Herman Gold
About the Artist
Herman Gold is a Jewish artist.
Oils, watercolors, pastels.

Born on August 23, 1933 in Kursk, Russia. Member of the National Artists' Union of the USSR since 1964. Lives in Kyiv, Ukraine since 1980. Member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine.

Honored Artist of Ukraine.

Living in Israel since 2022.

Trained at the Yelets Art School 1949–1957 (with intervening military service during 1952-56). He studied under: Andrei Kurnakov (from the Kharkiv Art Institute) and whom Gold refers to as his "mentor," Berta Giller (a former student of Mikhail Boychuk at the Kyiv Art Institute) and Valentin Dudchenko.

Since childhood, Gold has been extraordinarily perceptive and talented, with literary skill, an ear for music and a unique feeling for color and forms. After completing his essential training at the Art School, Gold developed his craft under the direct guidance of Nikolai Nikolayevich Zhukov, National Artist of the USSR, in Moscow, living in Zhukov's studio.

Nikolai Zhukov at the opening of Herman Gold's exhibition
Raised in a military family that frequently traveled the country, Gold, since adolescence, felt particular love for the nature of rural Russia, for the life of its tranquil provinces. He quickly developed into a romantic artist, mastering his sharply individualistic figural style of evocative painting, mainly on large canvases distinguished by intense color.

Despite the brutal persecution of the slightest manifestation of Jewish identity in the USSR, Herman Gold began to create a Jewish series of his works from the end of the 1950s, which has been growing for more than half a century. From the burnt-out shtetls to the warm light of Hanukkah candles, from portraits of the elders to Tanakhic images.

The national in Gold's work is closely bound up with the personal. In 1971, he gets married under a Chuppah (Jewish wedding ceremony), almost no one in those years dared to do such a thing. The risk of being imprisoned for many years was too great. The Ketubah (Jewish marriage contract), drawn up on a sheet of school notebook, to this day remains a proof of individual resistance to the regime.

At the same time, the artist was in exceptional demand as a classical portraitist. Thus, all the portraits of the presidents of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union were entrusted to Gold.

Gold's favorite medium is oil painting, but he also is a master of watercolor. He is drawn to the dramatization of images (especially scenes and portraits), invigorating complex greenish-brown or blackish-gray blends with intense splashes of bright green, red or goldish tones. Such unique and nuanced orchestration of color, along with seamless execution and dynamic composition, creates the sensation that his works were rendered in a single breath of inspiration. The remarkable conviction of his images is manifest, whether or not they are representational or drawn from the artist's imagination.

Also noteworthy is the multidimensional nature of the Gold's gift. He is distinguished by his ability to capture and express the essential spirit and personality of his portrait subjects, and also by his creation of thematic compositions, usually dedicated to the life of the Jewish people and the disappeared traditional world of the shtetl. Invoking deep sentiment and philosophical meaning, the artist is also endowed with the subtle, lyrical feel of the landscape painter, portraying the inimitable poetry and unaltered beauty of old villages and the inextricable connection between humanity and nature.

Gold utilizes the boundless arsenal of expressive tools in producing his paintings; therefore, he is not drawn to the experiments of post-modernism, nor to other contemporary currents of visual art.

His outlook on the world and humanity is one of kindness and caring, from which derives the aura of faith and worldly wisdom, notwithstanding life's difficulty, that endows his metaphorical compositions, portraiture, and landscape images with a modern resonance.

The art of Herman Gold, with its brightly expressed national motifs and characteristically dynamic painterly touch, has organically become part of modern art, enriching its multi-colored palette with its paintings and spiritual explorations.

(с) Dr. Valentina Ruban
Directing Curator

Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon (World Biographical Dictionary of Artists)
K. G. Saur, München – Leipzig, 2008

The Face
Herman Gold is an artist with a compassionate, bleeding Jewish heart and a deep feeling for man and for nature. He is an artist who stands out among fellow artists thanks to a harmony of talent and appealing modesty.

Having lived "the better part" of his life in a provincial town, to which he took a strong liking, he has absorbed all the peculiar features of the provincial life — a life without excesses or luxuries; exacting a lot from oneself and from others; staying away from the rages of fashion.

Herman Gold made his name known at the end of the sixties when he showed a portrait of Jean Louis Tulasne, commander of the "Normandie-Niémen" air combat unit (the unit was made up of French military pilots who fought against the Nazis on the Soviet side during WWII) at a big exhibition held in Moscow. At that time Mr Gold was a young man with not much of a life experience: he had served in the army and had an uncompleted art school education. The portrait he exhibited had been evidently painted "in one go" but it revealed a powerful talent, artistic passion and refined taste of the painter. Mr Gold's work profoundly differed from the portraits painted by other artists in the late sixties. It was not accidental that the curator of the famous Tretyakov Gallery was seen to stop in front of this portrait and to spend a lot of time staring at it. He expressed his admiration to the artist and offered to buy it for the museum collection.
Neither was it accidental that the Chief Rabbi of Israel, known to be an art connoisseur, preferred Mr Gold to all other painters when he was looking for an artist to paint his portrait. His choice proved right.

In my opinion, Mr Gold's art is true, honest and profound. To reveal the very inner core of a person is the most difficult and important task for a painter, and Mr Gold solves this task in a way befitting a grand master. Only a true psychologist in portraiture can find and capture the traits which are directly connected with the essence of his subjects, and to gloze over the accidental.

Another peculiar feature of Mr Gold's portraits lies in his showing a special significance of every individual life and, in so many cases, its tragic nature. When you look at this person's face, you are looking at his or her life, the artist seems to be telling us. He presents a person's life by showing the face, and does it brilliantly.

When I look at a portrait painted by Mr Gold's, I immediately recognize the person, I can see the essence and significance of this person's life, and such art wins me over and gives me aesthetic pleasure.

As far as I am concerned to be able to do it is to have a great talent.
(с) Fazil Iskander, a Writer

Herman Gold's paintings appear in Kyiv National Museum of Modern Art, National Museum "Kyiv Picture Gallery" (Kyiv National Museum of Russian Art), Ukrainian National Museum of Literature, Sholom Aleichem Museum, Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as in private collections in USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, Greece, and Israel.