Reuven Rubin (1893-1974), an Israeli painter and the first Israeli envoy to Romania, was born Rubin Zelicovici in Galaţi, Romania.
In 1912 he came to Israel in order to study art at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Finding himself at odds with the artistic views of the Academy’s teachers, he left for Paris, in 1913, to pursue his studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. At the outbreak of World War I, he was returned to Romania, where he spent the war years.
In 1923, Rubin immigrated to Israel, where he became one of the founders of the new Eretz-Yisrael style.
Recurring themes in his work were the biblical landscape, folklore and people, including Yemenite, Hasidic Jews and Arabs. Many of his paintings are sun-bathed depictions of Jerusalem and the Galilee. Rubin might have been influenced by the work of Henri Rousseau whose style combined with Eastern nuances, as well as with the neo-Byzantine art to which Rubin had been exposed in his native Romania. In accordance with his integrative style, he signed his works with his first name in Hebrew and his surname in English letters.
In 1924, he was the first artist to hold a solo exhibition at the Tower of David in Jerusalem. That year he was elected chairman of the Association of Painters and Sculptors.
Between the years 1948 to 1952 was appointed the first envoy to Romania. After his death house became the “Rubin House” Museum where all his works are shown.
1912 Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts, Jerusalem
1913-14 École des Beaux Arts, Paris and Académie Colarossi, Paris
Awards And Prizes
1926 Lord Plumer Prize
1945 Honorary Doctorate of Hebrew Letters, Jewish Institute of Religion, New York
1964 Dizengoff Prize for Painting and Sculpture, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa
1971 “Artist of the year” award, University of Judaism, Los Angeles
1973 Israel Prize for Painting