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Issachar Ryback

December 16, 2010

Kirovograd, Ukraine, 1897 – Paris, France, 1935

Issachar Ryback was a painter, a graphic, a sculptor, a scene painter, and an art critic. He was part of a high-born Chassid family but his father was an admirer of the Russian culture, and tried to foster love of this culture in his children. At the age of 11 Ryback entered the Yelisavetgrad courses for scene painters, and a few years later was admitted to the Kiev School of Arts, Faculty of Painting. He presented his paintings for the first time at the Kiev Spring Exhibition. The young painter was mostly inspired by Jewish topics but in a modernistic style. In summer 1916, Ryback was commissioned by the Jewish Historical and Ethnographic Society to travel all over Ukrainian and Byelorussian small towns and copy the paintings in wooden synagogues and carved gravestones on the Jewish cemeteries. This trip awoke Ryback´s interest in Jewish folk art and from that time on, he started regular collection and copying of the art samples. He also created a series of works dedicated to the Jewish pogroms in Ukraine – in one of such pogroms his father was murdered. Ryback finally relocated to Paris in 1926 where he immediately began to play an outstanding role in the artistic life of the French capital.

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