Moshe Castel is born in 1909 in the Bukharian Quarter of Jerusalem to Rabbi Yehuda Castel- a Torah scribe, embroiderer of the curtain ( parochet) for the holy ark in the synagogue, cantor, composer of liturgical poems and Kabbalist - from whom he inherits the love of art, calligraphy, bible and Kabbalah, all of which are expressed in his artwork.
At the age of 12, young Castel is accepted into the Betzalel Art School .After his teachers realize that they have taught him all they can, Castel travels to Paris at the age of 16 for further art academic study at the Julian Academy, affiliated with the Louvre.
During this period, Moshe is exposed to artists such as Picasso, Joan Miro, Chagall, Modigliani and others from the Parisian art movement of the times and by whom he is greatly influenced.
From that point on, Castel begins his artistic journey, participating in group art exhibitions and his works are purchased by museums, art collectors and galleries in Europe.
In the 1940’s following the Second World War, Castel returns to Israel, opens a studio in the basement of a house owned by artist colleague, Zariski, and teaches the artists living in Israel at that time the technique of oil painting.
In 1948, Castel, together with other artists, establishes a movement called “New Horizons” which continues to be influential until this day.
In 1949, Castel marries Bilha Bauman and they move to Safed.
In 1952, Castel travels to New York where he is exposed to new artistic movements and artists such as Mondrian, Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko and others and influenced by them, begins to paint in an abstract style.
In 1955, Castel returns to Israel and presents his first paintings using basalt rock - a new language and artistic style that he has developed- one that integrates the Canaanite past, the Sumerian and ancient Hebrew scripts, the Kabbalah and his unique love for the basalt rock and the stones of the Western Wall.
These are his most famous pieces of art and one can find them in many locations - in the president’s residence, the Knesset, the Dan Accadia Hotel in Hertziliya, the El-Al offices in New York and in many museums and galleries in Israel and around the world.
Moshe Castel dies in the year 1991. Although he does not live to see the the building of the museum that he had dreamed of, his wife Bilha, becomes the driving force behind the project and the museum opens its doors to the public in February 2010.
The Moshe Castel Museum
The Moshe Castel Museum of Art was established along the main highway from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, on a mountainside in the city of Maale Adumim, overlooking a spectacular view of Jerusalem. It was opened to the public in March of 2010, close to 30 years after Castel had decided on the location.
Castel first had the idea of building this museum in 1981 while travelling with his wife, Bilha, on a vacation to the Dead Sea. After entering Maale Adumim, Castel was charmed by the magnificent views of Jerusalem and the Judean Desert.
The museum is housed in a unique and impressive structure designed by the architect, David Resnick, recipient of the Israel Prize for Architecture, together with his son, Baruch Resnick. Displayed in the museum is the artwork of Moshe Castel, one of Israel’s best-known artists, one who has won international recognition.
From the museum, one can see the skyline of Jerusalem from the east and even the new Betzalel Art Academy on Mount Scopus, the school in which Moshe Castel took his first steps as an artist.
Surely, if Castel were still alive today, he would add his signature to that of David Resnick on this magnificent building, one which constitutes a piece of art in itself.
The museum contains 7 exhibition halls housing the permanent exhibition of Castel’s artwork as well as temporary exhibitions of other talented artists.
Also at the museum- a gift shop, the restaurant-café “Waffle Bar”, an internal patio, an entranceway courtyard, and lecture halls.
One can also coordinate special family and business events, conferences, cocktail parties, book launches, study days ,educational staff meetings, birthdays, brit mila ceremonies, bar/bat mizvah celebrations and weddings at the museum.