Alexander Bogen

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Alexander Bogen
Portrait of Alexander Bogen.jpg
Alexander Bogen
Born Alexander Katzenbogen
January 24, 1916
Tartu, Estonia
Died October 20, 2010(2010-10-20) (aged 94)
Tel Aviv, Israel
Nationality Polish-Israeli
Education Wilno University
Academie des Beaux Arts
Known for Painting, Sculpture, Book Illustration and for being a partisan through the Holocaust
Notable work Apocalipse
Movement Social Realism, Lyrical Abstraction, Abstract Expressionism, Tachisme[1]

Alexander Bogen (Hebrew: אלכסנדר בוגן‎; born January 24, 1916 – October 20, 2010) was a Polish-Israeli artist, painter, sculptor, stage designer, book illustrator and a commander partisan during World War II.


Alexander Bogen was born in Tartu, Estonia[2] and brought up in Wilno. As a young boy he adhered to the values of the Yiddish culture of Yung Vilne, as well as to the modern Polish culture. After completing his studies at the gymnasium, he was accepted to the Stefan Batory art academy affiliated with the Wilno University, where he studied painting and sculpture. His parents were physicians. His father came from a secular family and his mother was the daughter of Rabbi Tuvia Lobitzki, the rabbi of Wołkowysk;, Poland. His studies were interrupted by World War II.[3] Bogen joined the partisans and became a commander of the partisan unit in the Narocz Forests.[4] He buried many of the drawings he made at this time near Lake Narocz.[5] He returned to the ghetto in September 1943 and helped to facilitate the rescue of members of the United Partisan Organization (FPO), a Jewish underground movement active in the ghetto.[6]

After the war Bogen returned to his studies, finished his academic degree and was mastered as an artist of monumental painting at the USB Academy of Art in Vilna. In 1947, he taught as a professor at The Academy of Fine Arts In Łódź and became a well-known artist, set designer and book illustrator.[7]

In 1951, Bogen and his wife immigrated to Israel and settled in Tel Aviv.[8]

During his time in Israel, Bogen continued his cultural and educational activities in the arts. In 1957 he initiated the art program in Ironi Yud-Dalet highschool in Tel Aviv and lead it for 22 years. Bogen completed his academic studies of art at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and was an art lecturer in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Bogen continued painting, drawing and sculpting until his death at the age of 94 in Tel Aviv on October 20, 2010.

Resistance through Art

Bogen continued to draw during the war, documenting what he saw: "We saw abandoned children. We saw people being led to the slaughter. I did not lay down my pencil for a moment. An artist condemned to death portraying people condemned to extermination...I sketched the forest, my brothers-in-arms, the battle itself. There was no table. There were no paints. There was no paper. I found packing paper. I burnt dry branches and prepared charcoal for my sketches. I asked myself why I was drawing, when I was fighting day and night… This is something similar to biological continuation. Every man, every people, is interested in continuing his people, his family, in bringing children into the world for the future – in leaving this one thing. Another motivation was to get information to the so-called free world……and to be creative in the situation of the Holocaust, this is also a protest... The artist reacts through his medium. This is his protest!... This is his weapon…This is what shows that the Germans could not break his spirit."[9]

Selected Exhibitions

  • 1949 Municipal Museum, Breslau, Poland
  • 1950 Municipal Museum, Lodz, Poland
  • 1951 Yad-Lebanim Museum, Petach Tikva
  • 1956 Museum of Art, Ein-Harod
  • 1961 The Tel Aviv Museum of Art;
  • Artists’ House, Haifa
  • 1962 Artists’ House, Jerusalem
  • St. Placide Gallery, Paris
  • 1963 Rider Gallery, Los Angeles;
  • Merkup Gallery, Mexico
  • 1975 Glezer Gallery, N.Y.;
  • Chelsea Gallery, São Paulo, Brazil
  • 1976 Yad-Lebanim Museum, Petach Tikva
  • 1979 Museum of Israel Art, Ramat-Gan
  • 1980 Artists’ House, Jerusalem;
  • Artists’ House, Tel Aviv;
  • Old Jaffa Gallery
  • 1981 Citè Internationale des Arts, Paris
  • 1984 Bat-Yam Museum, Bat Yam
  • 1985 Institute Francais, Tel Aviv;
  • Petach Tikva Museum, Israel
  • 1987 Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Braunschweig
  • 1988 Museum Zons, Dormagen Neuss;
  • Kreishaus, Ludwigsburg
  • 1991 Artists’ House, Tel Aviv
  • 1992 State Gallery, Lodz
  • 1993 State Abakus Gallery, Warsaw
  • 1994 State Gallery, Kraków
  • 1995 Rathaus, Gerlingen, Germany;
  • Vesoul Museum, France
  • 1998 Beit Ariela Municipal Gallery, Tel Aviv
  • 2001 The Ghetto Fighters’ House museum, Kibbutz Lohamei Haghettaot, Israel
  • 2002 Alexander Bogen - Drawings for Poems in Yiddish, Reuben and Edith Hecht Museum, University of Haifa
  • 2003 Drawing and painting Exhibition, Beit Shalom Halechem, Tel Aviv
  • 2005 Drawing and Painting Exhibition, Bar’Am Museum
  • 2009 Whitebox Gallery, Munich
  • 2010 Kreishaus, Ludwigsburg

An exhibition of Bogen's work was held at the Hecht Museum in Haifa. His drawings, especially those that survived from his partisan days, offer a gallery of characters and document the history of a people fighting for its life during the Holocaust. Among the drawings on show were illustrations for poems by two Yiddish poets: Gebirtig and Abraham Sutzkever.[10]

Monuments & Murals

  • “Revolt” - Partisan Museum, Tel Aviv
  • “Holocaust” - Partisan Museum, Tel Aviv
  • Vitrage, Jabotinsky Institute, Tel Aviv
  • Vitrage, 14th Vocational High School, Kiryal Hachinuch, Tel Aviv
  • Memorial Monument, Commemorating the Holocaust and the Revolt, Latroun Museum, Jerusalem


  • 1951 State Prize, Polish Government Prize
  • 1961 The Histadrut Prize, Israel
  • 1962 The Israel Ministry of Education & Culture Prize
  • 1980 Prize of the Sea League of Israel
  • 1982 The Negev Prize
  • 1993 Medal of the City of Vesoul, France
  • 1995 Shalom Aleichem Prize, Israel

See also


External links