27 May 2017

Nahum Gutman Museum ~ מוזיאון נחום גוטמן

I have been so impressed with the museums and art galleries that I have visited here in Tel Aviv.  I would like to try and see more of them in our last three months here.  This week I went to the Nahum Gutman Museum which is located in the quiet, leafy suburb of Neve Tzedek in a residential street.  On the day that I went, there were just two other people there so it felt as if I was at a private viewing.  I hope by writing about it here in my blog that more people will take the time to visit this beautiful, tranquil exhibition space and see for themselves the splendid treasure trove of works of art by Nahum Gutman, who is one of the most eminent and respected of all Israeli painters, sculptors and authors.
Nachum Gutman (as he himself signed; alternate romanisation: Nahum Gutman; Hebrew:  נחום גוטמן‎‎: October 15, 1898 – November 28, 1980) was an Israeli painter, sculptor and author.

Nachum Gutman was born in Telenesti, Bessarabia Governorate then a part of the Russian Empire (now in the Republic of Moldova). He was the fourth child of Sim[c]ha Alter and Rivka Gutman. His father was a Hebrew writer and educator who wrote under the pen name S. Ben Zion. In 1903, the family moved to Odessa, and two years later, to Ottoman Palestine. In 1908, Gutman attended the Herzliya Gymnasium in what would later become Tel Aviv. In 1912, he studied at the Bezalel School in Jerusalem. In 1920–26, he studied art in Vienna, Berlin and Paris.  Gutman was married to Dora, with whom he had a son. After Gutman's death in 1980, Dora asked two Tel Aviv gallery owners, Meir Stern of Stern Gallery and Miriam Tawin of Shulamit Gallery, to appraise the value all of the works left in his estate.

Gutman helped pioneer a distinctively Israeli style, moving away from the European influences of his teachers. He worked in many different  media oils, watercolours, gouache and pen and ink.  His sculptures and brightly colored mosaics can be seen in public places around Tel Aviv. Indoor murals depicting the history of Tel Aviv can be seen in the western wing of the Shalom Tower and the Chief Rabbinate building.  A mosaic fountain with scenes from the early days of Tel Aviv and biblical stories connected to Jaffa (inscribed with 3 Bible verses: Jeremiah 31:4, 2 Chronicles 2:16, Jonah 1:3), stood for 32 years at the end of Bialik Street, opposite the old Tel Aviv municipality building.   In 2012, this mosaic fountain was reinstalled at the southern end of Rothschild Boulevard.  Gutman's artistic style was eclectic, ranging from figurative to abstract. Gutman was also a well-known writer and illustrator of children's books.

Here are a selection of photographs I took on the day that I visited the gallery.

Nahum Gutman The Pink House, 1930 Oil on canvas  Courtesy of Alshech family collection

Nahum Gutman Roses, a picture within a picture, 1933 Oil on canvas Nahum Gutman Museum of Art Collection

Nahum Gutman The person who read of Lobengulu King of Zulu, 1960 Ink and felt-tip pen on paper Nahum Gutman Museum of Art Collection

Nahum Gutman Dora with Hemi on her lap, 1937 Oil on canvas Nahum Gutman Museum of Art Collection

A photograph of the artist Nahum Gutman working in his studio

The Nahum Gutman Museum is located in Shim'on Rokah Street 21, Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
 שמעון רוקח 21, נווה צדק, תל אביב - יפו
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