The Reuven Rubin House Museum stands at 14 Bialik Street, in Tel Aviv. It is the former home of renowned artist Reuven Rubin and displays a selection of his works as well as the restored interior of this magnificent historic building including the artist’s studio.
Reuven Rubin was born Rubin Zelicovici in Romania in 1893, to a poor Hasidic family. At age 19 he left for Ottoman-ruled Palestine where he studied at the renowned Bezalel Art and Design Academy in Jerusalem. Not long after arrival in Palestine, he left for Paris where he studied at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts. He spent World War I in Romania, then traveled to the USA in 1921 where he held his first exhibition together with fellow artist Alfred Stieglitz.
In 1922 Rubin returned to Europe, and a year later emigrated to British Mandate Palestine. In 1928 he met and married Esther. His early work depicts the Romanian landscape in a modern and naive style. His paintings of Israel seem to radiate light, representative of spirituality. Many depict landscapes of Galilee and Jerusalem. He was one of the founders of the Eretz-Yisrael style of painting, which used recurring biblical themes, naive depiction of Israel’s landscapes, and images of Jewish ethnic groups including Yemenites, and Hasidic Jews.
He became the chairman of the Association of Painters and Sculptures of Palestine, and from the 1930s Rubin designed scenery for Israel’s national theater, Habima. In 1948 Rubin became Israel’s first diplomatic envoy to Romania. Reuven Rubin died in Tel Aviv in 1974 and bequeathed his home and core collection to Tel Aviv.
The house was built in 1930 and was originally owned by the Toeplitz family. From 1946 until he died in 1974, Reuven Rubin lived in this house with his family and worked in his art studio on the third floor. The Reuven Rubin House was opened to the public in 1983. The museum is currently being redeveloped and enlarged. The plans include an underground three-floor annex beneath the front courtyard where more of Rubin’s work will be displayed alongside guest exhibitions.
On a visit to the house museum, you can see a permanent collection of Rubin’s paintings, and occasionally the permanent collection is replaced by exhibitions by Israeli artists. The house has four floors, with a gallery on the first and second floors. The second floor also holds a library and reading room. Children’s workshops are held in the basement and adjoining garden.
Rubin’s studio on the third floor has been preserved in its original condition. Here you can also see a photographic exhibition covering Rubin’s life in chronological order. The scenes in the photos illustrate the local culture and artistic atmosphere in Tel Aviv at the time.
If you would like to visit Reuven Rubin House, consider booking a private Tel Aviv Tour.
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