Yehezkel Streichman

 

1906 – 1993

 

One of the leading Israeli artists, was one of the founders of the ‘New Horizons’ group and actually expressed the group’s aspiration – soon transformed into an ideology – to dissociate painting from the anecdotal and narrative elements hitherto overshadowing Israeli art.
Born in Knovo, Lithuania to a wealthy merchant, Streichman was given private lessons in science, Hebrew, and later in art.
In 1924 he immigrated to Israel and soon engaged in the studies of art at the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem. After his graduation in 1926, Streichman left for Europe and spent a year in Paris, 4 years at the Brerra Academy in Florence, Italy, and 5 years at Knovo, where he was born.
Upon his return to Israel in 1936 he joined a Kibbutz and began to teach art in elementary and high schools.
In 1941 Streichman is awarded the Dizengoff Prize for art, the first of the four times he shall be awarded this prize.
In 1944 he moved to Tel Aviv and began to teach painting at the studio of Aaron Avni, which will later become the Avni Institute. In 1945 he founded an atelier, together with Avigdor Steimatsky.
Streichman launched his career as an expressionist in the manner of an East European artist. In time, however, his painting evolved toward abstraction, and he was among those who espoused abstract painting as an absolute matter of artistic faith. He backed away from abstraction in 1960s, evolving a mode of painting whose complexity was rooted in a fusion of abstraction and reality in peaceful coexistence. In effect, his works are a confluence of conflicting elements and components, which create paintings with an intense expressive quality. They include ‘cumulative’ paintings built up over the years – sometimes demonstrating swings of mood and temperament that go some way to explain the presence of elements so disparate within a single painting.

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