Joseph Zaritsky was born in the Ukraine and immigrated to Palestine in 1923, first settling in Jerusalem, moving to the young city of Tel Aviv in 1929-1930.
Zaritsky is considered the founding father of Israeli modernism. His depictions of Jerusalem and early Tel Aviv in watercolour are icons of the new art created in Palestine during the pre-state period. Professor M. Omer described Zaritsky’s early watercolours: “At the time he hardly worked in oils. Years later he explained his predilection for watercolours by the difficulties he had then in obtaining appropriate oil paints. Undoubtedly, the small paint box of watercolours the pencil and the paintbrush he took with him everywhere he went served him well in his first encounters with the landscape of his new surroundings”. (M. Omer, 90 Years of Israeli Art, Tel Aviv, 1998, p. 206)
He was fascinated by the strong Mediterranean light as well as by the interesting and colourful characters he saw on the street. In many of the early watercolours, such as the present lot, Zaritsky painted glimpses of the architecture surrounded by vast trees, juxtaposing the rounded shapes and the straight lines. He included some colourful characters such a man a horse, a seated figure under as tree and a horse-drawn carriage.
In later years Zaritsky changed the format of his work and turned to paint large abstract canvases.