A visit to the atelier of the renowned artist Shmuel Katz, located in his house at Kibbutz Gaaton, provides an unusual experience to its visitors. The atelier resides at the Veterans Neighborhood, surrounded by a magical garden overlooking the Yehiam Fortress.
Shmuel Katz was one of the most important designers of Israeli culture, a painter of war and a painter of peace, who documented Israel’s history in drawings and caricatures.
A multifarious person, who possessed many virtues and was a military painter, participated in all the wars and drew badges and symbols for Israel and for the IDF while enjoying a special privilege that allowed him to enter into places where photographers were not allowed to enter, but he was allowed to draw.
There isn’t a single person that grew up as a child in Israel who doesn’t know the works of Shmuel Katz – he illustrated the book “A Flat for Rent” and the images of Yaron Zehavi, Shulamit the nurse, thin Uzi, fat Ehud and Menashe the Yemenite from “Hasamba”, the legends of Hans Christian Andersen and the books of Ayin Hillel and his works can be found in every residence in Israel.
The atelier’s walls tell Katz’s life story. The man who molded the image of the powerful Israeli Sabra, alongside memorabilia from important events that took place throughout the life of the State of Israel, such as: a personal invitation to be a guest at the peace talks between Jordan and Israel that were held between King Hussein and Yitzhak Rabin, a gold plate designed by Katz which was given as a gift to President Carter by Menachem Begin, an incredible photograph of the artist exiting the internment camp in Cyprus while playing an accordion and holding in his mouth the certificate that authorized him to immigrate to the State of Israel, a caricature of the guests who attended the peace talks that were held in Geneva and were invited to the special journey byYitzhak Rabin,which includes the signatures of all the participants, a picture of President Sadat in his native village in Egypt and more.
Diverse pictures that document the artist and his meetings with important artists such as the renowned painter Pablo Picasso with the artist’s signature.
The atelier offers diverse activities and their culmination is a fascinating meeting with Naomi Katz, Katz’s widow, who tells the visitors about his life and work.
Activities intended for children are held at the atelier and as part of these activities, the story “A Flat for Rent”, that was adapted into a play, is told be means of puppets.
The activities intended for adults also include, in addition to the meeting with Naomi Katz, a tour throughout the Kibbutz and at the locations where the artist’s works are exhibited.