Logo for Passport LandPassport Land - Jacob Otto Pins (1917-2005)



Jacob Otto Pins (17 January 1917, H÷xter, Germany – 4 December 2005) was the son of Dr Leo Pins, a veterinarian, and his wife Ida Lipper. Otto Pins a German-Israeli woodcut artist and notable art collector, particularly of Japanese prints and paintings.

Jacob Pins moved to Palestine in 1936, on a student visa. His father tried to discourage him from studying art, believing it to be a poor choice financially. His younger brother Rudolph (born 1920) emigrated to the USA in 1934. Both of his parents died in the Riga ghetto in July, 1944, his father having earlier been imprisoned in Buchenwald.

Jacob Pins first lived on a kibbutz, which was disbanded in 1941. He moved to Jerusalem and studied woodcut and linocut under woodcut master and painter Jacob Steinhardt, also a German immigrant, at his small private school. He lived in poverty in a tiny room, subsisting on a meagre diet. He continued his studies at the new Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.

Pins bought his first oriental print in 1945, and acquired a house on Ethiopia Street, opposite the Ethiopian church, where he lived for the rest of his life. He continued collecting until his death and was one of Israel's foremost art collectors. His book on Japanese Pillar Prints, Hashira-e is the definitive work on the subject.

His own artwork was heavily influenced by German expressionism and traditional Japanese wood block printing.

From 1956–1977, Pins taught at all Israel's leading art schools, most notably Bezalel, where he later became a professor. He was known as a demanding teacher, emphasising strong technical skills and discipline.

In the 1950s, Pins established Jerusalem's Artists' House, which fast became a centre for the city's artists to both meet and exhibit. It remains central to the city's artistic life.

Jacob Pins was married to Elsa, the subject of a number of his prints, They had no children. He died in Jerusalem.

You can read more about him on Wikipedia.

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