ILLUSTRATED BIOGRAPHY

1948           

Born in Hadera, Israel, to Abba and Vitka Kovner. Raised on Kibbutz (collective settlement) Ein-HaChoresh.​

1954-1966 


Elementary and Secondary Education on Kibbutz Ein-HaChoresh.

1955           

Accompanies Vitka, his mother, on a trip to Europe to meet his father who was absent from Israel for a year. A seven year old boy discovers the world of art.

1958           

A birthday gift of oil paints and an art lesson from his father jump starts an artistic career.​

1964-1965

Studies painting with artist Yochanan Simon in Herzliya (a coastal town north of Tel-Aviv).​

1966-1967

Following High School graduation, works with youth groups outside the Kibbutz, in Haifa.

1967

During the Six-Day War (June 1967) returns to the Kibbutz to take charge, with fellow Kibbutz youth, of all agricultural work while most of the Kibbutz adults are mobilized for the war.



​1967-1970



Military service in an elite army unit.

1970

Meets Mimi Makover, his future bride.

1970

Following military service travels to the USA with army buddies. Following a visit with family friends in Los Angeles, California, makes a crucial decision to pursue art as a vocation and to take up his studies in New York rather than in Israel.

In the photo: right: Benjamin Nethanyahu

1975

Returns with Mimi to Israel (via Spain, Southern France, and Italy, where he encounters the greatest painters of the Renaissance)

- Receives a clear decision about his  artistic direction:  abstract painting was a dead end. That begins a period of uncertainty that lasts three years, during which he seeks his independent path as an artist.
– Mounts first exhibition of his New York works at the Jerusalem Artists’ House.
– Joins Bezalel Academy of Art and Design as an art instructor, and the American-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship committee.

1971

Works as a security guard for Arkia Airlines while studying in evening classes at the Avni Institute.

1972-1975     



Studies at the New York Studio School. Influenced by the teachings of Philip Guston, Jack Tworkow and Mercedes Mattar.

1973     

Returns to Israel for the Yom Kippur War (October-December 1973).

1974      

Despite the terrible loss of many friends during the war, comes to the painful decision to return to his studies at the New York Studio School, and with other advanced students under the guidance of a talented young painter, Steven Sloman, forms a group that works independently, often in the countryside or at the seashore, critiquing each other’s work.

1977 


- First child is born – a son, Amikam.



- Studies Judaism with Rabbi David Hartman at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.

1976           

Marries Mimi Makover. Jointly decide to make Jerusalem their permanent home.

1981 


– A second son is born, named Nimrod.
– Bineth Gallery exhibits a new series, “Houses in Gaza”.
– Exhibits in the Tel-Aviv Museum group show “ ”.
– The Israel Museum in Jerusalem acquires a painting “House Painted with Flowers” for its collection.

1978-1980           

Explores new artistic directions with a series of bird’s-eye-view landscapes painted from aerial photographs, and desert vistas painted in the outdoors. Begins his relationship with the Bineth Gallery in Tel-Aviv. Mounts two successful shows at the Gallery – desert paintings and an exhibition of drawings.

1985 


Returns to Bineth Gallery in Tel-Aviv with an exhibition of his portraits of  wife Mimi and friend Michal.

1982-1984           

Inspired by his two sons playing with the Lego building blocks,  exhibits his “Lego” series at Tel-Aviv’s Gordon Gallery. Bineth Gallery refuses the Lego series and terminates its relation with Kovner.

1988 


Exhibits at Bineth Gallery his series “Jerusalem Hills”. First major initiative of painting directly in nature.



1990



– Exhibits at Bineth Gallery his follow-up series “Jerusalem Scenes”.

– Acquires a small two-room apartment in the Katamonim section of Jerusalem for a permanent studio space.

1986

Expands from his tiny studio in family residence into a more spacious work area in Jerusalem’s north eastern neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev.

1994 


Returns to landscape painting. Develops close friendship with artist Jan Rauchwerger. Touring together in Romania along with sculptor Zvi Lachman. Continues with Jan to London and then to Holland to view the Cezanne and Vermeer exhibits.

1992

Exhibits at Bineth Gallery “A Girl in a Room”, painting his son’s young adolescent girl-friend.

1995 


Bineth Gallery mounts an exhibition “End of ’95”,  an exploration of the Beit Shean Valley – its reservoirs, fishponds, birds and cows.
Publishes a large catalogue of works, 1985-1995.

1987-1994

During this period is strongly effected by several family related tragedies, including the death of his father, poet Abba Kovner. He is thus preoccupied with death, which is fully explored in a series of paintings titled “Sataf” that have never been exhibited.

To be continued...

© 2013 by MICHAEL KOVNER