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Reuven Rubin

(1893 - 1974)

Although born in Rumania and trained in art in Paris and Rumania, Reuven Rubin in many ways is a distinctly and distinctively Israeli artist. He studied briefly at the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem, and he exhibited in the first art exhibitions in Jerusalem in 1922. His exhibit of 1924 was the first one-man show in the Jerusalem exhibits, and his one-man show in 1932 launched the Tel Aviv Art Museum. He designed scenery for Habimah, Israel’s National Theater, and Rubin was one of the first Israeli artists to achieve international recognition.

Most important, though, was Rubin’s attempt to create an indigenous style of art. Influenced heavily by the work of Henri Rousseau, he sought to fuse this style with Eastern nuances. Hence his custom of signing his first name in Hebrew and his surname in Roman letters. Among Rubin’s most memorable works are his paintings of the Yishuv, particularly his landscapes and his paintings of the Israeli worker. Biblical themes also occur frequently in his work. His work was extremely popular both at home and abroad, and if his later work was less complex and profound than his earlier productions, it did not lessen his popularity.

Rubin served as Israel’s first ambassador to Rumania, from 1948-1950. His autobiography, My Life—My Art, was published in 1969, and he received the Israel Prize in 1973 for his artistic achievement.

Sources: The Pedagogic Center, The Department for Jewish Zionist Education, The Jewish Agency for Israel, (c) 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, Director: Dr. Motti Friedman, Webmaster: Esther Carciente