Yehuda Vardi

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The Israeli painter Yehuda Vardi had gained name and recognition in his home country for his soft, colorful portraits of beautiful women. Portraying Wallenberg reveals a work unprecedented in his oeuvre; a treasure of monumental paintings devoted to Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of thousands of Jews in World War 2.

Born in Iraq, Vardi immigrated to Israel at the age of seven with his family, to settle first in a Kibbutz and later in Tel Aviv, where he studied art in University. He was a socially conscious artist, and upon reading about Wallenberg he came to see the Swedish diplomat as his hero. Mesmerized by the story of Wallenberg, the painter studied obsessively every book or document he could find about the savior of the Budapest Jewish community.

His fascination was captured in a series of monumental paintings: 31 oil paintings on canvas of 2 x 3 meter (7 x 10 foot) and 3 x 3 meter (10 x 10 foot). The paintings portray Wallenberg himself, the Jewish victims of the holocaust, the martyrdom of children, Jewish men and women bearing the yellow star being deported to death camps, and more.

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