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Portrait of a Jewish Writer

Samuel Hirszenberg (Łódz, 1865 – Jérusalem, 1908)

Circa 1902

Oil on canvas, 42.3 x 52.2 cm

Samuel Hirszenberg, Portrait d’un écrivain juif

Samuel Hirszenberg (Łódz, 1865 – Jérusalem, 1908), Portrait d’un écrivain juif, vers 1902

Samuel Hirszenberg is the Jewish artist closest to the Polish genre painters at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. His realist works depict the tragic plight of the Jewish communities devastated by the pogroms in Poland and Russia from the 1880s onwards. After training at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków and at the Royal Academy of Arts in Munich, he made his name with large, dramatic compositions such as The Jewish Cemetery (1892), Exile (1904) and The Wandering Jew, which he showed at the Paris Salon in 1900. In 1907, he emigrated to Palestine to teach at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem but died a year later. His work marks an important stage in the search for an artistic identity by European Jewish painters.

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