Hermann Struck, German (1876 - 1944)

Hermann Struck

Hermann Struck (Chaim Aaron ben David) was born in Berlin. He studied at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts. In 1904, he joined the modern art movement known as the Berlin Secession. In 1900, Struck met Jozef Israƫls, a Dutch artist, who became his mentor. Both were recognized as leading artists of their time.

In 1908, Struck published "Die Kunst des Radierens" ("The Art of Etching"), which became a seminal work on the subject. It was a textbook that offered both theory and practical instruction. Struck's students included Marc Chagall, Lovis Corinth, Jacob Steinhardt, Lesser Ury and Max Liebermann.

In 1899, upon completing his studies at the Berlin Academy, he was banned from teaching there because he was Jewish. He signed his work with his Hebrew name, Chaim Aaron ben David, and a Star of David. Struck did commissioned portraits of Ibsen, Nietzsche, Freud, Albert Einstein, Herzl, Oscar Wilde and other leading figures of the time.

Struck was a fervent Zionist and Jewish activist. He visited the Land of Israel in 1903, displayed his art at the Fifth Zionist Congress, and was a founder of the Mizrachi Religious Zionist movement. At the same time, he was a German patriot and volunteered for military service in World War I serving as a translator, liaison officer and military artist. He was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class and promoted to an officer for bravery, in 1917 he became the referent for Jewish affairs at the German Eastern Front High Command.

Struck immigrated to Palestine in 1922, taught at Bezalel Academy and helped establish the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. He visited Berlin every summer until the Nazis rose to power.

He died in Haifa. The house he lived in opened as a museum in 2013.

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