The Group of Ten and other things

In 1951 ten students from the school, myself included, ventured out to have their first exhibition. It was titled The Group of Ten exhibition. Nine years later we held another exhibition under the same title. At the time we did not consider ourselves a movement. In November 1992, however, an exhibition under the same title opened in the Museum of Israeli Art in Ramat Gan that said that what we were doing forty years earlier had become part of the art history of Israel.

I went on doing drawings and woodcut prints. My first one-man show was in 1953, in Katz gallery in Tel-Aviv. I had five more one-man shows including one in the Gammel Strand Galerie in Copenhagen, and participated in a few group shows including one in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.

In 1957, an album of my drawings was published, with a preface by Marcel Janco, one of the founders of Dada. Some years later, however, when Janco discovered that I was also a journalist he said to me: “If I knew that you also write, I would have never written what I wrote. A painter should do only one thing, paint."

Although I sold some drawings and prints, I never looked on art as my main source of income. I personally knew most of the artists in Israel and I knew that those who relied on art to make a living lived in poverty. David Hendler, for example, was one of the best painters and draughtsmen in the country at that time; he won prizes and was highly regarded by other painters as well as the critics. One day rumours were circulating that Hendler was selling water coloured drawings made quickly on the hoof by knocking on doors in housing estates in the suburbs of Tel Aviv and offering them for five pounds a piece. A reputable gallery in Dizengoff Street tried to stop him. They promised to pay him a yearly sum enough to live on in exchange for three pictures a year, if he stopped this peddling. Hendler turned their offer down. One day I met him and asked why. He said that he was fed up living on the mercy of dealers and institutions which have the grand manners of charities. “I prefer to knock on a door, offer a picture for five pounds and when they buy it they even say thank you."