Founder of Pal-Bell

Maurice Ascalon, 1913–2003, Israeli designer and sculptor.

Born in eastern Hungary, Maurice Ascalon left his ultra-religious Chasidic Jewish roots in favour of his artistic expression. At 15 years old he went to study art in Brussels and later Milan, settling in Tel Aviv in 1934. In 1939, Ascalon designed and created the enormous 14-foot-tall (4.3 m) hammered repoussé copper relief sculpture of three figures, “The Scholar, The Laborer, and The Toiler of the Soil”, which adorned the façade of the Jewish Palestine Pavilion of the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Maurice Ascalon working on the “The Scholar, The Laborer, and The Toiler of the Soil,” in Tel Aviv and Flushing, New York, and on a relief map of the Twelve Tribes.Zoltan Kluger Collection in the Israel State Archive

He founded an Israeli decorative arts manufacturing company, Pal-Bell, which produced bronze and brass decorative art and functional items. During Israel’s War for Independence in 1948, Maurice designed munitions for the Israeli Army and, at the request of the Israeli government, retrofitted his factory to produce munitions for the war effort. In 1956 Maurice immigrated to the United States, where he created silver objects of Jewish ceremonial art.

Maurice Ascalon’s son, David, recalls, as a child, meeting Ismar David. He reports that David and Maurice Ascalon were friends and collaborators, although the nature of the collaboration is not currently certain.

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