The Lost Wall Work

During the 1950s, Marcel Janco devoted a significant part of his creative energies to designing decorative murals and ceramic works for public buildings. Collaborating with the workshop founded in Ein Hod by Itche Mambush and Aviva Margalit, he created impressive ceramic wall designs for the Ziv Hospital in Safed, for the Carmelit station in Haifa, for the University of Haifa, for the Masada Ulpan in Be’er Sheba, and for additional sites. Janco did not simply provide sketches or models, but actually sculpted the works on site.
In the 1950s and 1960s, various Israeli artists were commissioned to create artworks for the Zim company’s passenger ships. Janco created a large mural composed of eight panels; for an unknown reason, this work was never installed as planned. Four of these panels were recently discovered behind a closet in the artist’s studio in Ein Hod. These panels feature images that correspond to a series of sketches created by Janco, and which are also featured in a photograph found in the artist’s estate. The painted scenes include heroic depictions of the struggle for Israeli independence and the foundation of the state, which were typical of Janco’s work during the 1940s and 1950s, as well as a range of Jewish symbols that were featured inhis works during those years.The panels are arranged according to the original numbering on their backs, from left to right:

·        First and second panels – Moses (or the Wandering Jew)
·        Third panel – The Tablets of the Covenant and a snake
·        Fourth panel – A nine-branched candelabrum
·        Fifth panel – Right-hand side of the candelabrum, an injured solider, and the Zim logo, surrounded by a mandorla shape
·        Sixth and seventh panels – Samson and the lion, together with a winged figure holding the Zim logo
·        Eighth panel – A dove and a hand

Janco was deeply concerned with the relationship between art and architecture. In one text found in his estate, he writes: “… It would seem banal to remind architecture of the existence of a fraternity of arts. We are all aware of this lost sense of unity. The genius of all the great artists was given expression in both art and architecture. So many artists, painters and sculptors were also architects who created the temples and memorials that housed their works…”