Anatoly Kaplan: The Enchanted Artist
For the first time in Israel, a retrospective exhibition of one of the greatest Soviet Jewish artists of the 20th century.
Anatoly (Tanhum) Kaplan was born in 1902 in the town of Rahachow[Rogachov] in the Russian Empire (now in Belarus) and died in 1980 in Leningrad (Saint Petersburg). He was the only artist in the Soviet Union to put Jewish culture at the forefront of his work and to be recognized by the Soviet regime despite that. In Kaplan’s works the daily scenes from the shtetl (Jewish small town) and the stories of the great Yiddish writers, such as Sholem Aleichem and Mendele Moykher-Sforim, came to life.
Under the radar of the censors, Kaplan even managed to encrypt in his works a social critique of life behind the Iron Curtain, and of the social and political challenges faced by contemporary Jews. Kaplan worked consistently even as political and hysterical upheavals occurred around him; he did not stop creating even when the city of Leningrad was under siege, and his beloved hometown was captured and destroyed. He remained engrossed in a continuous search for new ways to describe and create the story of his childhood, which he refused to let fade away.
Although Kaplan was not allowed to leave the Soviet Union, his works travelled around the world, making him an internationally renowned artist. But in Israel, Kaplan remains an almost unfamaliar name, known only to the Kabbalists. The exhibition at Beit Avi Chai, the first of its kind in Israel, reveals to the public a significant portion of Kaplan’s extensive oeuvre – over a hundred works, including series of prints, ceramics, oil paintings, engravings, and rare books. These works can be viewed at the Beit Avi Chai Gallery (admission is free with advance registration), in the printed catalogue offered for sale on the website, and in the digital exhibition, which includes an in-depth virtual guide.
Curators: David Rozenson and Amichai Chasson
Production: Eyal Lavit and Cathy Trifonov
Beit Avi Chai Gallery
Exhibition Dates: January 22 – December 31, 2023
Sunday – Thursday: 10am to 6pm
Monday's: 10am to 10pm
Friday's: 9am to 1pm
You are invited to wander through the virtual exhibition, which brings together works from all periods of Kaplan's life, including rare pieces that can only be found here, on the exhibition website. During the virtual stroll, you can dive into 13 different series of works characterized by their diverse themes, raw materials and styles, including stone prints (lithography), ceramics, paintings in color and engravings. Many of the series offer a visual interpretation of texts from the Jewish corpus - from the Song of Songs, through Had Gadya
Inspired by Kaplan
Six Contemporary Israeli Artists
Anatoly Kaplan’s unique artistic technique and the scintillating energy of his works motivated Beit Avi Chai to pilot an experiential study program for contemporary Israeli artists. Six select Israeli artists participated in a three-month residency during which they were introduced to the historic setting of the Soviet Union and its attitude toward Jewish art and artists, explored Anatoly Kaplan’s artistic style, and studied the technique of lithography at the Jerusalem Print Workshop. The residency culminated in the creation of their own artworks based on the learning process and the spirit of Anatoly Kaplan’s art.
As an expansion of our exhibit, Beit Avi Chai is proud to present the works of the artists who took part in the residency:
Raya Bruckenthal, Oryan Galster, Menahem Halberstadt,
Guy Nissanhaus, Pearl Schneider, and Porat Salomon
Working on stone slabs, each of the artists chose a different theme that reflects their own unique artistic style. Hailing from different artistic mediums – drawing, installation, video art, classic and digital painting – they all immersed themselves in the depth of Kaplan’s works and the multilayered meaning of his art, creating a variety of very personal connections to their artistic practice and generating a living conversation with an artist who is no longer with us.
The Exhibition "Anatoly Kaplan: The Enchanted Artist
Curators: Dr. David Rozenson, Amichai Chasson
Exhibition Design: Lisa Blechman
Graphic Design: Sonja Olitsky
Production: Cathy Trifonov, Eyal Levit
Design and Advertising: Sharon Gini
Curator: Oryan Galster
Content Management: Hadas Sabato
Production: Tali Bass
Jerusalem Printing Workshop
Director: Arik Kilemnik
Print Maker: Ran Segal
Curator: Merav Hamburger