Jacob and the Angel; Oil on Canvas, 121×101 cm

Leo Roth

Leo Roth was born in 1914 in Tismenitza, Galicia, to a family of wealthy Zionist merchants. In 1930 he immigrated with his family to Germany. Due to the rise of anti-Semitism he was forced to quit his studies, and at the age of 16 he began working as an apprentice of a display-window designer. Simultaneously, he studied painting with Joseph Doppelfeld. In 1933 he immigrated to Palestine and joined the Hashomer Hatzair Movement. At first, he settled in Tel Aviv and later joined kibbutz Afikim, where he lived for the rest of his life. During his first years in the kibbutz he worked as a shepherd, though later he also worked as a painter and even received his own atelier. He became a member of the Kibbutz Artists Association, and In 1953 he established a painting school in the kibbutz. In 1959 he received the Emek Hayarden Painting Award.


His works portray the life transition of the first settlers – from life at the Jewish “shtetles” to becoming pioneers in the kibbutzim. Some of his works bear influences of Mark Chagall, the German Expressionist movement and even Cubism. Roth exhibited his works in Israel and worldwide. At the age of 88, in 2002, he passed away, Menashe Kadishman composed the inscription on his grave, it says: “He Hid in the Kibbutz and Painted”.