Kempf, Franz Moshe

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KEMPF, FRANZ MOSHE (1926– ), Australian artist and printmaker. Born in Melbourne, Kempf studied different subjects, among them art at the National Gallery School in Australia. In 1956 he went to Italy and studied with Oskar Kokoschka in Salzburg in 1957. He focused not only on art but also on illustration and technological design and became a lecturer in printmaking. As president of the Contemporary Art Society of South Australia, he lectured in graphic art at the South Australian School of Art, becoming head of the department in 1969. During the same time he was also chairman of the Australian Jewish Art Group. Kempf, from an absolutely assimilated background, turned to the ḥasidic path of Chabad and became a strictly observant Jew. His work reflects his deep involvement with Judaism. Both his paintings and his prints contain biblical and ḥasidic themes, ranging from the shtetl to the messianic portrayal.

Kempf's style tends towards the semiabstract, but his statements are definite. His painting unites profundity of theme with subtlety of expression. The End of Days (by S. Gorr, 1968) was illustrated by Kempf with four original etchings composed specially for the text. His works have been acquired by the city galleries of all the Australian state capitals, by the National Gallery in Canberra, and others in the U.K. and Israel. He has also had exhibitions in the U.K., U.S., Europe, and Israel. Kempf's publications are "Art in Israel," in Broadsheet (Contemporary Art Society, 1965); "Polish Printmakers 1972," in Art and Australia (1973); "Sculpture in South Australia," in Art and Australia (1974); and Contemporary Australian Printmakers (1976).

add. bibliography:

D. Peters, Franz Kempf and Karin Schepers, Museum of Modern Art and Design (1964); R. Brooks, Franz Kempf (1991).