Ilya Schor

Ilya Schor
(1904-1961)

Chronology
1904: Ilya Schor is born as Izrael Schor in Zloczow (Galicia), in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, later Poland (now the Ukraine) to Naftali Schor, a Hasidic folk artist, and his wife, Krajdla.

1920: Ilya is apprenticed to an engraver and learns skills in metalwork and engraving that he will utilize for the rest of his life.

1928: Ilya begins his studies in painting at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts1930: Ilya meets Resia Schor when Resia applies to and is enrolled at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.

1936: Ilya graduates from the Academy of Fine Arts.

1937: Ilya is awarded a grant by the Polish government to study in Paris and Italy. He arrives in Paris in April. He works for one of his professors on a large mural at the Polish Pavilion at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1937. When the project is complete his professor advises him to stay in Paris because there are few opportunities for a Jewish artist in Poland.

1938: Ilya exhibits in the Salon d’Automne, Paris. Though an unknown, his work is singled out for a positive review.

1938: Although unmarried, Ilya and Resia live together in Paris in a top floor garret at 10 Rue Charlot in the Marais, a Jewish quarter of Paris.

1938: As aliens in France, Ilya and Resia cannot get married in a civil ceremony but they marry in a religious ceremony, not legally recognized by French law. After Germany’s invasion of Poland in September, they are granted resident status and they marry in a civil ceremony in Paris. Ilya participates in Salon d’Automne, Paris.

1938: At Resia’s insistence, Ilya and his spouse flee to Paris in late May, just ahead of advancing German troops. They head towards Bordeaux to reunite with friends working for the Joint Distribution Committee who had evacuated Paris earlier. Ilya and Resia are the only survivors of the group of about eleven friends, all Polish Jews, who fled Paris together. They settle in Marseilles to wait for immigration visas to America. Ilya is interned twice by Vichy forces.

1941: Ilya and Resia arrive in New York City via Lisbon, December 3. They settle on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

1941-1943: Resia works with other recent refugee intellectuals and artists in a small garment factory producing hand-painted tiles.

1944: Exhibition of Gouaches by Ilya Schor: Compositions, Flowers, Landscapes, Still Life, March, 58th Street Branch, New York Public Library. October 10, daughter Naomi is born in New York City.

1944: Ilya exhibits work in a group exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Boston.

1947: Ilya Schor: Paintings on Yiddish Themes, April 19 to May 25, Gallery of Jewish Art, New York. Ilya’s work is included in the inaugural exhibition of The Jewish Museum in its home in the former Warburg mansion on Fifth Avenue, The Giving of the Law and the Ten Commandments, May. The Schors travel to Los Angeles to visit the family of his late half-brother, Abraham Schor. Ilya’s work is included in the United Jewish Welfare fund’s Artfair, Los Angeles, CA. December 29, Ilya and Resia Schor become Naturalized Citizens of the United States.

1949: Ilya Schor’s work is included in The One Hundred and Forty-Fourth Annual Exhibition of the Painting and Sculpture, January 23-February 27, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.

1950: Publication of Abraham Joshua Heschel’s The Earth Is the Lord’s: The Inner World of the Jew in Eastern Europe, with wood-engraving illustrations by Ilya Schor; Ilya Schor, Jewish Artists, 1950: Annual Exhibition, Congress for Jewish culture, Jewish Museum, NYC. June 1, daughter Mira is born in New York City.

1951: Publication of Abraham J. Heschel’s The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man, with wood-engraving illustrations by Ilya Schor; publication of Hillel: The Book Against the Sword, by Ely E. Pilchick, with illustrations by Ilya Schor.

1953: Ilya Schor, Oils, Gouaches, February 2-14, Harry Salpeter Gallery; Group exhibition, 34 Jewish Artists, May, Sea Isle Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami Beach. Publication of Adventures of Mottel the Cantor’s Son, by Sholem Aleichem, with wood engraving illustrations by Ilya Schor. Instillation of Torah Crown and Breastplates, Congregation Emanu-el B’ne Jeshurun, Milwaukee, WI.

1954: Drawings and Prints by Jewish Artists, November-December, Congress for Jewish Culture Art Center, New York City.

1956: Ilya Schor, Six American Sculptors, Arts Club of Chicago; May 11, Dedication of Ilya Schor’s The Doors of the 36, Temple Beth-El of Great Neck, New York.

1957: Ilya Schor, Art in Judaism – Past and Present, Newark Museum; April 17, Dedication for New Torah Ornaments by Ilya Schor, Temple Israel, Boston, MA. After summers spent in Sayville, NY, Rockport, MA, and Woodstock, NY, the Schors spend their first summer in Provincetown, MA.

1958: Ilya Schor’s work is included in Gods and the Man in Art, The American Federation of Arts: patron Robert Trubek commissions a bracelet and pendant by Ilya Schor as a gift to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Schors return to Europe for the first time since World War II and spend the summer with Mira and Naomi in Paris and travel to Italy.

