Lived: October 15, 1898 – November 28, 1980
Why you should know him: An Israeli artist, Gutman worked in many different media, including painting, sculpture, and children’s literature.
Born to a Jewish family in the Russian Empire, Nachum Gutman was influenced in his love of art, literature, and Judaism from a young age, as his father was a Hebrew writer and teacher. Gutman’s family made aliyah (immigrated to the Holy Land) in 1905 when he was still young. Studying in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Gutman then studied art in Vienna, Berlin, and Paris as a young man.
After heading back to the Holy Land, Gutman pioneered a distinctly Israeli style of art. Using many different media — including oils, watercolors, and ink — Gutman moved away from the European style he had learned as a student.
Many of his bright sculptures and mosaics still decorate public spaces in Tel Aviv, including the fountain above. The three Bible stories depicted on the fountain are accompanied by verses from Jonah 1:3, 2 Chronicles 2:16, and Jeremiah 31:4, which says “I will build you up again, and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt. Again you will take up your timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful.”
Gutman’s beautiful and vibrant art surely brought joy to his homeland, Israel, and continues to provide color and life to the Holy Land, be it his sculptures, his paintings, or even his children’s books, for which he received both the Hans Christian Andersen Literary Prize, as well as the Israel Prize.Tags: Israelis You Should Know