Yosef Zaritsky is Born

September 1, 2014


Today in Israeli History

September 1, 1891

Yosef Zaritsky, one of Israel’s most renowned painters is born near Kiev in the Ukraine. Zaritsky would study at the Academy of Art in Kiev and live in Moscow before making aliyah in 1923, after a brief service in the Red Army.

Settling in Jerusalem and later moving to Tel Aviv, he was among the founders of the New Horizons (Ofakim Hadashim) movement, which emphasized universality and trended toward the abstract. In 1955, he became the first Israeli artist to hold a one man show in a major art center with his exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

In 1958 a special art exhibition celebrating Israel’s first decade was held in Jerusalem and Zaritsky’s painting Otzma (Power) was selected to hang in the front of the main entrance to the exhibition. On the night before the exhibition opening, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion came to view the exhibit. He was not pleased with Zaritsky’s painting and dismissed it with a wave of his hand and had it moved to a remote corner. After the exhibtion, Zaritsky destroyed the painting. It is shown in the photograph below at the exhibition.

Despite Ben-Gurion’s disapproval of his work, Zaritsky went on to much acclaim in Israel.

For more about Yosef Zaritsky:

His artist page at the Israel Museum