Yonatan Darmon

Sculpture of Tzfat

Coming as a volunteer to Israel during and after the 1967 Six-Day War, Yonatan Darmon decided that his future was in Israel. Born and raised in Toulouse France, Yonatan had studied sculpture in one of France's foremost Art Schools, but there was no certainty that he would be able to make a living as an artist in Israel. Yet, in 1970, he came to Israel, ready to do whatever he needed to do to make it his home.

Yonatan lived and worked on a kibbutz for 5 years, but continued to study sculpture in the artists' village of Ein Hod. When he moved to Haifa, he studied at the University of Haifa, and was then hired by the university to teach in their art school. His career was flourishing and secure, yet he was still searching for a community in which he could work and exhibit his art.

A relationship with the Tzfat sculptor Moshe Ziffer gave Yonatan and his wife, Vedad, the idea to explore the idea of joining the Artists Association of Tzfat. This community developed in the 1950s, when the Artists Quarter of Tzfat was founded, and became the first collective of artists in Israel.  Some of Israel's finest and best-known artists were members. Yonatan and Vedad bought a small house in the quarter, and Yonatan has developed his sculpture, and his gallery, throughout the years.

A Labor of Love

Yonatan has developed a system of creating his sculptures that has carried him for many years. Each year, he decides on a theme for that year. (Some recent themes have been: Strong Women, Motherhood and Couplehood). He starts out by doing a number of sketches of the kind of sculpture that he would like to produce. As time develops, he begins to work with clay, molding it repeatedly as he tries to create the form that will represent this theme. When he is satisfied with the form, he casts it in plaster of paris, and then puts it aside for several weeks. He later comes back to it with a new eye, able to see the blemishes and mistakes that he can correct. When he is satisfied with its final shape, he has it cast in bronze in several different sizes. Though if he decides that it does not meet his expectations, he throws the work out and starts from scratch.

Yonatan has served on the Central Committee of the Tzfat Artists Association for ten years, and headed it for four. His works are on permanent display in galleries throughout the world, and are included in many private collections. He can be contacted at [email protected]