This depicts King David playing the harp, along with a verse in Hebrew from the Psalms. all made by hand. woven and stitched.
Kopel Gurwin (Hebrew: קופל גורבין) (1923–1990) was an Israeli tapestry wall hanging, painter and graphic artist.
Kopel (Kopke') Gurwin (Gurwitz) was born and raised in Vilna, the capital of Lithuania. He spoke Yiddish at home, but simultaneously studied Hebrew at their school which was part of the Tarbut educational network. Kopel was active in the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement. In the 1930s, as a teenager, Kopel helped his parents with the home finances by working in a suit workshop, there he first encountered the art of sewing.
With the outbreak of the Second World War and the German invasion of Vilna, the Jews were imprisoned in camps and ghettos. Kopel and his brother Moshe were separated from their parents and were put to work in coal mines and peat. Kopel's parents were taken to the Stutthof Nazi concentration camp where they died of typhus within a month of each other. Kopel's 12-year-old sister Chava was turned over to the Germans by a Polish family and murdered.
The brothers were arrested by the Germans, but were saved thanks to the connections of Nina Gerstein, Kopel's drama teacher. They hid in an attic until they were discovered, fled and moved to Riga, where they were caught and sent to the Stutthof concentration camp where they were imprisoned until the end of the war. They were put to work maintaining and cleaning trains and took part in one of the death marches. In July 1946, Kopel and Moshe sailed to Helsingborg, Sweden, as part of operation "Folke Bernadotte", in which Sweden took in ill survivors for rehabilitation. Once he recovered, Kopel worked in a publishing house and later was appointed director of the local branch of the Halutz movement.
In 1950 Kopel and Moshe made aliyah to Israel. Kopel worked as a survey for the Survey of Israel Company. In 1951, he enlisted to the Communication Corps and served as a military draftsman. There he won first prize for the design of the front cover of the Communication Corps bulletin.
With his discharge from the army at 29 he started studying drawing and graphics at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Among his teachers were Isidor Ascheim, Shlomo Vitkin, Yossi Stern and Jacob Steinhardt. At the end of his first year of study, Kopel won the Reuben and Sarah Lif Excellence Award in written studies. During his studies he also won additional prizes: In 1956 he won first prize from the Lethem Foundation in California for poster design. Later the same year, Kopel won the Hermann Struck prize for his drawing on the theme of Jerusalem.
In 1957 he won an additional first prize from the Lethem Foundation and second place from the printing company Ortzel for a drawing for a Jewish New Year greeting card. In 1958 he won first prize in a competition to design a poster for Tel Aviv's jubilee.
Two years later he won three other awards: First and third prize for designing a poster for Israel Independence Day, celebrating 12 years of the State of Israel.
Also that year Kopel won first prize for a poster to mark the 25th Zionist Congress.
In 1964 he entered the Independence Day poster competition on the theme of aliyah and won first and second prize. Four years later he again entered the competition on the theme of 20 years of Israel's independence and won first prize. The poster was styled like a Holy Ark curtain with two lions and a menorah at its centre. This poster appeared on the cover of the famous book Jewish Art and Civilization, edited by Geoffrey Wigoder as well as the record Voices of 20 Years, 1948-1968, edited by Yossi Godard. In April 1971 he won first prize in the Independence Day poster competition for the fourth time.
Kopel's Folk Art tapestry won the Israeli Independence Day Poster Contest in 1968
With the completion of his studies at Bezalel Kopel moved to Tel Aviv and was hired by Shmuel Grundman's graphics and design studio. Grundman took him to Europe with him to design and supervise the construction of Israeli exhibition pavilions. During his time at Grundman's he discovered the fibrous felt from which he produced most of his wall hangings. At the 1964 Levant Fair exhibition he used felt stuck onto wooden panels for the first time.
The first felt wall hanging that Kopel produced was intended for the American Cultural Centre in Jerusalem and its theme was the United States Declaration of Independence. The wall hanging, which measured 2.85 X 1.85 meters, was stuck on a wooden panel. Kopel ordered rolls of felt from France and began work on wall hangings based on bible stories. He used a needle, hand sewing small even stitches with black embroidery thread which framed and highlighted every detail in the work, as well as using appliqué. The interior designer, Alufa Koljer-Elem, introduced him to Ruth Dayan who managed the shop Maskit in September 1967 he opened his first solo exhibition at the Maskit 6 gallery, in which 12 wall hangings were displayed.
In light of the exhibition at Maskit 6, Meira Gera, the director of artistic activity at the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, organized an additional exhibition of his works at the foundation's exhibition hall in New York City. The exhibition sparked immense press interest, and was also displayed for a few months at the New York Jewish Museum, from where it travelled throughout the United States.
Followed by the exhibition at the Delson-Richter gallery in Old Jaffa, which was later also exhibited at the Jerusalem Theatre.
Kopel's tapestry "The Time for Singing has Arrived" was printed on a UNICEF greeting card in 1978 and again in 1981.
The Israeli Philatelic Service issued three stamps based on three of Kopel's holy ark curtains and one stamp based on an Independence Day poster he designed.
Kopel's creations decorate a large number of synagogues, public buildings, hotels and private collections which were purchased in Israel and around the world. They have decorated, among others, the walls of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the VIP room at Ben Gurion Airport, the Kfar Saba theatre and the Plaza Hotel in Tel Aviv.
1995 The Knesset Jerusalem
1988 Temple Beth Shalom Miami, Florida
1988 University of Jewish Studies Los Angeles
1987 Israel Congregation on the Northern Coast Chicago
1985 Jerusalem Theatre Jerusalem
1984 Tenafly New Jersey
1983 Horace Richter Gallery Old Jaffa
1974 Jerusalem Theatre Jerusalem
1974 Delson Richter Gallery Old Jaffa
1972 University of Jewish Studies Miami, Florida
1971 Jewish Museum New York
1970 Norman Gallery Canada
1970 Sharei Tzedek Congregation Winnipeg, Canada
1970 Gallery of the Year Los Angeles
1970 Gallery of the Year Scottsdale
1969 Gleeman Gallery Chicago
1969 Israel Congregation of the Northern Coast Chicago
1967 Maskit 6 Tel Aviv
1971 First Independence Day poster 1971, 23 yeaes of the State of Israel
1969 Second International Tel Aviv poster fair
1968 First Independence Day poster 1968, 20 years of the State of Israel
1964 First and Second Independence Day poster 1964,
1960 First Poster for the 25th Zionist Congress
1960 First and Third Independence Day poster 1960, 12 years of the State of Israel
1958 First Poster for the Tel Aviv jubilee
1957 Prize from the printing company Ortzel for a Jewish New Year greeting card
1957 First Foundation in California for poster design
1957 Herman Struck award for a drawing on the subject of Jerusalem
1956 First Prize from the Lethem Foundation in California for poster design
1954 Distinction Reuben and Sarah Lif award for distinction in calligraphy
1951 Front cover design for IDF Army Communication Corps bulletin