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Sold at Auction: Pinchas Cohen Gan

Alias:Pinchas Cohen-Gan


Pinchas Cohen Gan (born November 3, 1942) is an Israeli painter and mixed-media artist. He was awarded the Sandberg Prize (1979), the Culture and Sport Ministry's prize for his life's work (2005), and the Israel Prize in Art (2008).

Pinchas Cohen Gan was born in 1942 in Meknes, Morocco, to an observant Jewish upper-middle-class family. His father, Moshe HaCohen, was a painter who left his art to support his family as a merchant; and his mother, Rivka Gan, worked as a French teacher. He studied in a Talmud Torah where they also taught mathematics. In 1949 he made Aliyah to Israel with his parents and four brothers on the ship “Kedma,” and he grew up in Kiryat Bialik, in a neighborhood of German immigrants. In his youth, Cohen Gan also worked in construction in order to help support his family. He later described his feelings of loneliness as an Eastern Jew growing up in Israeli society in the early days of the State. As a young boy he was already interested in art and studied sculpture with Aharon Ashkenazi.

In 1954 he joined the youth movement “Hashomer Hatzair” [The Youth Guard] and continued as a counselor in the movement until he went into the army. He did his military service in a unit of Nahal [unit combining military service with work on an agricultural settlement]. In 1962 he left Kibbutz Lehavot HaBashan and moved to Jerusalem, where he began studies at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, but he had to leave his studies after about a week because of lack of funding. He returned to Haifa, where he studied drawing with Marcel Janco and sculpture with Michael Gross at Oranim Academic College. In 1967 he began studying for a second time at Bezalel. In 1968, during his studies there, he was wounded in a terrorist attack in the Mahane Yehuda Market.
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