1959: Ilya Schor included in several group exhibitions at the HCE Gallery, Provincetown, including the second annual sculpture exhibition, August 6, and Six American Sculptors, Milwaukee Arts Center.

1960: Ilya Schor is included in Liturgical Art, Arts Club of Chicago, and group exhibitions including the third annual sculpture exhibition (July 28), HCE Gallery, Provincetown.

1961: Ilya Schor dies in New York, June 7, at 57. His work is included in International Exhibition of Modern Jewelry 1819-1961, October 26-December 2, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Wood Engravings by Ilya Schor, December 3-18, Newark YM-WYHA, Newark, NJ.

1962: Wood Engravings by Ilya Schor, July-August, Temple of Aaron, St. Paul, MN and YMHA of Bergen County, January 14-February 2, Hackensak, NJ.

1963: Ilya Schor Memorial Exhibition, April, Harz ion Temple, Philadelphia, PA.

1965: Ilya Schor, Retrospective Exhibition, July 8-September 12, The Jewish Museum, New York, NY.

1975: Life of the Old Jewish Shtel: Paintings and Silver by Ilya Schor, Yeshiva University Museum, New York.

2000: Ilya Schor and His Great Neck Patrons, Elsie K. Rudin Judaica Museum, Great Neck, NY.

2002: Family, group exhibition including work by Ilya, Resia, and Mira Schor, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, CT.

2003: Group exhibition with Mira Schor, My Mother Is and Artist, the educational Alliance, curated by Sheila Pepe. Mira Schor, The Tale of the Goldsmith’s Floor, is produced for the 2003 Brown University and differences Conference, “The Lure of the Detail,” in honor of Naomi Schor, and also shown at the Fine Arts Work Center and at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, August 2003.

2008: Works by Ilya, Resia, and Mira Schor included in The Studio Show, Provincetown Art Association and Museum; Ilya Schor is reburied with Resia in Provincetown.

Selected Collections
The Jerusalem Great Synagogue, Jacob and Belle Rosenbaum Mezuzah Collection
The Jewish Center, Cracow, Portland
The Jewish Museum, New York City
Metropolitan Museum of Art
North Carolina Museum of Art
Sydney Jewish Museum, Sydney, Australia
Temple Beth-El and Elise K. Rudin Judaica Museum, Great, New York
Temple Israel, Brookline, MA
The Washington Hebrew Congregation, Washington, DC
Private Collections

Biography
lya Schor
 (16 April 1904, Zloczow – 7 June 1961, New York City) was a multi-faceted artist, a painter, jeweler, engraver, sculptor, and renowned artist of Judaica.

Ilya Schor was born in Zloczow (Galicia), in the Austrian Empire, later Poland, in 1904. He came from a deeply Hasidic family. His father Naftali Schorr was a folk-artist, painting colorfully illustrated store signs for local merchants. Ilya Schor first trained as an apprentice in metal crafts and engraving before enrolling at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts in 1930 where he studied painting. In 1937, he was awarded a grant by the Polish government to study in Paris. He exhibited successfully at the Salon d’Automne in 1938. Ilya Schor and his artist wife Resia Schor immigrated to the United States in December, 1941, from Marseilles, via Lisbon, after fleeing Paris in late May 1940. Ilya Schor and Resia Schor had two daughters, born in New York City: artist and writer Mira Schor (b. 1950) and noted literary scholar and theorist, Naomi Schor (1943–2001).

In New York City, Ilya Schor began artwork that would keep fresh his memories of life of the Jews of Eastern Europe, working in the many materials and with the numerous skills at his disposal. He worked on major commissions for synagogues in the United States. Schor’s wood-engraving illustrations for The Earth is The Lord’s and The Sabbath, both important writings by the renowned philosopher and theologian, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and for Adventures of Mottel The Cantor’s Son by Sholem Aleichem, have remained in print for over fifty years. Rabbi Heschel wrote of Schor’s work, “In the stillness of the precious images Ilya Schor has called into being, generations to come will hear the voice and the spirit of eternal Israel, the inwardness and piety of our people of Eastern Europe.” Schor was also the creator of unique jewelry and small Judaica objects in silver and gold. In later years he also worked on abstract sculptures in brass and copper.

His work was exhibited at The Salpeter Gallery in New York 1953, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Jewish Museum (New York), 1948, and was included in group exhibitions such as Liturgical Art, Arts Club of Chicago and at the HCE Gallery, Provincetown MA, 1959 and 60; Six American Sculptors, Milwaukee Arts Center; Art in Judaism – Past and Present, Newark Museum, 1957; Six American Sculptors, Arts Club of Chicago, 1956.

Ilya Schor died in New York City in 1961. A retrospective of his work was held at the Jewish Museum (New York) in 1965. Another smaller exhibition of works in varied media, “Life of the Old Jewish Shtetl: Paintings and Silver by Ilya Schor,” was held at Yeshiva University Museum in 1975. His works are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Jewish Museum (New York), The Jerusalem Great Synagogue Jacob and Belle Rosenbaum Mezuzah Collection, North Carolina Museum of Art, and Sydney Jewish Museum, Sydney, Australia.