a variety of ritualistic utilitarian forms that accompany the Jewish faith. Signature pieces include menorahs, Kiddush cups, mezuzahs, Shabbat candlesticks, Shabbat plates, Passover Seder plates, and Elijah's cups. Pieces are created using a variety of methods including: slip casting, slab building, or made using a jolly jigger.

About his work, Schwarzbart states:

In Judaism we have the concept hiddur mitzvah, “The Beauty of Holiness.”  The idea is to make physically beautiful the objects and spaces used in the performance of ritual.  At one level, that is the essence of my work. Trained as an architect, function often serves as my frame of reference. Another focus is the history of particular objects as expressed for millennia. For me, it is important that my work be connected to, and part of, the tradition of Jewish religious objects. (Arnold schwarzbart Artist Statement and bio.doc  8/2017 jk)

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection of the Knox County Public Library System, Knoxville, Tennessee

Donor Wall, Adas Israel, Washington, DC

Donor Wall, Beth Shalom Village, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Donor Wall, Cedar Village, Cincinnati, Ohio

Donor Wall, Congregation Beth Israel, Northfield, New Jersey

Donor Wall, Congregation B'nai Amoona, St. Louis, Missouri

Donor Wall, Congregation Mikve Israel, Savannah, Georgia

Donor Wall, Heska Amuna Synagogue, Knoxville, Tennessee

Donor Wall, Jewish Agency, Jerusalem, Israel

Donor Wall, Jewish Congregation of Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Donor Wall, Jewish Home and Aging Services of Detroit, Detroit, Michigan

Donor Wall, Kehilath Israel, Overland Park, Kansas

Donor Wall, Laconia Public Library, Laconia, New Hampshire

Donor Wall, Nashville Zoo, Nashville, Tennessee

Donor Wall, Pelham Jewish Center, Pelham Manor, Pelham, New York

Donor Wall, Temple Anshe Sholom, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Donor Wall, United Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, Albany, New York

Donor Wall, Village Shalom, Overland Park, Kansas

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum, New York, New York

Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee

Rosenbaum Collection, Heichel Shlomo Synagogue, Jerusalem, Israel

The Arnold Schwarzbart Gallery at the Arnstein Jewish Community Center, Knoxville, Tennessee

Wall sculptures: “Judah” and “Naphtali,” Kehilath Israel, Overland Park, Kansas

 

Bibliography

Bibliography to Display: 

Hemachandra, Ray, and Daniel Belasco. 500 Judaica: Innovative Contemporary Ritual Art. New York, NY: Lark Books, 2010.

McRary, Amy. “History & Function: UT exhibit 'Judaica' reflects former architect's faith, family.” Knoxville News Sentinel, July 26, 2008.

Morton, Kathryn. Judaic Artisans Today: Contemporary Judaica in the United States and the Artists Who Created It. Gaithersburg, MD: Flower Valley Press, 2000.

Rockland, Tupa Mae, “The New Work of Our Hands.” Metro Pulse Magazine, June 1994.

Soltes, Ori Z, Tradition and Transformation: Three Millennia of Jewish Art and Architecture. Boulder, CO: Canal Street Studios, 2016.

 

Website(s):

http://www.schwarzbart.com/home/

 

 

 

the center for craft, creativity & design This research was supported by a Craft Research Fund grant from The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design, Inc.
   
southern highland craft guild The Archive of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.

 

Typical Marks
Goblet
Form: Goblet
Method: Slip Cast
Surface Technique: Glaze
Estate of Arnold Schwarzbart, z"l
Estate of Arnold Schwarzbart, z"l
Cylinder
Form: Vessel
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze
Collection Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee
Collection Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee
The Shtender
Form: Sculpture
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Slab Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Estate of Arnold Schwarzbart, z"l
Estate of Arnold Schwarzbart, z"l
Menorah
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Slab Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Estate of Arnold Schwarzbart, z"l
Estate of Arnold Schwarzbart, z"l
Passover Seder Plate and Elijah's Cup
Form: Goblet, Plate
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Slip Cast, Hand Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Estate of Arnold Schwarzbart, z"l
Estate of Arnold Schwarzbart, z"l
Vase
Form: Vase
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze
Estate of Arnold Schwarzbart, z"l
Estate of Arnold Schwarzbart, z"l
Omer Counter
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Slab Built, Hand Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Estate of Arnold Schwarzbart, z"l
Estate of Arnold Schwarzbart, z"l
Donor Wall, Kehilath Israel, Overland Park, Kansas
Form: Tile
Materials: Porcelain, Mixed Media
Method: Slab Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Estate of Arnold Schwarzbart, z"l
Estate of Arnold Schwarzbart, z"l

Citation: Jeffrey Kuratnick. "The Marks Project." Last modified September 11, 2017. http://www.themarksproject.org:443/marks/schwartzbart-zl