Marcel Janco (1894-1985) was a renowned Dadaist before making aliyah in response to the fascist, Nazi-sympathizing rule in Romania at the beginning of World War II. Once in Palestine, Janco worked as an architect and an artist. But the language of Dada, of the absurd, was not suitable to the context of the sacrifice and pain of that period, and Janco moved to a more figurative style. In this painting from a private collection, Janco adopts cubist language reminiscent of Picasso’s Guernica to portray the death of a soldier in epic proportions, as if a figure in a classical play. Strong lines, dark colors and exaggerated poses imbue the work with a tragic air. Of the Yishuv‘s population of about 600,000, 1% died in the War of Independence, a staggering figure. (Part of a private collection; image used with permission of Janco’s descendants)
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