The Artist

After graduating from the Academy with honors, Ginzburg set out on his own, sharing a flat and studio with two of his classmates in the cosmopolitan Mediterranean city of Tel-Aviv. Ginzburg enjoyed his new-found freedom, yet he was all too naive. He knew his calling in the world was to be an artist and fully expected to succeed just as he had at the Academy. To his discontent, success was far from reality.

Israel is a very small country and in those days times were tough, both culturally and economically. Being an artist was not the most profitable profession. In fact, it did not even put bread on the table. He and his colleagues were truly starving artists. After being on their own for only a few short months, deprived of even their most basic needs, they soon realized they were going to need help.

One day Ginzburg read about the famous Israeli philanthropist Abie Nathan. At that time, Mr. Nathan was a champion of liberal causes, a restaurateur, a collector of fine art and a gallery owner. Swallowing his pride, he decided to call Mr. Nathan suggesting that they trade art for a meal. In response to Ginzburg’s plea, Mr. Nathan agreed to feed him and his two colleagues at his famed artsy California Restaurant in Tel-Aviv, but under no circumstances would he accept payment of any kind, including art. Ginzburg never met Abie Nathan personally during his time of need, but he never forgot his act of kindness. As fate would have it, their paths would cross again in later years.

Ginzburg was fortunate, he did not have to give up on his calling. Soon his works such as “Lot’s Daughters” and “The Tea Drinkers” caught the eyes of the critics. As Jerusalem Post critic, Reuven Berman wrote in 1968:

"It may truly be said that Yankel Ginzburg has already found his credo as an artist. Unlike other painters, being 23 years of age does not involve him in a constant struggle to breakthrough to creative crystallization.He is also different from young painters of his generation in that all their energies are still taken up in the search for a specific form of expression and a personal style of their own. This particular battle has already been won in Yankel Ginzburg's artistic development, and he has already brought into being a world of rich expression, which is very much part of his own special inner truth.His paintings indicate a clearly defined Weltanshauung of astonishing maturity revealing a yearning for godliness in beauty and for beauty that is godliness. Ginzburg's universe of form and color is a demonstration of faith in an epoch of shattered dogma and abandoned truths. Out of the yearnings and confusions of our times, Ginzburg has risen to an entirely new height of religiosity. But — and this is crystal clear from the very outset — this experience is in no way connected with any of our recognized religions.

Ginzburg's universe is in the tradition of the great Judeo-Christian heritage of faith and morality. With the difference that they are in constant — and one may say fruitful— ferment.His own perception of the Godhead as evinced in his creations, portrays a harmonious integration of color, producing a wondrous effect of majesty and magic.As a son of the Technological Age, Ginzburg utilizes the most contemporary techniques to give vent to the primary sensation of primitive man confronted by the wonders of Creation, creating religion so as to render these mysteries understandable.The Judaic and Christian elements embedded in Ginzburg's works help him create a new form of religiosity, wherein there is no contradiction between worship and science, feeling and technology. The unifying element is the purity of the aesthetic experience.”

With these words, Ginzburg’s artistic career began to soar. No longer was he a starving artist struggling to bring a bit of himself to the art world. It was clear that Ginzburg’s ladder was now firmly planted in the ground, ready to take him to new heights. The question now – how many steps to take at a time?