The name given to an important group of artists that operated in Israel between 1948 and 1963. Members of this group sought to encourage the influence that international art had on visual arts in Israel.
That is how New Horizons came into being.
The “Exhibition of Eight” took place in HaBima in late 1942. If featured the works of Arie Aroch, Aharon Giladi, Zvi Meirovich, Avraham Naton, Avigdor Steimatzky and Yehezkel Streichman.
Another exhibition was held at the Tel Aviv Museum 5 years later – the “Exhibition of Seven” – presenting the works of Aroch, Giladi, Meirovich, Naton, Streichman, Yacov Wechsler and Yossef Zaritsky.
These artists wanted to create modern art influenced by the European style and touched by an original style, rooted in Israeli reality, while striving to change the nature of local art.
A group of Israeli artists was invited to present its work at the Venice Biennale in 1948. Zaritsky, as chairman of the association at the time, selected the list of participating artists himself, afraid that the public would select “mediocre” artists. This caused a scandal and the association’s general assembly resolved to expel Zaritsky from the association. In response to allegations, several artists – including Castel, Streichman and Simon – announced their immediate retirement from the association, inviting Zaritsky to establish an independent association.
The seceding artists’ first measure was to boycott the general exhibition for Israeli artists, which inaugurated the new Artists’ Home in Tel Aviv. In November 1948, the new group staged an exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum, entitled “New Horizons”.
In 1950, the movement approved its articles and objectives: “To nurture original plastic art, while maintaining high quality and identifying with contemporary art branded by the concept of progress.”
The three most prominent artists identified with the group are Yossef Zaritsky, Yehezkel Streichman and Avigdor Steimatzky. By preferring the universal over the local, they had a great impact on all artistic activities in Israel. In the group’s first exhibition catalogue, Zaritsky explained that it aims to “introduce the public to the methods and forms of new art and to integrate within it values of truth to enable their internalization and allow for them to progress together with us”.
The group was strongly influenced by abstract European art, especially Picasso and Braque, who were pioneers of abstract art. The desire for universality led the artists to focus on art that was then considered progressive artistic avant-garde. The movement presented a local version of abstract art, which was already well developed in Europe and the U.S. Most members of the group did not achieve “pure” abstract art, but rather abstraction linked to the local landscape.
The group’s expressive style often provided a framework for art bearing various national characteristics.
The following links present pieces created by individual artists who were an important part of the group:
During the said year, painter Yossef Zaritsky, for example, created series of paintings named for settlements and kibbutzim, such as “Tel Aviv through the Window” and “1940’s Landscape”, presenting a formative abstraction of the landscape.
To view his pieces displayed at the gallery, press here.
Artist Yehezkel Streichman also used to name his pieces for urban landscapes, “Tel Aviv Landscape”, with biblical references as in his creation “David and Goliath – 1950’s” and more.
To view his pieces displayed at the gallery, press here.
Marcel Yanko participated in the 1952 Venice Biennale and organized the group as well as the creative arts group at the Ein Hod Artists’ Village. Yanko developed a figurative-expressive style in a series of famous “compositions” and marine objects. To view his pieces displayed at the gallery, press here.
To view Avigdor Steimatzky pieces displayed at the gallery, press here.