Benjamin Shiff 1931 – 2011, born in Germany and immigrated to Israel with his family at the age of two. At age forty, Benjamin Shiff experienced an explosion of creative expression. He immersed himself in painting and explored music, poetry as well as philosophy. The result being that in addition to his extensive body of artwork, Shiff has published three poetry books and two books of short stories. He is also a member of The Hebrew Writers Association in Israel. After his initial fascination with Belgian Surrealist artist Rene Magritte, Shiff enriched his oil and tempera painting techniques, which were widely used by the Old Masters, through advanced studies in Austria. He sharpened his perspective and added spiritual and mystical dimensions to his work through the study of Philosophy, Kabala, Hasidism and Jewish philosophy.
Shiff’s distinctive style is a blend of realistic figures and a touch of cubism. His figures are drawn from a profound knowledge of human form and its emotional potential, and are examined through a metaphysical prism. The subjects seem to search for comfort and refuge, and possess a kind of lyrical melancholy. They have a translucent quality, an illusion of an inner light. They express the artist’s quest to resolve the conflict between an often cruel reality and his innate idealism. Shiff’s portrayal of women in general and mothers in particular, explores their softness, tenderness and mystery. His other subjects evoke mysticism and spiritual longing that reaches beyond the visual enjoyment of the observer. Benjamin Shiff’s works appear in the collection of the Slovakian Presidential Palace, and the collection of the Cultural Museum of Judaism in Bratislava.
Many of the artist’s works grace the halls of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ new offices, in Jerusalem. Many others hang in many private collections in Europe, the US and Israel.