Joseph Zaritsky

 

1891-1985

 

One of the greatest Israeli painters, had an extensive influence over the succeeding generations of Israeli artists.
Born in the Ukraine, Zaritsky came to Palestine in 1923. For over 20 years he worked in watercolours, which he first exhibited in the early 1920s, making a stunning impact and evoking enormous interest.
Above all, Zaritsky preoccupied himself with the landscapes in the places where he lived or which he visited. He was among the first of the local artists to experiment by setting light against darkness. He sensed that the local light sharpens the contrast between light and darkness, from absolute clarity to absolute obscurity. He emphasized the fact that the Near-Eastern light is utterly unlike its European counterpart.
From the mid 1940s into the early 1950s, Zaritsky evolved an abstract language, and switched to painting in oils. He was the leader and moving spirit of the ‘New Horizons’ movement, whose members’ aspiration was to dissociate painting from the anecdotal and narrative elements hitherto overshadowing Israeli art, by adopting the ‘lyrical abstract’ trend. His manner of treating landscape, notably the way in which he succeeded in transforming fields into abstract compositions, made him the patron of ‘lyrical’ abstraction.

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