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MEIR AXELROD
(1902 - 1970)
MEIR AXELROD (1902 - 1970)
JOURNEY THROUGH A LOST WORLD
ABOUT MEIR AXELROD
The work of Meir Axelrod provides a uniquely comprehensive and sensitive view of the life of Russian Jews from the 1920s to the end of the 1960s. Born in a Byelorussian Jewish settlement, a survivor of pogroms, forced to leave his home together with his family during the World War I, a student and later a teacher at the famous Vkhutemas and member of the "4-Arts" Society, he exhibited his work throughout the world. Subjected to criticism, abuse, and neglected during the years of triumphant socialist realism, Axelrod remained faithful to his main theme – Jewish life, Jewish spirituality: in portraits, genre studies, Yiddish theater design, illustrations for Jewish classics and in compositions on the Holocaust theme, the thought of which haunted him all his life.

Meir Axelrod was a very talented artist, but the conditions of creation and the orientation of art in the Soviet Russia did not contribute to the recognition of his work in the west. His deep roots in Judaism influenced his artistic creation – it was a natural step for Mayanot Gallery to present Axelrod's works on Russian Jewish life in the early 20th century.

Chronology
1902 Born July 18, Molodechno, Byelorussia.
1921-28 Studied at VKHUTEMAS (Higher Art Technical Workshops Moscow), joined Four Arts Society.
1928-32 Taught drawing at VKHUTEMAS and Moscow Textile Institute.
1930-31 Traveled to the Jewish agricultural commune “Voyo Novo” (New Way) in the Crimea.
1932-40 Joined the Moscow Union of Artists. Designed sets and costumes for GOSET (State Jewish Theatre) in Moscow, Minsk and Kiev.
1941-44 Evacuated to Alma-Ata. Created the “German Occupation” series, landscapes, and portraits. Designed sets for Sholom-Aleichem’s “Enchanted Tailor” for the Ukrainian GOSET.
1944-64 Returned to Moscow. Worked on illustrations, landscapes and portraits.
1964-69 Created the “Ghetto” series. Portraits of writers, artists and actors.
1966 Participated in a group exhibition in Moscow (Axelrod, Gorshman, and Labas).
1968 Created “Remembering Old Minsk” series.
1970 Died in Moscow on January 10th.
   

Posthumous One-Person Exhibitions
1972-82  Retrospective exhibition in museums in Moscow, Leningrad, Tbilisi, Smolensk.
1989  Exhibition at the Jerusalem Artists’ House
1995  Exhibition at the Yad Vashem Museum, Jerusalem
1997 Exhibition at the Mayanot Gallery, Jerusalem; Exhibition at Hebrew Museum, Westphalia.
1998  Exhibition at the Museum of Russian Art, Ramat Gan
1998  Jewish Museum, Dorsten, Germany.
1999  Museum of Russian Art, Ramat-Gan, Israel
2000  Museum Ein-Harod, Israel
2001  Ben Ury Art gallery, London
2002  Solyanka Art gallery, Moscow, Russia
2005  Meir Axelrod Theater Designs, The Israel Goor Theater Archive and Museum Jerusalem
2005 By The Shores of Black Sea, Jewish Farmers in the USSR, 1922-1941, Museum of Jewish Diaspora, Ramat Aviv, Israel

An exhibition was held at Mayanot Gallery in 1997 and a catalogue was published.




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