Benjamin Shiff

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Benjamin Shiff
Benjamin Shiff
1931, Cologne, Germany
2011, Israel
Judaica artist & writer
an Israeli poet, writer and artist in the realist-cubist style

Benjamin Shiff developed his talents later in life and went on to become a well-known and respected Israeli writer and artist. He died in 2011.


[edit] Background

Benjamin Shiff was born in 1931 in Cologne, Germany and he and his parents moved to Israel after Hitler came to power in 1933. He was brought up in Haifa and as a young man Benjamin joined the Palmach and fought in the battle for Jerusalem during the War of Independence for the State of Israel.

[edit] Art & Poetry

Schiff did not begin to explore his creativity seriously until he turned 40. Not only did he immerse himself in art, but he also explored music, poetry, philosophy and Jewish thought. Artistically Benjamin Schiff was initially drawn to the Surrealists, especially the work of Rene Magritte. Later on he honed his skills by learning the methods of the Old Masters, especially studying their use of the tempera technique and oils. Schiff went to Austria to further his studies, and held his first exhibition in Bonn, Germany, in 1976. Poetically, Schiff was a member of The Hebrew Writers Association in Israel, and during his life wrote three books of poetry and two books of short stories. Benjamin Schiff’s art work also illustrated the covers of various books by other writers.

[edit] Style

Benjamin Schiff developed his own unique style, which was a combination of realism and cubism, with a touch of pathos in many of his pictures. Schiff used to refer to himself as the ‘sad optimist’ and his work falls into three main themes:- Jewish figures, especially Hassidic life and faith; music , often illustrated by people playing instruments; and women, especially mothers and their love. Schiff also painted the landscape of Jerusalem, in addition to self-portraits.

[edit] Exhibitions

After his first exhibition in 1976, Benjamin Schiff continued to exhibit his work regularly in Germany and Israel, and later went on to exhibit other parts of Europe as well as the United States and Canada.

[edit] Legacy

Benjamin Schiff not only produced evocative paintings but also limited edition prints, which are available online. His work is displayed in private and public collections including those of the Foreign Affairs offices in Jerusalem, the Bratislava Jewish Cultural Museum and the Presidential Palace collection of Slovakia. Benjamin Schiff’s poetry and short stories are also still available in Hebrew. Benjamin Schiff died in 2011.

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