1896 – 1992
Mordechai Ardon is considered to be one of Israel’s most important artists and his work is represented in major museums and private collections throughout the world.
Ardon was born in a small village in Poland, but his adventurous nature and artistic talent brought him to Berlin in 1919, where in 1921 he was accepted to the Bauhaus and studied under Feininger, Klee, Kandinsky and Itten. A few years later he became a teacher at a school founded by one of his Bauhaus teachers.
As he was not wholly satisfied with the abstract style, Ardon also began painting from nature and studying works of Old Masters in museum and galleries.
With the rise of the Nazis, Ardon had to leave Germany in haste and so in 1933 he came to Israel and settled in Jerusalem. The abrupt transfer from cosmopolitan Berlin to provincial Jerusalem was quite traumatic, but it wasn’t too long before he started teaching drawing and art appreciation in elementary schools. When the Bezalel School of Arts and crafts opened in 1935 he joined its staff and 5 years later became its director.
In 1952 he was nominated as Artistic Advisor to the Ministry of Education and Culture.
In his paintings, Ardon made copious use of mystical elements, evolving a ponderously symbolical Jewish aspect, alongside landscapes replete with a sense of mystery. Even in his earlier portrayals of places, he did not relate to landscape as a description of nature; rather, as evidence of an historical location of antiquity, the scene of great events. He blended together abstract and figurative elements. Just as he transported his landscapes to an era in history, likewise – in paintings whose subject matter is an historical event, primarily the Holocaust – he introduced a spiritual and symbolical dimension to the motif.