I. Aroch before Aroch (1935-1946)
Yona Fischer, Catalogue: "Itineraries and Forms", 1976
Arie Aroch was born in 1908 in Kharkov (today Ukraine). His father was a leading Zionist in Russia. Studied Hebrew as a child.

1924 Immigrates to Mandatory Palestine and studies for a year and a half at Bezalel. "At the time Glicksberg was painting on King George Street. He taught me how to apply oil paint."

1926 Returns to Tel Aviv and studies at Herzliya High School, majoring in mathematics and physics. His classmate Israela Margalit tells: "His name was Nisselevich, he was the tallest in our class and we called him Aroch (long). He read poetry -- Shlonski and others -- painted, drew in class in his notebooks, wrote poetry, mostly satirical. His teacher was David Shimoni."

1932 Participates for the first time in an exhibition at Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

1934-35 Paris. Studies at the Académie Colarossi. Several lessons with Fernand Léger.

1937 Tel Aviv. Designs stage sets for three plays at Ha'ohel and Habima theatres.

1938 Amsterdam. Solo exhibition at
 the Santee Landweer Gallery.

1939 Tel Aviv. Solo exhibition at Katz Gallery.

1941 Shows A Street in a Moshava in a group exhibition at Habima.

1942 Participates in a group exhibition at Habima Theatre.

Enlists in the British Army, serves at Sarrafend Camp and on Mount Carmel.
Paints outdoors in Zichron Yaakov in the company of Zvi Meyerovich.

1946 After his discharge from the army he lives with his wife on Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv.

"There were no paintings at home. At the age of six I started to draw profiles of my father's friends in charcoal. Later I got it into my head that I want to be a painter. Why? I don't know.

The house was surrounded by a big garden of rose hedges, pear trees, etc. An immense place in the center of the city. That's where I was born and grew up, and that's the place I left.

I wasn't the kind of artist who had been drawn to art as a child. I was drawn to literature, to poetry. I would go to the museum the way one goes to a botanical museum. One day, I must have been 11 or 12; I went to an art museum, a provincial museum that displayed objects as well as paintings. I took seriously a painter I hated - Repin's large paintings of historical genre themes, copies of Cossack writing a letter, things like that.

Kharkov was a banal city with a population of almost a million. A 'slightly intellectual' city. Khlebnikov was writing modern poetry there, comparable to Mayakovsky's. I even saw the first show of the young Mané-Katz.

In late 1924 I spent several weeks in Tel Aviv, and then went to study at Bezalel in Jerusalem. I returned a year and a half later, after my studies. I sat on the seashore with a palette, in a cheerless mood.

Today I remember: we were influenced by local painters and by Jewish painters such as Chagall and Mané-Katz. Those influences could make their mark because they were constantly there, but this is very personal. Matisse appeared in my work not as an affectation but as a world view. Intense colors and clear forms -- they're a world view... As well as Soutine, Kremegne and Henri Epstein..." (July 18, 1984)

"The importance of the School of Paris lay in its negative influence. For years I couldn't protect myself against the emotional suffering and the heavy despair provoked by this phenomenon from the moment, yes, from the very moment I encountered it in 1934, when I was 26. My feelings about this subject deepened and turned into something like memories of a traumatic childhood." (August 20, 1974)

"In my paintings of the 1940s I enjoyed, of course, the professional aspect of the work, the resemblance I created with things I knew and loved. ... I felt no satisfaction with the results of my work as a 'painter of paintings.' It seems to me that the period when I was trying to apply what I had learned from others (teachers but also paintings) in order to express what I had wanted to express before I painted -- that was a period of wavering that has faded from my memory." (July 10, 1966)