Bencjon Rabinowicz (1905-1989) was one of the most outstanding French artists of the 1st half of the 20th century, he was a painter and graphic artist, a son of an architect and grandson of a rabbi from Białystok. At first, between 1922 and 1924, he received education in his home town in an atelier of a passed into oblivion painter Mikołaj Dadyjas.
At that time the young artist created theatre scenery and watercolour pictures, unfortunately today we do not know anything about them. He had his first exhibition very early, at the age of 22, in Vilnius and Białystok. Rumour has it that at the time he set up an artistic school in his own house, but we do not know anything more about it as well. Two years later he took part in an exhibition in Zachęta National Gallery in Warsaw and in the Winter Salon in Białystok.
In 1929 he got a scholarship for further education in Paris where he stayed for good. From 1932 on he participated in numerous exhibitions in Paris using a pseudonym “Benn”. During World War II he was active in the resistance movement. After the War he visited briefly his home town looking for his relatives.
Bencjon Rabinowicz was not only born in Białystok, but together with other artists such as Nachum Edelman, Michał Duniec, Ichiel Tynowicki and Czesław Sadowski he created Grupa Plastyków Białostockich “Forma – Farba – Faktura” (the Group of Artists from Białystok “Form – Paint – Texture”). Today we do not know much about this group, only a modest number of catalogues from the group’s few exhibitions held in Białystok were preserved to this day. In 1931 almost completely forgotten artist Michał Duniec took part in the Autumn Salon in Białystok and in an exhibition organised by the Warsaw Institute for the Promotion of Art. We know almost nothing about life and works of painters from this group: Duniec, Tynowicki, and Edelman; apart from Sadowski, whose works were preserved.
However, Ronit Efroni, one of Virtual Shtetl users and a granddaughter of a woman who was Michal Duniec's sister, has shed more light on this painter. It appears that Michal (Misza) Duniec was born in 1912. He survived the Second World War as a partisan living in the woods. Afterwards, he made his living in Leningrad, where he got married and had two daughters (see the gallery to have a look at some of his paintings and historical pictures of the painter).
Bencjon Rabinowicz belongs to a large group of artists who were forgotten in their home town.