Isaachar Ryback

1897 1935
(Ukraine) 1897 /   (France) 1935

Ryback was born into a Hassidic family and left his parents’ home at a young age. He took drawing classes in his hometown and studied at the Academy of Kiev between 1911 and 1916.  When the revolution broke out in 1917, the central committee for Jewish culture in Kiev ordered him propaganda posters and street decorations. At that time, he met El Lissitzki. Together with the latter, he participated in an expedition to Ukrainian villages, which was financed by the Jewish Society of Ethnography and History, and whose purpose was to produce a series of paintings on Jewish cemeteries and synagogues.

In 1918, he lived in Moscow where he taught painting. In 1921, he left for Berlin. In collaboration with the Yiddish poet Leib Kvitko, he published stories for children (USSR state editions) and an album of thirty lithographs entitled Schtetel (1923). In 1924, he published the Jewish types of Ukraine, an album reminiscent of cubism and expressionism that recounts the threatening atmosphere of a pogrom. In Berlin, he became a member of the Novembergruppe (November Group) and exhibited his work at the Secession. At that time, he produced supremacist engravings for the Yiddish avant-garde journal Albatros.

In 1925, he was invited to return to Russia by the Jewish Theater in Moscow, and designed sets and costumes for I.L. Peretz’ play « In Folisch Oyf Der Keit ». That same year, he spent time in the Jewish agricultural colonies in Ukraine, where he produced drawings representing the daily life. These drawing were published when he arrived in Paris in 1926.

Between 1928 and 1934, Ryback exhibited his work in Europe, in Paris, The Hague, Amsterdam, Brussels, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Philadelphia. His last exhibition took place at the Wildenstein gallery in Paris.

His works are kept at the Issachar Ryback museum in Bat Yam, Israel.