Mokady, Moshe

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MOKADY, MOSHE (1902–1975), Israeli painter. Born Moshe Brandshtat in Tarnow, Galizca, Mokady was sent to study at a high school in Zurich during World War i. Among other things he studied music and painting there. In 1920 the family decided to immigrate to Ereẓ Israel in spite of their comfortable life. The family built a home in Haifa. Subsequently Mokady lived in many places in Israel and also abroad for short periods. In the 1950s he was one of the founders of the Ein Hod artists' village and later he moved there. In those years he was chosen to represent Israel in the Venice Biennale (1952) and the Sao Paulo Biennale (1955).

Mokady's artistic style was characterized by his individualistic approach and variety. The connection between his private life and his art was clear and can be identified through the style of the paintings. In the beginning his style was a mixture of Cubism and Naive art. His penchant for painting portraits began then (Sitting Boy – Portrait of Daniel Sharshavsky, 1925, Israel Museum, Jerusalem). When Mokady dealt with the local landscape, he would describe figures in it.

His style changed after his Paris period. His meeting with the Jewish artists who lived there like *Chagall and *Soutine directed him toward the Expressionist style and his colors became darker and melancholic. The monochromatic painting that was one of his typical styles began to appear during this period.

At the end of the 1940s Mokady reached the abstract style. His interest in the music world and his awareness of the New York Abstract lay in the background of his return to this art style. Mokady's abstract paintings show a clear influence of Israel's landscapes. The paintings were assembled from stains of color placed near the middle of the canvas. Many abstracts were done monochromatically and some were colorful and full of light.

After the death of his elder son, Raphi, in the Six-Day War, Mokady's paintings became darker and the black and white contrast returned again and again.

A significant part of Mokady's artistic corpus belongs to his stage design. He worked for most of the theaters operating in Israel, and was in great demand.


J. Shen-Dar, Mokady Moshe 1902–1975 (1986); Y. Fisher and I. Hadar, Moshe Mokady (1999).

[Ronit Steinberg (2nd ed.)]