About Hermann Struck

Hermann Struck (Chaim Aaron ben David), 1876−1944, artist, teacher, founder of the Mizrachi movement.

Hermann Struck in 1916
Hermann Struck in 1916. Photo from Center for Jewish History Photostream

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 Israëls, 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 the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem and helped establish the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. He visited Berlin every summer until the Nazis rose to power.

In 1931, Struck was part of the 3-man panel, with Shaul Tchernichovsky and S.A. Van Vriesland, who awarded Ismar David’s entry first place in a competition to design the cover of the fifth Golden Book for the Keren Kayemet. David lived in Struck’s house in Hadar Carmel and worked in his workshop while executing the work.

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