Moshe Kupferman was born in 1926 in Yaroslav, a town in south-eastern Poland, to a family of merchants that ran a textile shop. His forefathers were coppersmiths, which accounts for his surname (Kupfer-Man).
Kupferman and his elder sister were brought up by their parents, surrounded by their extended family.
As a child he attended the “Tarbut” school in Yaroslav, and celebrated his Bar-Mitzva less than a month before the beginning of World War II and the occupation of Poland.
The family was living under the occupation for a few months and was then deported, along with the majority of the Jewish population, to an area that bordered the Soviet territory. This deportation was a constitutive experience for Kupferman.
The Kupferman family made it to Lvov, and was deported from there in 1940 to Ural and later on to Kazakhstan. The years of wandering between labor camps were very difficult, years of hunger and diseases. Both of Kupferman’s parents passed away during that period. Young Moshe had to carry out strenuous physical labor in order to survive.
Few of the family memberes survived the war, and after its end Kupferman and his sister returned to Poland. The Poland they encountered, a Poland that had no Jewish population and no remnants of the world they had previously known, tremendously shocked them.
Kupferman joined the “Dror Movement” and moved to a Displaced Persons Camp in Germany. His sister stayed in Poland, where she died later on.
It was at the “Dror Movement” that the core of people who would later found Kibbutz Lohamei HaGetaot (the Ghetto Fighters’ Kibbutz), was formulated. These years placed Kupferman on a new track, one of fulfillment and creation together with other youthful people. In 1948 Kupferman and his friends did an Aliyah and settled in Israel.
Kupferman was professionally trained in construction in Kibbutz “Ein Harod”, and this became his profession for his first years in Israel. During his time in Ein Harod, Kupferman met Mia, with whom he shared his life until his last day.
In 1949 the young couple, together with the other members of the founding core, took possession of the land and founded Kibbutz Lohamei HaGetaot.
Moshe and Mia established a family, giving birth to three daughters and a son. They had an intrinsic role in building and strengthening the Kibbutz; the work and life of the Kibbutz, together with their family, had a central part in their own lives. As the years passed by, they became grandparents to 12 grandchildren.
The deportation, the wandering, the loss, the destruction and the survival on the one hand, and the building, the creation, the routine and the stability on the other hand, are all constitutive and present sources in Kupferman’s work.
Kupferman absorbed his love to the handicrafts since infantry: his father used to paint religious paintings and to create works of stained glass, and his mother used to weave dowries for brides. As a child, Kupferman used to sketch portraits.
In 1947, while participating at an international seminar of the Dror Movement, which took place at the Displaced Persons Camp in Germany, he began to sketch again, especially illustrations and caricatures.
During his early years in the Kibbutz, Kupferman worked at construction and at other productive sections, and there for dedicated merely part of his time to his paintings Saturdays. Nearly 20 years did he dividehis time between the work at the Kibbutz and the painting, until 1967, when he began to devote himself solely to the painting and to work at his studio – “the atelier”.
Kupferman was an autodidact. Despite his distinguished talent for painting he never formally studied art. However, at the beginning of the 50’s Kupferman joined short art courses, which were instructed by Zaritsky and Steimatzky and were attended by members of the Kibbutzim.
In 1961 Kupferman spent half a year in Paris, where he painted and absorbed art. In 1975 Kupferman visited the United States in honor of of a group exhibition in which he participated. He spent 4 months in New York, exhibited an individual exhibition at Bertha Urdnag Gallery and met with collegue-artists and art critics. During these journeys Kupferman was exposed to the broad world of art.
Throughout the years, Kupferman had both individual and group exhibitions exhibited in important galleries and museums, in Israel and all over the world (to the list of exhibitions); he won many prizes and acclaims.
Kupferman’s manner of creation is endowed with the working ethics of a laborer. He used to arrive to his work at the etelier every day, including Saturdays and holidays, until one month before he died. He passed away in June 2003.
- Schiff Prize – from the Haifa Municipality (1971)
- Sandberg Prize, Israel Museum, Jerusalem (1972)
- Haim Gamzou Prize for the Advancement of the Arts, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, (1991)
- Zusman Prize, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem (1996)
- Eugen Kolb Prize for Israeli Graphic Arts, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, (1998)
- Israel Prize for Painting (2000)
Kupferman while working at his studio