October 5, 1898
Painter Nachum Gutman is born in a part of Russia that is now Moldova. At 7, he moves with his family to Ottoman Palestine. He fights for the British army’s Jewish Legion in World War I, then studies at the Herzliya Gymnasium in Tel Aviv before Bezalel in Jerusalem. Gutman paves the way for a new generation of Israeli artists, writer, painters and sculptors. He pioneers a uniquely Israeli style that moves away from European influences. He rejects the lessons of his Bezalel (art school established in Jerusalem in 1906) teachers because he sees their perspectives on artistry as far too European-centered. One of Israel’s best-known artists, Gutman works in oils, watercolors, gouache, sculpture, mosaics and engravings. Gutman writes prose, mostly short stories and children’s tales, on which generations of Israeli children are raised. His many honors include the Israel Prize in 1978 for his contribution to children’s literature. Gutman’s sculptures and brightly colored mosaics can be seen in public around Tel Aviv. Indoor murals depicting the history of Tel Aviv are in the western wing of the Shalom Tower and the Chief Rabbinate building. The Nahum Gutman Museum of Art is established in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Neve Tzedik in 1998, housing a collection of Gutman’s art donated by his family. The museum likwise features a recreation of Gutman’s workspace and art studio.