Menachem Lemberger (1938-1992)

Born in Krakov, Poland in 1938. In 1942 his parents were deported to Auschwitz. They died there. Menachem, four years old, wandered from ghetto to ghetoo, through the woods, in the arms of his grandmother . They spent the last year of the war among the partisans in Slovakia, and toward the end of the war, fleeing from the Russians for another two years, they roamed in the forests of Slovakia. In 1947 soldiers of the Hebrew Brigade took Menachem with them to Palestine. His grandmother followed him in 1949 and he left the institution of the Youth Aliya to which he had been sent. They lived in Manshiyye, a former Arab neighborhood, between Jaffa and Tel-Aviv. After completing his studies at the “Tachkemoni” elementary school he went to the “Rav Amiel” Yeshiva cum high School. He was unable to complete his studies there because he had to earn a living for his grandmother and for himself. From the age of 15 up to his army service and three years following his release from the army, he worked at polishing diamonds. In 1962 he was accepted at the Avni School for Painting.

In 1967 Menachem Lemberger  participated in the exhibition of the “Avni” graduates and showed minimalist-geometric acrylic paintings “extremely sensitive in feeling and touch” (Zlila Orgad, “Al Ha’Mishmar”) and figurative nude drawings “brisk and powerful studies” (Reuven Berman, “Yedioth Aharonot”). In 1968, at “The Exhibition of the four”, he participated with geometric-minimalist works. A year later , at the exhibition “Figures”, organized by the Artists’ House in Tel-Aviv, he participated with a number of drawings. In later exhibitions he also showed acrylic paintings, blending a stern minimalist-monochromatic background with a combination of painting-and-drawing. They were expressionist in character, bursting with colour. He also exhibited his sculpture.

As time passed, the line in his work became more dominant and he began to outline forms and figures. Still, he saw himself as a minimalist painter and he went back to geometric minimalism, now and again. There was a distinct evolution in his treatment of the line: succinct line on a blank page to a passionately entangled line, engraved into the paper. In the years that followed he concentrated on linear works which he showed in the United States, England, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan.

The mature Lemberger no longer needs the stern and anonymous genre in order to contain expression, he masters it through his use of the line, which is, by nature, intimate and emotional. “His talent for drawing is of such quality that it calls for the use of superlatives.” Nissim Mevorach, “Ha’Aretz”,1981).”His eye is penetrating, hard, adamant… He orchestrates the liner system in a way that arouses admiration” (David Gerstein, “Kol Ha’Ir, 1982).

At the beginning of his career Menachem Lemberger was awarded scholarships by the Sharett Foundation and the Israel-America Foundation. He spent a year in the United States. He was commended by The National Art Club, New York (1980) and by the Biennail of New York (1981) and won the Bernstein Foundation Prize for Drawing (1988). He began painting as a child and since his years at “Avni” he has dedicated all of his time to painting, as an artist and as a teacher. He has taught at “Avni” till 1990. Menachem Lemberger said “I am not alone. In art, as in life, I fell there is a supreme power, leading me in my deeds.”

(“Menachem Lemberger, 1x1”, ART LIBRARY, 1992)