after Ephraim Moses Lilien (1874-1925)
size 80 x 100cm, archival pigment print
Ephraim Moses Lilien (1874–1925) was an art nouveau illustrator and printmaker particularly noted for his art on Jewish themes. He is sometimes called the “first Zionist artist.”
Ephraim Moses Lilien (Maurycy Lilien) was born in Drohobycz, Galicia in 1874. In 1889-1893 Lilien learned painting and graphic techniques at the Academy of Arts in Kraków. He studied under Polish painter Jan Matejko from 1890 to 1892.
As a member of the Zionist Movement, Lilien traveled to Ottoman Palestine several times between 1906 and 1918. He accompanied Boris Schatz to Jerusalem to help establish the Bezalel Art School.
Lilien was one of the two artists to accompany Boris Schatz to what is now Israel in 1906 for the purpose of establishing Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, and taught the school’s first class in 1906. Although his stay in the country was short-lived, he left his indelible stamp on the creation of an Eretz Israel style, placing biblical subjects in the Zionist context and oriental settings, conceived in an idealized Western design. In the first two decades of the century, Lilien’s work served as a model for the Bezalel group.
Lilien is known for his famous photographic portrait of Theodor Herzl. He often used Herzl as a model, considering his features a perfect representation of the “New Jew.” In 1896, he received an award for photography from the avantgarde magazine Jugend. Lilien illustrated several books. In 1923, an exhibition of his work opened in New York.
Lilien’s illustrated books include Juda (1900), Biblically-themes poetry by Lilien’s Christian friend, Börries Freiherr von Münchausen, and Lieder des Ghetto (Songs of the Ghetto) (1903), Yiddish poems by Morris Rosenfeld translated into German.
Lilien died in Badenweiler, Germany in 1925. A street in the Nayot neighborhood of Jerusalem is named for him.