Kibel, Wolf

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KIBEL, WOLF (1903–1938), South African painter. Son of a cantor of Godzisk near Warsaw, Kibel was orphaned in boyhood but his artistic talent attracted the attention of a visiting artist who befriended him. In 1926 he went to Vienna, lived in poverty, but was helped by patrons to obtain some formal training and enabled to go to Palestine where he came under the influence of modern expressionism. In 1929 he emigrated to Cape Town, South Africa. There the strength and individuality of his style and his artistic integrity received quick recognition from fellow artists, but it was only toward the end of his life that his paintings in various media began to find their way into public galleries and private collections. Tinged with the melancholy of his own suffering and the tragedy of his people, Kibel's work was also marked by a sensitive humanity and joy in the common things of life. His life was a constant struggle against poverty and ill health, and he died in Cape Town of tuberculosis brought on by years of malnutrition.


F. Kibel, Wolf Kibel… (1968).

[Louis Hotz]