ILLINOIS HISTORICAL ART PROJECT
DAVID BEKKER (BEN MENACHEM) was born in Vilna, Poland, on May 1, 1897, and studied at the Antokolsky Art School in Russia the Pann Free Academy and the Bezalel Art Academy in Palestine and the Academy of Fine Arts in Denver. His outstanding teachers were Boris Schatz and Abel Fann. He has painted and carved abroad in Russia, Turkey, Palestine, Egypt, Bulgaria, Roumania, Germany and France. In this country he has painted and carved in the East, the Middle West and the Far West. He is n member of "Around The Palette" of Chicago and has exhibited in Chicago, Denver and Pueblo. Abroad he has exhibited in Roumania and in Palestine. Prizes have been awarded him in Colorado and in Palestine, and he is represented in private and public collections in Chicago, Boston, Bucharest and Jerusalem. He has had published an album of "lino" cuts with an introduction by J. Z. Jacobson. His work has been written about in Chicago and Detroit newspapers.
As a son of the Jewish people, who from time immemorial have sought the spiritual and the ironic, the ironic and mystic and poetic in the soul, I am inclined to project myself into dreams of the remote. Realism and intellectualism are, therefore, for me inadequate. I feel that any observer in seeing a painting, sees it through the emotion which it evokes. No matter how masterly a canvas may be, it seems to me that one will always subconsciously look in it for the lyric element or song, so to speak, of the objects depicted. To me, the object is synonymous with the emotion which it arouses. By means of color, I find it possible to express on canvas emotions of joy and sorrow and human feeling in general which life implants in me. As a descendant of the persecuted Jewish people, branded with a yellow badge of humiliation and rendered impervious to the onslaughts of an antagonistic world by a soul which has never surrendered, I feel impelled to give form in my work to pathos, sorrow, strife and triumphant joy. Aside from that, however, French art of recent times and of today is very close to my heart. I have studied Matisse for his lightness of spirit and gracefulness of line. Also, I am happy to follow humbly in the footsteps of the great masters, Cezanne and Van Gogh.
David Bekker (Ben Menachem).