Burgas, Bulgaria August 14, 1935 – Israel, January 14, 1990
Avraham Ofek was an Israeli sculptor, muralist, painter and printmaker. Born in Burgas, Bulgaria, he immigrated to Israel in 1949, where he lived in Ein Hamifratz, a kibbutz near Haifa. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, as well as in Spain and in London, and later taught art in Jerusalem at the Bezalel Academy before being appointed head of the Art Department at the University of Haifa. He was one of the founders of the Levitan group of artists, and he exhibited internationally, receiving many prizes and representing Israel at the Venice Biennale in 1972.
Avraham Ofek’s early paintings contained portrayals of landscape that were at once lyrical and rugged; later in his career, most depictions of the landscape appeared as undefined and receded into the background. Near the end of his life, however, the actual landscape of Jerusalem returned to assume an important role in Ofek’s work, this time embodied in images that reflect the loss and despair that engulfed the artist. Many of Ofek’s landscapes are laden with a sense of alienation and solitude, as well as nostalgia for the city of his birth, Sofia.
His murals can be seen across Israel, notably at Kfar Uria and the Central Post Office Building (Jerusalem). His sculpture “The Binding of Isaac” is on view at the entrance to Safra Square.
In 1989 the Jerusalem Print Workshop issued a collection of reproductions of his prints edited by Uri Katz, with commentary in Hebrew and English.
- Painting under Arie Rothman
- 1958-1960 Academy of Fine Arts, Florence
- 1961 Study Tour to Seville and Madrid, Spain, and London
- 1969 Study Tour to Europe and U.S.A.
- 1965-1975 Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem
- 1975 Head of the Art Department, Television, Jerusalem
- 1978-1981 Art Department, Haifa University
- 1984-1990 Professor, Art Department, Haifa University
- 1959 – America-Israel Cultural Foundation
- 1969 – Jerusalem Prize for painting and Sculpture
- 1990 – Ish-Shalom Prize for Life’s Work in Art.
Outdoor and Public Art
- 1970 Mural, Beit Haam, Kfar Uria
- 1972 Mural, Central Post Office, Jerusalem
- 1973 Mural, Agron School, Jerusalem
- 1974 “Mountains round about Jerusalem”, Mural, Stone School, Jerusalem
- 1976 “Return to Zion” Mural, Tel Aviv University Library, Tel Aviv
- 1982 Hailek Ben Shachar, stone sculpture, Gan Harakevet, Arlozorof Street, Tel Aviv-Yaffo
- 1986 Binding of Isaac, Safra Square, Jerusalem
- 1986 Homage to Asher, 1966 stone sculpture, Tefen Open University, Tefen
- 1986-1987 Israel, a shattered dream, Mural, Haifa University, Haifa
- 1987 Stone sculpture, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel
- 2000 “סלע קיומנו” or Binding of Isaac (1986), stone sculpture, Gan Daniel,Safra Square, Jerusalem (originally exhibited in Herzelia)
- Table for Two. Avraham Ofek and Micha Ullman, The Ticho House, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2000
- Landscape of Longing: Avraham Ofek’s Early and Late Works, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2007
- Family Traces, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2009