RIFOEL MANDELTSVAYG (September 22, 1908-July 12, 1956)
He was born in Warsaw, Poland. In 1929 he graduated from the Warsaw Art School and went on to improve his painting in Paris and Brussels. After returning to Poland, in the 1930s he exhibited his work at the Zachęta Sztuk Pięknych (Encouragement of fine arts) and other art galleries. With the outbreak of WWII in 1939, he fled to Soviet Russia and roamed as far away as Samarkand, where he painted images from the Jewish devastations, Jewish types from Central Asia, and (in 1945) received a medal for his works. He returned to Poland in 1946. In 1947 he made his way to Brazil and finally settled in Montevideo, Uruguay. In 1949 he and the poet Elye Verblun began publishing the journal Bleter far kunst un literatur (Pages for art and literature), and there in issue no. 1 he published a piece entitled “Yidn in breyshis fun der kunst” (Jews at the genesis of art). In 1950 a community committee in Buenos Aires, Argentina, published (under the editorship of Pikhes Bizberg, Dr. L. Zhitnitski, Simkhe Sneh, and M. Zakin) Mandeltsvayg’s art album with a biographical sketch of the artist as an introduction “Rifoel mandeltsvaygs kinstlerishe velt” (Rifoel Mandeltsvayg’s artistic world) by Tsalel Blits, and seventy-three reproductions of his works. He died suddenly in Buenos Aires.
Sources: Yitskhok Vaynshenker, Poshet mitokh libshaft (Simply out of love) (Montevideo, 1955); Vaynshenker, Boyers un mitboyers fun yidishn yishev in urugvay (Founders and builders of the Jewish community in Uruguay) (Montevideo, 1957); local news and obituary notices in the Yiddish press; Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955).
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