The Paintings of Yossi Stern

Yossi Stern (1923-1992) was a Jerusalem painter in the full sense of the word. Born in a small village in the north of Hungary, he came to Israel alone in 1940, when he was 17, on the illegal immigrant ship, Sakariya. During the boat trip he befriended two wealthy immigrants, and when they arrived in Palestine they took the budding artist under their wing and financed his studies at the Bezalel Art Academy.
Stern began to be recognized as a painter during the last years of the Mandate. He worked as a graphic editor and illustrator of the Hagana's official paper. After the founding of the State of Israel, he worked as an illustrator for various newspapers, such as Yediot Ahronot, Davar, and others.
Stern dealt mainly with the scenery around Jerusalem, the city that was his home from the time he came to Palestine, until the end of his life. His Jerusalem was an earthy city, dusty, turbulent and brimming with life, refusing to conform to its image of august holiness. Stern's unique style, a sort of "gruff naivety", became his trademark. He depicted the unsung heroes of the Jerusalem drama – its peddlers and beggars, roaming the social outskirts of the city that has always been torn between the sacred and the profane, between the specter of divinity and the mire of the earth.