Abel Pann, Et Dieu souffla dans ses narines le souffle de vie, Jérusalem, vers 1924
And God Breathed into his Nostrils the Breath of Life
Abel Pann (Abba Pfeffermann, known as ; Kreslawka, 1883 – Jerusalem, 1963)
Jerusalem, circa 1924
Colour lithograph on Kraft paper, 44.9 x 30.5 cm
Born into a family of rabbis in Lithuania, Abel Pann studied drawing and etching in Vitebsk under Yuri Pen (who also taught Marc Chagall and Ossip Zadkine) then pursued his training at the Academy of Fine Arts in Odessa, where he joined the Poale Zion (Workers of Zion) party. After long stays in France from 1903 to 1917 and in the United States from 1917 to 1920, he settled in Jerusalem. Whereas in the first part of his career he had specialised in press illustrations and caricature, he now devoted himself entirely to biblical subjects. This is one of the series of twenty-four lithographs, Genesis from the Creation until the Deluge, published in Jerusalem in 1924. During his first stay in Jerusalem in 1913, Pann taught at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, where this subject was suggested to him by the painter and sculptor Boris Schatz, founder of the school in 1906. After Genesis, he embarked on a project to illustrate the entire Bible, a task he never finished. Rejecting his Diasporic Jewish identity, he abandoned the style of Polish artists at the turn of the century and developed a documentary, quasi-ethnographic approach, taking Bedouins and indigenous populations as his models for portraying the great figures of the Bible.