Jesekiel Kirszenbaum Biography- Jacob Samuel

Born in Staszow in Poland, to a religious family. It is told that as a child he enjoyed painting and spent many hours doing so. When he was only twelve years old he was already known as a designer in magazines, he signed his works as Jesekiel The Artist, instead of using his real surname. 
In 1920, Kirszenbaum arrives to Berlin. He made a living by giving Hebrew lessons in order to keep painting. Following the reputation of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky in 1923 he went to Weimar in where he stayed for three trimesters. After his studying in Weimar Kirszenbaum returnes to Berlin to study in the Bauhaus School and for this period of time he made his living as a cartoonist in newspaper and signs his works with the pseudonym “Duvtivani”. His dreams where finally realized in 1933 as he arrived to Paris to become a painter. Kirszenbaum painted watercolors (Aquarelle) paintings describing biblical scenes and inspired by the “Shtetl” culture (Eastern European Jews culture). In the Second World War, Kirszenbaum managed to ascape the Nazis but unfortunately his wife was deported to a death camp, where she died.
“Since I’m living in pain and bitterness, I’m not a saint. Moreover I have no confidence in mankind or in my own existence”.
During the war his works were destroyed and none of his early works, prior to the year 1940, survived Child with a Kite. In 1948, he traveled to Brazil to reunite with his sister who escaped a concentration camp and managed to flee out of Europe. He stayed there for an uncertain amount of time and participated in several exhibitions. He was feeling melancholic nostalgic to Paris “To be made like me is to have an especially sensitive mind. There is only Paris to make the symphony of the lonely spirits disappear”.

As he returned to Paris in 1949 Kirszenbaum received his French nationality. In the same year he met the baroness Alix de Rotschild who was gifted with artistic sensitivity, she appreciated his painting and decided to help Kirszenbaum. She ordered from him a triptych painting, describing the prophets Moses, Jeremiah and Elias. This work was called “Ange Bienfaiteur” (Benefactors). Kirszenbaum illustrated the books of I. L. Peretz, an important Yiddish writer, whose stories revealed the essence of the Hassidic movement. Between the years 1950-1952, Kirszenbaum traveled a lot and spent some time in Italy and in Morocco. He died in 1954, when he was only 54 years old due to the cancer disease he suffered from.


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