Reuven Rubin

 

1893 - 1974

 

One of the most renowned representatives of the early school of Eretz Israel art, was born in Romania in 1923.
Rubin came to Israel in 1912 and studied at the Bezalel Academy, but after several months he decided to go to Paris to continue his studies at the École des Beaux-Arts. World War I forced him back to his native Romania and the war ended he traveled to New York, where he gained great success and became the first Israeli artist to be renowned overseas.
Rubin returned to Israel in 1923 and the following year became the chairman of the Association of Painters and Sculptors.
Intellectuals in the 1920s perceived Rubin as the Eretz Israel painter par excellence; it being held that he portrayed the country both in reality and in an idealistic manner. Many regarded his paintings from the 1920s as the most significant representations of Eretz Israel of the Zionist pioneers, and as a confluence of different cultures and peoples.
Rubin pursued a wide verity of subject matter in an effort to express some of the folklorist characteristics of the country, often imbued with a mystical feeling. His work embraced, among other subjects, primitive, exotic structures and landscape; Tel-Aviv under construction; and figures of some of the intellectuals to be found in Tel-Aviv in the 1920s. Rubin also produced compositions in which the figures could function either as the artist and members of his family, or alternatively, as Hassidic characters from one of the sacred cities of Eretz Israel. In a belated development in the 1930 and subsequently, Rubin devoted himself to the pastoral portrayals of the country’s landscapes, in which the olive tree achieved quasi-symbolic significance.
Rubin received the Dizengoff Prize in 1964, and the Israel Prize for fine art in 1973, a year before his death.

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