Абел Панн (Abel Pann)


Abel Pann (1883–1963) was a European Jewish painter who settled in the Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem in the early twentieth century and taught at the Bezalel Academy of Art under Boris Schatz.

Pann studied the fundamentals of drawing for three months with the painter Yehuda Pen of Vitebsk, who also taught Marc Chagall. In his youth, he traveled in Russia and Poland, earning a living mainly as an apprentice in sign workshops. In 1898 he went south to Odessa, where he was accepted into the Academy of Fine Arts.[2] In 1903, he was in Kishinev, where he documented the Kishinev pogrom with drawings; an effort that is thought to have contributed to his self-definition as an artist who chronicles Jewish history. Still in 1903, he moved to Paris, where he rented rooms in La Ruche, a Parisian building (which still exists) where Modigliani, Chagall, Chaim Soutine and other Jewish artists also lived. Pann studied at the French Academy under William-Adolphe Bouguereau.[4] He earned his living primarily by drawing pictures for the popular illustrated newspapers of the era. In 1912, Boris Schatz, founder and director of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design visited Pann in Paris and invited him to come work in Jerusalem.

In 1913, after traveling in Southern Europe and Egypt, Pann arrived in Jerusalem, where he had decided to settle for life. Pann went to see Schatz and it was decided that he would head the painting department at the Bezalel Academy for several months while Schatz embarked on an extensive overseas fund-raising trip. According to Haaretz art critic Smadar Sheffi, a work form this period with the simple title "Jerusalem" shows a cluster of buildings at sunset "with a sky in blazing orange." The painting is "more expressive and abstract that is typical of his work," and Sheffi speculates that "the encounter with the city" of Jerusalem was a "strong emotional experience" for the artist.