The artists' village of Ein Hod
The beautiful artists' village of Ein Hod is perched on a hill at the foot of Mount Carmel. It is special, and even unique, for many reasons. It was set up in 1953 by artists under the initiative of Marcel Janco, one of the founders in Europe of the Dada art movement. The villagers are not only artists, potters, sculptors, and jewelry designers, but also writers, poets, playwrights, actors and musicians, which is quite unique for an artists’ village. Ein Hod has a bohemian and eclectic atmosphere that sets it apart from conventional Israeli towns. The dwellings, set in verdant surroundings with a view of the Mediterranean Sea below, are renovated Arab houses, giving the village a distinctive, quaint look. Ein Hod has about 500 residents, including 10 Israel Prize winners, who have helped create a vibrant arts and culture scene in the region.
Ein Hod is the type of place you can spend just a few hours viewing the main art gallery and one or two of its museums or you can spend a much longer time wandering through the streets, visiting some of its many workshops and galleries, and even relaxing for a meal or drink at its restaurants and cafes. The majority of the galleries and workshops are in artists’ homes.
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"David playing harp" by Victor Halvanio (1996). One of the 150 statutes around the village.
Exhibits in the Art Gallery Ein Hod. This gallery is a must visit.
Directions: Enter “Ein Hod” into Waze. This will take you to the parking lot Park on the opposite side of Route 84 to the village. In is, any case, clearly marked. There is a bus stop at Ein Hod. Enter "Ein Hod Artist Village" into Moovit.
Take the main entrance to the village central square, passing a grocery store on your right. It is usually not worthwhile arriving in Ein Hod too early in the morning, as it takes time for everyone to get going here. Only at about 10 a.m. does life start to move and the museums open. There are 150 statues throughout the village, most of them unusual, made by different artists living here.
The Ein Hod Artists’ Village Tourism Center does offer tours – contact 054 481 1961 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, you are on your own.
A good place to start your visit is the Art Gallery Ein Hod in the central square. This is the main gallery of the village and it will give you the pulse of the place. It is one of Israel's largest galleries with five exhibition halls and it has alternating exhibitions by local and visiting artists using various mediums. There are also some exhibits about the development of the village, which was formerly the Arab village of Ein Hawd. You can purchase works of art, reproductions, posters and souvenirs directly from the gallery. It is open Monday to Friday 10.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. and Saturday 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m (but not Sunday). There is no admission charge. There are public WCs close by.
Ma'abara by Marcel Franco exhibited in the Janco Dada Museum.
Janco's easel in his small home in Ein Hod. He also had a bigger home in Tel Aviv.
You may also wish to visit the Janco Dada Museum. I advise, though, to first read something about Dada art (see below). Once you understand the ideas behind this art form, you will appreciate how interesting, innovative and dynamic Janco was. It was his efforts that led to the establishment of this artist’s village by persuading other artists to live here. He was also its first mayor. The museum was established in 1983 by a group his friends in order to conserve the works and ideas of the sole Dadaist who lived in Israel. There are five display spaces - the permanent display devoted to the 70 years of Marcel Janco’s art, the Entrance Gallery for the work of young artists and special projects, the Lower Gallery for exhibitions of contemporary art, and the Pit, a space beneath the Museum floor for video art opened in 2004. The museum is open from 11.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. Monday to Friday and Saturday 11.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. Admission is 28 NIS for adults, children under 18 14 NIS and seniors 14 NIS. Guided tours for groups need to be booked in advance. A tour of his small home on the property may be offered. Their phone number is 04 984 2350. This is their website.
One other museum which many people find fascinating is the Nisco Museum (of Mechanical Music and Music Boxes). It is open every day from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. The cost is 40 NIS per adult and 30 NIS per child. In a 40-minute tour held every hour on the hour, you view a 70-year collection of music boxes, organs, automatic pianos and other mechanical instruments in an historical progression. The exhibit hall itself looks rather dumpy, but the instruments make it come to life. You can walk down the hill to the museum from the square or drive there directly, as the museum is directly off Route 84. Enter “Nisco Museum” into Waze. Call to arrange your tour – 052 475 5313.
There are two circular walks for strolling. One starts from the central square. There is also a longer circular walk starting from the first turning on the left from the main entrance road.
This is a mechanical predecessor of the record player.
Note the self-playing piano.
Marcel Janco and his Dada art
Marcel Janco (1895-1984) was a prolific and talented artist, who was among a group of artists that founded Dada art, a movement that pushed the boundaries of conventional art. As a professional architect in Rumania, his work was also innovative and avant-garde.
Marcel was born in Rumania and he studied architecture in Bucharest. He moved to Zurich in Switzerland to escape World War I
Dada art arose in Switzerland, where numerous artists, writers and intellectuals opposing or escaping from the First World War had gathered. Their art form was a reaction to the chaos and senselessness of this war. A group of these disillusioned artists, which included Marcel Janco, began gathering in a famous nightclub in Zurich called Cabaret Voltair. This nightclub was founded as a gathering place for artists, writers and performers in 1916 and they experimented with a variety of art forms, including poetry, visual art and music. Some of the acts were absurd and non-sensical. Dadaist art was also provocative, ludicrous and sometimes shocking. It was an anti-art form that aimed to challenge the art establishment and defy people’s aesthetic and logical expectations, and even societal norms. Marcel’s art used various mediums and like that of his colleagues challenged the boundaries of art, using abstraction, geometric shapes and rejection of conventional artistic conventions. This group called their art Dada art, which meant nothing more than a baby’s babbling.
Dadaism was not the beginning of “modern art” but a stage in its progression. Challenges to traditional artistic conventions had already arisen in the late 19th century with Impressionist and Post-impressionist works by artists such as Edouard Manet, Claude Monet and Paul Cezanne and they were the ones who laid the groundwork for the modernist break from academic art. There followed from this the emergence of Fauvism in the early 20th century with the use of bold colors and non-representational forms by artists such as Henri Matisse and Andre Derain. Pablo Picasso and George Braque destroyed traditional notions of perspective with Cubism. Dadaism had no unified style, but had a significant influence on the Surrealism of the 1920s, with artists such as Andre Breton and Salvador Dali exploring the irrational, subconscious and dreams.
From Switzerland, Marcel moved to Paris where he was involved in art and architecture and he then moved back to his home country Romania where he also worked as an architect. He set up an architectural studio Birou de Studii Moderne (Office of Modern Studies) which together with other architects inaugurated modernistic designs in Romania. the more than 40 homes and public buildings he designed were distinguished by a unique style defined by streamlined, elegant lines, a lack of ornamentation, and compelling combinations of forms.
With the rise of fascist antisemitic parties in Romania, Marcel began to take an interest in Zionism, and following the Bucharest Pogrom he immigrated to Palestine in 1941.
He settled in Tel Aviv and became a prominent figure in the development of architecture and art in the country. With his new artistic ideas, he contributed to the introduction and adoption of modernist ideas in the country’s artistic circles. “Janco's late works, which were created during the 1960s and 1970s, were characterized by a return to abstraction. His geometric forms symbolize man and nature, and recur in numerous variations in the many canvases he painted during this period.” His co-founding of a “New Horizons” group and his monitoring of younger artists helped promote modernist and abstract art in Israel. He also influenced the design and architecture in the country, and thereby helped shape Israel’s modern urban landscape.