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Moreh, Mordecai


MOREH, MORDECAI (1937– ), Israeli printmaker and draftsman. Moreh was born in Baghdad, and immigrated to Israel in 1951. He studied at the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts, Jerusalem, from 1955 to 1959, and from 1960 to 1962 studied on an Italian government scholarship at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Florence. In 1962 he was awarded a scholarship by the American-Israel Cultural Foundation to attend the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris.

Moreh mainly used the drypoint method in the technique of prints which revealed him to be a master draftsman. His subjects were traditional and, like Goya, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Pablo Picasso, he expresses a pessimistic and skeptical outlook. His philosophy about the human condition was revealed through his etchings, in which he employed symbols to convey his ideas – the illusions, the darkness of the unconscious, the violence and vanity of life. He differed from Goya and Picasso in his more moderate ironic attitude, and in his sense of humor and humanity. One of his favorite subjects was the woman through whom he portrays general human characteristics. In one of several drypoints titled "Monkey" (1970) he drew the profile of a woman whose backside is an untamed monkey in an open cage. Animals are another important subject in his work, forming part of his personal world of imagination.

Moreh used classical metaphors to indicate his philosophical research about the nature of reality. One of his famous metaphors is the mask – the mask of reality. For his masks he used directly the portraits of his earlier works. A Renaissance spirit is evident in his etchings. Moreh held a large number of one-man shows and his work was exhibited at the Israel prints exhibition held in 1961 at the Boston Public Library and at the fourth Biennale of Paris-Israel Prints in 1968. His work is displayed in many museums and private collections in Israel and abroad.


M. Moreh, Radierungen 1960–1972, Heidelberg Kurpfaelzisches Museum (March–Apr., 1972).

[Judith Spitzer]

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