SEVEN DECADES OF ISRAELI ART: To mark the 70th anniversary of Israel's independence, Moment asks curators from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and Ben-Gurion University to choose outstandingworks of art from each decade.

Author:Cooper, Marilyn

Immigrant Transit Camp

Ruth Schloss

1953/Oil on Canvas

Ruth Schloss (1922-2013) was born in Nuremberg, Germany and made aliyah in 1937. A student of Mordecai Ardon at the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem, she also studied Cubism in Paris. Her work shows the influence of Social Realism, a school of art focused on depicting the everyday conditions of the working class and poor. Unlike many social realists, however, she was concerned with the vulnerability of individuals, and her subjects were most often marginalized people such as refugees or women and children. Tent camps like the one represented in this painting were established in Israel to house the thousands of refugees and new immigrants who arrived after World War II. Schloss's use of soft and warm colors reflects a certain tenderness toward the women and child at the center of the piece, which is painted in a loosely Cubist style.


Moshe Kupferman

1957/Oil on canvas

Moshe Kupferman (1926-2003) was born in Jaroslaw, Poland. After surviving the Holocaust, he moved to Israel in 1948 and helped found the Kibbutz Lohamei HaGetaot, the Ghetto Fighters' Kibbutz, in the Galilee. He studied with Joseph Zaritsky and Avigdor Stematsky of the Ofakim Hadashim, which means New Horizons, a Modernist Israeli art movement. This work represents an early phase in Kupferman's career. Concealment of form and meaning, accomplished by applying layer upon layer of color, is used here as a metaphor for memory and forgetfulness. Concealment is a central theme in all of Kupferman's art and relates to his experiences as a Holocaust survivor.

Sheep of the Negev

Itzhak Danziger


Itzhak Danziger (1916-1977) was born in Berlin and came to Palestine as a boy in 1923. Danziger played an important role in the cultural-political movement known as The Canaanites, which advocated for cutting off relations with the diaspora and replacing Jewish religious traditions with a new Hebrew identity based on ancient Middle Eastern culture. Danziger's affinity for nature and place, developed while he was on reconnaissance missions in the Negev desert, led him to create numerous sculptures and drawings of animals. Sheep, the domesticated animals of desert nomads, made frequent appearances. On the border of "sculpture as object" and "sculpture as environmental work," this piece embodies the intersection of landscape and local life, with the form of the sheep taking on the shape of nomadic tents.

The Hour of Idra

Mordecai Ardon

1951/Oil on canvas

Mordecai Ardon (1896-1992) was born in Galicia in Austria-Hungary as Max Bronstein and changed his name after arriving in Palestine in 1933. He studied at the Bauhaus school of German art and was particularly influenced by Swiss-German Expressionist Paul Klee, as well as Old Masters such as Rembrandt and El Greco. Ardon's work is distinguished by his blending of classical painting techniques with abstract and modern styles. This work makes use of kabbalistic symbols and is thought to be inspired by mystic Yeshayahu Tishbi's book The Doctrine of Evil. More generally, it shows the influence of the theosophical Kabbalah of Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-72). Ardon believed in art for art's sake and, like many of his pieces, this work is devoid of any larger political or social messages. Rather, the painting is an abstract image of religious ecstasy.

Agrippas Street

Arie Aroch

1964/Oil and crayon on wooden panel

Arie Aroch (1908-1974) was born in Kharkov, Russia. After making aliyah in 1924, he studied at the Bezalel School and was influenced by Israeli Abstract Expressionists Raffi Lavie and Aviva Uri. He founded the Ofakim Hadashim (New Horizons) movement, which sought to give Modernism a Zionist flavor. A diplomat, he began this drawing, considered to be his masterpiece, while serving as Israel's ambassador to Sweden. It brings together a variety of times and places, both personal and historical. The street sign is reminiscent of a shoemaker's sign from Aroch's childhood in Kharkov, while Agrippas is both a street in Jerusalem and a reference to the scion of the Hasmonean Dynasty (41-44 AD) who sought to serve the Romans while still protecting the Jews. Aroch intended the historic reference as a commentary on Israel's contemporary state of affairs.

He Walked in the Fields

Igael Tumarkin

1967/Partly painted bronze

Igael Tumarkin (193 7-) was born in Dresden, Germany and moved to Palestine with his family at age...

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