Art nouveau illustrator and printmaker
1. Ephraim Moses Lilien was born in Galicia in 1874.
2. He attended the Academy of Arts in Cracow from 1889 to -93. In 1896, he won an award for photography (he was mighty good at it – see below) from Jugend, an avant-garde publication.
3. In 1902, he was one of the founders of Judische Verlag, the first Jewish-Zionist publisher in Western Europe. Based in Berlin, the company produced artistic and literary works – done by Jews, of course.
4. He was a delegate to the Sixth Zionist Congress in 1903, when the Uganda Plan was first broached.
5. In the years between 1906 and the First World War, he traveled frequently to Palestine. He was with Boris Schatz in Jerusalem for the establishment of the Bezalel Art School and taught the first class there.
6. His influence on the establishment of a distinctly Israeli style of art was enormous. He explored Jewish themes, using Biblical subjects in a Zionist context, and incorporating Jewish symbols into art nouveau style. It was thus that he created a visual vocabulary for Zionism.
7. Reportedly, it is his photograph of Herzl that became THE portrait we know today. He believed that Herzl was the perfect example of the New Jew in the modern world and used Herzl as a model for depictions of Moses.
8. He died in Germany in 1925.
In Tel Aviv, you’ll find Lilien Street parallel to Struck just northeast of Rabin Square.
Until two weeks ago, I had never heard about this illustrator. Then, I was asked to write a post about a book he illustrated (Die Bücher der Bibel)… and here he is again!
Isn’t it amazing how the universe conspires to bring about such correlations.