Avni, Aharon

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AVNI, AHARON (1906–1951), Israel painter. Born in Yekaterinoslav in the Ukraine, Avni studied art at the Art Academy of Moscow. He arrived in Palestine in 1925 and continued his studies at the *Bezalel School of Art, Jerusalem, until 1928. He traveled widely before settling in Tel Aviv in 1929. Between 1930 and 1932 he was in Paris. In 1936, Avni founded the Histadrut Seminary for Painting and Sculpture in Tel Aviv and remained its director for 15 years. In 1948 he founded the College of Art Teachers and taught architecture and mathematics. He worked as an architect at the Jaffa municipality. Avni was at first influenced by the work of Cézanne, but later his style became more expressionistic. He painted members of the Haganah underground movement, in which he took part, and during the War of Independence he portrayed soldiers on the battlefield. Paintings such as Visit to a Wounded Soldier bear witness to his warm sense of humanity and patriotism. Avni won the Histadrut Prize in 1935 and the Dizengoff Prize in 1947–48.