Yochanan Simon was born in 1905 in Berlin, Germany. He studied art at the University of Berlin, and in 1926 enrolled at the Frankfurt Academy of Art on the Main River, where he studied painting with Max Beckmann and drawing with Peter Rasmussen, who influenced him greatly. In 1928 he moved to France, where he befriended the French painter Andre Daren, the co-founder of Fauvism, who greatly influenced his painting style.
In 1931 he attended the Ecole Des Beaux-arts, and worked as the artistic and graphic editor of the weekly cartoon “W.” In 1934 he was sent by the magazine to help set up a branch of “Vogue” in New York, where he worked with the artist Diego Riviera on his huge mural in Rockefeller Center.
imon came in 1936 to Israel and joined Kibbutz Gan Shmuel, where he worked as a manual laborer. Only after several years, the kibbutz permitted him one day a week for painting. He was active in the painters and sculptors organization of the national kibbutz and later was appointed the graphic editor of the newspaper “Al Hamishmar”. Between the years 1957-1948, Simon was part of the “New Horizons” group. In 1952 he was one of the founders of the Art Institute at the Oranim Seminary in Kiryat Tivon. In 1953 he left the kibbutz and moved to Tel Aviv, where he opened a painting studio and in 1962 he moved to Herzliya while at the same time had a painting studio in the artists’ village of Ein Hod.
Simon’s works are characterized by influences of French avant-garde art and socialist art. In these works, images related to the life of the kibbutz and the state appeared in a symbolic style. Among his well-known works are “Youth in the Kibbutz” (1955), “Shabbat in the Kibbutz” (1957) and posters he created for the kibbutz movement. In addition to his paintings, he has created a number of murals for Israeli ships, public buildings and hotels, including the Bank of Israel’s offices in New York and a hotel in Ivory Coast.
Simon died in 1976.
1926 Art School in Frankfurt,Germany, Painting with Max Beckmann, and Drawing with Peter Rasmusen,
Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, Germany
1928 Andree Deren, Fauvism in Paris, France
1931-34 École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France
Awards And Prizes
1938 Dizengoff Prize for Painting and Sculpture
1946 Dizengoff Prize for Painting and Sculpture
1966 Gold Medal for Group Exhibition at an international exhibition for women, Vichy, France
1951 Congress of Jewish Culture Prize, New York City
1952 Dizengoff Prize for Painting and Sculpture
1956 Israel Olympic Committee Prize
1958 Ramat Gan Sculpture Prize
1960 The Histadrut Prize
1961 Dizengoff Prize for Painting and Sculpture, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa