Israelis You Should Know: Chana Orloff
The Fellowship | February 19, 2016
Name: Chana Orloff
Life: July 12, 1888 – December 16, 1968
Known for: Chana Orloff was an Israeli sculptor, in both the Art Deco and figurative movements.
About her: Born to a Jewish family in what is now Ukraine, Chana made aliyah to the Holy Land in 1905. Settling in Jaffa, she worked as a seamstress, while her brother Zvi became a pioneer in Israeli physical education.
After five years there, Chana took a job teaching dressmaking. Sent to Paris to study fashion, Chana instead chose to study art. The next few years saw tragedy strike. First, her son died of the worldwide influenza epidemic of 1919. Then her husband committed suicide during the Holocaust. After the war, Chana returned to their Paris apartment to find it ransacked and all of her sculptures destroyed.
Once Israel won its independence, Chana returned to her people’s historic and biblical homeland. She befriended the young generation of Israeli artists, and her work was featured at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. She also completed sculptures of David Ben-Gurion, as well as heroes of Israel’s independence. She passed away at the age of 80 in Israel.