Alexandre Frenel (Isaac Frenkel aka)

1899 1981
(Ukraine) 1899 /   (Israel) 1981

Alexandre Frenel was born in Odessa in 1899, where he studied at the Academy of Arts under the painter Alexandra Ekster.

He immigrated to Israel in 1919 and moved to Paris a year later. There, he studied at the Beaux-Arts and at the Grande Chaumière. He also studied sculpture with Bourdelle and painting at Matisse’s studio.

Alexandre Frenel spent time at La Ruche with the painters of Montparnasse. He exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants alongside other artists of his time such as Soutine. They were both noticed by art critic Waldermar George. In 1924, the Dutch painter Pet Mondrian acquired two of his abstract paintings.

He returned to Israel in 1925, where he revolutionized painting. In Tel Aviv, he opened the first studio of modern art, where many great Israel artists studied.

In 1949, together with other artists, he funded an important artists’ colony in Safed. A year later, he was the first painter chosen by the State of Israel to represent the Jewish state at the Venice Biennale.

In 1979, on the occasion of his 80 th birthday, a retrospective was held in his honor at the Orangerie du Sénat. The President of the Senate Alain Poher inaugurated it.

Alexandre Frenel spent his time between Paris and Israel. He died in Tel Aviv in 1981 and is buried in Safed.