Pinchas Litvinovsky

Pinchas Litvinovsky (1894-1985)

Litvinovsky arrived in Palestine in 1919 on one of the first ships to arrive after the war. He is one of the most important artists to work in Palestine prior to the 1932 wave of immigration. A forceful character, he developed into one of the most powerful painters entirely on his own initiative. Unlike the European artists of the period, Litvinovsky colors are strong and intensive yet with quiet harmony. Thus, Ha’aretz writer, Dr. Gamzu, wrote at the time: “We are bold to say that Litvinovsky is the best colorist of the Eretz Israel painters.”

Portrait painting became Litvinovsky’s public hallmark from a fairly early stage. He painted portraits of numerous public personages and even got a commission for a portrait of U.S President Kennedy. This portrait of a Bukharin woman is made with free brushstrokes in an expressionist manner. There are only small hints to the figure’s face and it is surrounded by intense red of the scarf. Litvinovsky creates a silent dialogue of forms and colors that fascinates the viewer to the women sitting before him. The thick monochromatic background and angular lines seem to quote Cezanne whom Litvinovsky admired.