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Kupferman, Moshe


KUPFERMAN, MOSHE (1926–2003), Israeli painter. Kupferman was born in Jaroslav, Poland, and received a Jewish education. On October 10, 1939, the German army entered his town. The Kupferman family was expelled together with the other 10,000 Jews of Jaroslav to a small village in the region of Krasnofimsk. His mother died in 1942 and his father in 1944. He and his sister returned to Poland after the war, but his sister died. In 1948 Kupferman immigrated to Israel. In the spring of 1949 he was one of the founders of Kibbutz Loḥamei ha-Getta'ot, where he lived for the rest of his life.

He studied art in various frameworks – private lessons, art seminars, and a kibbutz class. He was in contact with other kibbutz artists such as Haim Atar and Shimon Avni. In 1961 he traveled to Europe and visited all the famous museums. From 1964 Kupferman worked at his studio in the kibbutz, referring to his painting as one of the kibbutz occupations. Kupferman's art was exhibited in Europe and United States. In 1987, his one-man show, "Paintings, Works on Paper," was held at the Musée national d'Art moderne of the Georges Pompidou Center.

Kupferman's style was Abstract. His artistic language was quite Minimalist and had a repetitive character. The color scale went from gray to smokey purple. His lines were straight, precise, and dense. Much was written about these lines in an attempt to understand them. Some connected them to Holocaust images; others suggested that the lines expressed the influence of his occupation in the first years of the kibbutz as a form maker in the building trade. Kupferman himself did not confirm any of these suppositions.

Kupferman's method of artistic creation was by layers. He would start with one color, usually green, and then layer by layer add other colors, some of which he removed during the process and then, after they were mixed on his palette with other colors, put back on the canvas. This was his special way of creating his unique purple.

Most of Kupferman's paintings are untitled. Nevertheless a few series do have titles: With Beirut-After Beirut-With Beirut (1982); Yitzhak Rabin in Memoriam (1996) The Rift in TimeDi Kriye (1999). Although Kupferman's art was not symbolic, it seems that the term "time" in his art referred to the Holocaust.

Kupferman's art fascinated the Israeli art world. Some writers made a connection between his Abstraction and the abstractness of the Jewish God.

In 2000 Kupferman received the Israel Prize.


Y. Fischer (ed.), Moshe Kupferman: Worksfrom 1962 to 2000 (2002).

[Ronit Steinberg (2nd ed.)]

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