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Ukrainian-Jewish painter Issachar Ber Ryback was born at present-day Kirowohrad in Ukraine in 1897, and studied at the Kiev Academy of Art where he joined a vibrant circle of Jewish artists and writers.
Exhibiting in Kiev and Moscow he quickly received critical acclaim and worked closely with artists of the Russian avant-garde. Having witness the Russian Revolution of 1917, after his father was killed in 1921 during Colonel Symon Petliura’s pogroms, Ryback fled to Lithuania and obtained a German visa. Arriving in Berlin Ryback quickly became a member of the Novembergruppe, exhibiting abstract paintings with the Berliner Secession and the Juryfreien Kunstausstellung. From Berlin he also produced commercial illustrations and lithographs and designs for Soviet theatres in Moscow and Ukraine.
In 1926 Ryback moved to Paris where he remained for the rest of his life, ceasing painterly abstraction in pursuit of a new form of expressionism holding much in common with that of the modern School of Paris. Ryback held his first one-man show in 1928 at Galerie aux Quatre Chemins in Paris and in 1929 at the Galerie L’Art Contemporain. He later exhibited widely in Holland (1930) and Belgium (1932) and once at Cambridge in the United Kingdom (1935).
Dying suddenly in 1935, he was unable to witness the large retrospective of his work held later that year at the Wildenstein Galleries in Paris. Although some of his work is held in international private collections, much of it features at the Museum Ryback at Bat Yam in Israel.