Moses Bahelfer BAGEL (1908-1995)
Moses Bagel (born Moshe Bahelfer) was a Polish-born Jewish artist and graphic designer associated with the original Bauhaus and then the School of Paris (Ecole de Paris)
Moshe Bagelferyches was born on June 29 , 1908 in Vilnius, (Vilna, Poland) then part of the Russian Empire. He took up painting from at an early age, later going on to work as an apprentice at a local vocational school in Vilno while taking classes at the Vilnius Academy of Arts. Bagelferyches also joined Yungvilno, a group formed by young Jewish artists, poets and writers in the city, who hosted exhibitions. In 1927, he left for Germany where he joined the Bauhaus arts and architecture school in Dessau. From 1928 to 1932, he studied under Joost Schmidt, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, and Wassily Kandinsky. His painting was close to pure abstract art. He maintained close bonds with former students of the Bauhaus school who lived in Paris, Joseph Weinfeld, Jean Leppien, and Gitel Gold, who he married in 1932, with whom he had a son Amos. Bagel settled in Paris in 1933, illustrated children’s books for the publisher Nouvelle Revue Française and worked on photograph reports for the VU agency. Bagelferyches matriculated at the Bauhaus Dessau in 1928, after which he went by the name Moses Bahelfer. Because Bahelfer did not have the means to fully pay for his education at the school, he was provided with free meals and partial exemption from tuition fees.
In Paris, Bahelfer (there known there by the surname Bagel) worked as a graphic designer, children's book illustrator, and photographer. Following the outbreak of World War II in 1939, he joined the French Foreign Legion. During the German occupation of France, Bahelfer lived in Toulouse, where he aided the Resistance by forging identification documents.
After the end of World War II, Bahelfer returned to France, working in set design and as an illustrator for various Yiddish publications. From 1947 to 1968, he worked in the design department at 20th Century Fox film studio. In 1959 UNESCO commissioned Bahelfer to produce a series of paintings commemorating Sholem Aleichem. The paintings are now owned by the Sholem Aleichem Foundation in Tel Aviv, Israel. From 1945 to his death, Bagel was involved in the journal Architecture d’aujourd’hui (Architecture Today). He is included in the book ”Peintres juifs de l’Ecole de Paris 1905-1939” by Nadine Nieszawer, Editions Denoël Paris, France.
Works by Bagel were exhibited in the travelling exhibition '50 Jahre Bauhaus' held in 1968 by the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, which subsequently moved on toLondon, Paris, Amsterdam, Chicago, Ontario, Toronto, Pasadena, Buenos Aires and Tokyo.