1992 - 1896
Ardon, born under the name Mordechai Eliezer Bronstein in Galicia (an area now belonging to Poland), began painting at a very early age. At the age of 6, Mordechai decided to remain silent, and a rabbi to whom the worried parents turned said that the child has a rich inner world so there is no reason to worry. As a substitute speech Mordechai turned to painting, and at the age of 13 a professional painter discovered his talent and hired him to decorate the local synagogue. Already at the age of 13, Ardon left home (since his father refused to allow him to engage in painting) and made a living from a variety of different and strange jobs while continuing to paint. At the same time he tried acting, and even won praises, but realized that his low stature - only 1.56 - would greatly reduce his playing career while the paintings cannot be stopped. At the age of 25, Mordechai Eliezer Bronstein was admitted to the famous Bauhaus school (which operated in the town of Weimar, Germany), and began a 5-year period that he often described as the most exciting in his life. In addition to studying with some of the greatest painters of the time such as Johannes Ethan and Vasily Kandinsky, Mordechai was fortunate to rent a room in the house where lived the famous painter Paul Kala (who also taught at the Bauhaus school). The two became friends and Ardon was greatly influenced by the Swiss painter who was mostly known with the surrealist style. Ardon's painting career began to soar and at the same time he also taught at a school opened by Johannes Eitan, but after immigrating to Israel (in 1933) he began working as a beekeeper at Kibbutz Kiryat Anavim and put aside his extraordinary painting talent. At the same time such a huge talent was meant to materialize and soon Mordechai Ardon returned to painting as well as teaching (and in addition adopted the family name "Ardon" after the biblical figure). Between the years 1940-1952 he was also the director of the Bezalel Academy of Art. Ardon's work was greatly influenced by the difficulty and cruelty that were part of the 20th century. Ardon was one of the first to permeate the Holocaust into his works, believing that "paintings must grow out of human drama," and indeed Ardon's paintings are filled with drama and have both hidden and overt meaning. After World War II, Ardon's paintings began to be displayed in highly regarded spaces around the world. In Israel, the painter was highly regarded, culminating in the fact that he was chosen to receive the Israel Prize for Painting. At the same time, Mordechai Ardon also experienced enormous frustration due to the constant criticism aimed at him, as a teacher and painter. In particular, Ardon confronted members of the Tel Aviv school such as Rafi Lavi (who studied with Aviva Uri) and Steimatzky and Zaritzky, and suffered insults due to "exile style" Ardon left Israel in 1962, and spent the last 30 years of his life in Paris, where he continued to paint and gain worldwide acclaim. In 2014, his work "Awakening" sold for 821,000 dollars, a record price for an Israeli artist at auction. His other paintings are on display at the Museum of Modern Art In New York, the Palace of the Arts in Brussels, and the Tate in London and other leading art institutions.