Remembering Barbara Goldschmidt

Martin Buber’s granddaughter passes away in Jerusalem at the age of 91.

March 24, 2013 23:24
1 minute read.
Portrait of woman painted by Barbara Goldschmidt.

painting370. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Barbara Goldschmidt – the granddaughter of Martin Buber – began painting as a child. Born in Germany in 1921, she immigrated to Jerusalem in 1938 and studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design from 1939 to 1942. She was to live and work in Jerusalem for the rest of her life.

Among other subjects, she painted portraits of women, each with her individuality deciphered and exposed, yet also a mesh of color, sheer matter, spots and texture, with no beginning or end.

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Although Goldschmidt was a skilled draftswoman, a subject’s foot might fade into its surroundings as if unfinished or neglected, because the sensual truth of the colors suddenly became the artist’s objective, rather than realistic, objective boundaries.

She moved from one truth to another freely and without fear, many times in the same picture, evidently with the conviction that these seemingly different or even opposite perspectives were not contrary to one another.

“I am playing,” she used to say of painting. Playing, in the sense of the happiness of a child at play.

The totally self-sufficient there-ness, the abandonment to and absorption in the moment, the submerging in the absolute present, thus she painted and lived.

She taught that painting is a way of looking, seeing, pondering, understanding; to paint is to enjoy and see. The happiness of doing and the manner of looking were her gifts as a painter and a teacher.

Although delicate-looking and reserved, her brushstrokes are confident, powerful and intense, as if scrutiny, observance, restraint and wildness all blend in each stroke. She was a true painter. The material being the key, the window. And the object, the person; always a physicality, always matter itself, too.

Goldschmidt believed in substance, in the glory of the physical in its innate abstraction, its purity and its truth.

She believed in that strange, special place where the what and the who are one.

Goldshmidt died in Jerusalem on March 7, 2013.

To view more of her art, go to

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