Faibich Schraga Zarfin: Child and youth years. Materials to the artist’s biography

  • Youri Abdourahmanov
Keywords: Schraga Zarfin, Chaim Soutine, Paris school, Vilnius Drawing School, Bezalel, Berlin Secession


The article presents little-known or unknown facts of child and youth years of artist Faibich Schraga Zarfin. In addition to the already published reminiscences by the artist himself and other persons, the author also discovered a number of new archive documents and interviewed several of Zarfin’s relatives and friends, both while working on the documentary “A Roaming Star From Smilovichy” (2016, film director Zoya Kotovich and script writer Youri Abdourahmanov) and collecting the materials for a book about Zarfin to be published shortly. Schraga Zarfin was born in a Belarusian settlement of Smilovitchi. As a child, he was acquainted with Chaim Soutine and reflected this in his reminiscences. Following Soutine, young Zarfin decided to become an artist and left for the Vilnius Drawing School to study. After that there was a sharp change in his life: in 1914 Zarfin moved to Palestine, was enrolled as a student in the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts, and worked in the first Kibbutzim (communal settlements). In 1918 he joined the British Army and took part in the military actions in Egypt and Palestine. After the end of World War I, Zarfin resumed his studies in Bezalel and participated in the earliest art exhibitions in Jerusalem. In 1923 Zarfin left for Berlin to continue his studies, and in 1924 moved to Paris. The article is supplemented by the originally published photographs.
Visual Art