[From the catalogue-in-progress for “Landscapes & Livestock”, a loan exhibition for Agincourt Homecoming in the Fall of 2015]
AZMON, Avraham [1917—2008]
oil on board / 8.75 inches x 8 inches
The family of Agincourt businessman Gideon Meier were active in the formation of Temple Emanu-El in 1953 and in persuading eminent architect Erich Mendelssohn to accept the commission for its design, among his last works. Also enthusiastic supporters of the new state of Israel, the Meiers vacationed there in the 50s and may have acquired this small painting during that trip. One on-line source provides biographical information on artist Avraham Azmon:
Avraham Azmon (1917-2008) was born in Israel to a religious Yemenite family in a rather poor, hard working-class neighborhood of Tel-Aviv, on the border between Tel-Aviv and Jaffa, called “Mahane Yoseph” (the camp of Joseph). Azmon’s father was a Hazzan whose function is to lead, in singing and reciting, the prayers in the synagogue. Azmon’s formal education started with four years of a Yemenite Talmud-Torah. Then he continued in the Tachkemoni elementary school in Tel-Aviv, which he finished around 1932.
After finishing school he found work as a locksmith and did not follow his artistic tendencies which were discovered around this time. His first period of serious painting was between the years 1934-1938—in that period he acquired experience in making frames for pictures—the profession of which he made his living for the rest of his life. In the years 1937-38, he managed a small art gallery in Tel-Aviv, Yad Oman (the hand of the artist) where he got acquainted with some of the young painters in Tel-Aviv of those days.
Azmon was a self-taught painter and his resume does not include any formal studies of art. His first subjects were drawn from his immediate surroundings. For several years he painted his childhood neighborhood Mahane Yoseph and its surroundings. Later on, his reservoir of subjects expanded to other areas including still-life, and his style became more abstract and fantastic ….