1887 – 1968
Painter and woodcut artist Jacob Steinhardt was born in Zerkow, Germany. He studied at the Berlin School of Art for two years and then continued to study painting with Lovis Corinth and engraving with Hermann Struck. In 1908 he traveled to Paris, where he studied at the Julian Academy and associated with Henri Matisse, Theophile Steinlen, Henri Rousseau and Renoir. A significant turn point in his career takes places when he founds, together with Ludwig Meidner and Richard Janthur, the group Die Pathetiker.
When World War I broke out, Steinhardt joined the German army and fought in several fronts. The drawings he made during the war gained broad attention at the Berlin Secession.
In 1925 he visited Palestine for the first time and the trip inspired a series of works reflecting a variety of landscapes. In 1933, after being interrogated by the Nazis, Steinhardt decides to move with his family to Jerusalem.
In 1949 he becomes chairman of the Graphics department of Bezalel Academy Jerusalem and four years later he becomes its director.
Steinhardt is one of the most important artists who came to Israel from Germany under the Nazi threat. His powerful paintings, drawings and woodcuts, imbued with biblical and Jewish themes, are strongly influenced by the pain and trauma experienced during the wars. Steinhardt has been awarded several international prizes: First prize for graphic art at the Sau Paulo Biennale (1955), the California Print Makers prize (1958), a prize for liturgical art at the Venedig Biennale (1959) and the Arte Sacra prize at the International Biennale for religious art (1961).