Yohanan Simon | “Today I am writing to you for no particular reason” [1] | Collection +

Curator: Uzi Agassi
May 13 - Aug. 5, 2017

Yohanan Simon (1905–1975) is known and admired as one of Israel’s ideological Realist painters, who were fully committed to the socialist collective idea. He was one of the leading proponents of iconic portrayals of the kibbutz as an ideal lifestyle. This exhibition shows an entirely different aspect of his character: intimate, fun-loving, highly affectionate, somewhat playful, and above all, individualist.[2] As explained by one of his daughters, Aya Simon Ben-Sedef, who conceived the idea of the exhibition, “After seventeen years of membership of Kibbutz Gan-Shmuel, as he approached the age of fifty, my father, the painter Yohanan Simon, left the kibbutz, my mother, Sarah, and us girls – Nitza and Aya – and took off to see the world. During his travels, he sent me and my sister Nitza a series of illustrated letters. I collected them.”[3] In his letters and postcards, Simon depicts himself as a slim, dark man, with black hair and a very large nose. Some of the illustrations feature only the body in thin lines and the head with the large nose.

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