Krakauer, Leopold

views updated


KRAKAUER, LEOPOLD (1890–1954), Israel architect and designer. Krakauer was born in Vienna, where he studied architecture and engineering. In 1920–21 he helped to design the parliament building in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. He immigrated to Palestine in 1924, and settled in Jerusalem. Krakauer was primarily an architect, and it was only later that he concentratedon drawing. He designed several public buildings and private houses, which, with their harmonious, simple lines, often close to Bauhaus ideas, remain among the best examples of the second phase of Palestinian architecture. They include kibbutz dining halls at Bet Alfa (1930) and Tel Yosef (1933), and the Megiddo Hotel, Haifa (1935). From 1948 he concentrated on town planning, and designed the Katamon Gimmel quarter of Jerusalem (1952) and several new immigrant villages. His charcoal and brown-wash drawings are detailed studies of the countryside round Jerusalem. After World War i, his work was expressionist, but his vision became more and more objective, and his line stronger and more precise. His work conveyed the subtleties and stark harmonies of the mountains, terraces, and lone cypresses. His unadorned, sober style is exceptional in Israel art.

His wife, grete krakauer-wolf (d. 1970), was born in Vienna, where she also studied. An abstract painter in her youth, she painted landscapes and portraits after settling in Ereẓ Israel, and in later years imaginative compositions featuring rocks, plants, and fossils.

[Yona Fischer]