1895 - 1984
Marcel Janco born in Bucharest, Romania in 1895, his life history can be divided into two main chapters: 46 years in Europe and 43 years in Israel. His artistic talent became apparent early on. He learned the foundations of classical art from his teacher Josef Isser who would continue to influence his work throughout his life. Janco started "Simbolul" and "Chemarea", literary journals in which his drawings were first published. At the age of 20, Janco went to Zurich to study architecture at the Federal Institute of Technology and joined a group of young artists performing at the Cabaret Voltaire as part of the avant-garde Dada movement. Janco played an active role in the entire group’s activities, curated exhibitions, issued manifestos, and published a journal. Janco himself designed the masks they wore in their performances and participated in the shows. During this period, Janco also belonged to "New Life", a group that organized artistic and intellectual activities. In 1922, after a brief stay in Paris, Janco returned to Romania and his paintings were now mostly of local landscapes, peasants, interiors and classical subjects which he depicted in a modernist style. His work displayed cubist elements along with dark coloration, particularly browns and grays, and he was involved with several other groups of Romanian artists who were similarly striving to promote the principles of modernism. Despite his professional success in the country of his birth, in 1940, at the start of World War II, Janco decided to move with his family to Israel. Once here, both his style of painting and his architectural work underwent a striking change, with the Mediterranean light finding its way into his palette. He carried with him a sketchbook in which he recorded what he saw, and then reproduced the scenes in vivid colors on his return to the studio. His paintings from this period depict the landscapes and people of the country, as well as its heroic struggle for independence. In 1948 Janco was one of the founding fathers of the movement "Ofakim Hadashim" (New Horizons) alongside artists such as Yehezkel Streichman and Joseph Zaritsky. In 1953 Janco wanted to find a way to restore the Arab village Ein Hod and convinced artists and sculptors to move there. He himself joined the first group of settlers in Ein Hod. Janco was part of the art school "Studia" and later he taught in a variety of institutions, as well as in courses conducted in Ein Hod. In the last twenty years of Janco's life he actively promoted the village of Ein Hod, as well as writing articles about a range of subjects that drew his interest and in 1967 he received the Israel Prize for his work. His last works display an absolute return to abstract and geometric shapes.