Miriam Dauber was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1946 and immigrated to Israel in 1958. In high school she majored in art and after military service as a graphics designer and draftswoman went to France to study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. From there she continued her art studies at the Saint Martin's School of Arts in London, and her work was displayed in various exhibitions in London in 1967-1968. She was invited to the island of Minorca near Spain in order to take part in the reconstruction and redesign of an ancient church, where she designed a painted glass ceiling.
In 1969 she returned to Israel, opened her own studio and began painting on old furniture and kitchenware. She then began displaying her work in solo exhibitions in Israel and overseas – in the US, Germany (Munich, Berlin and a museum in Hamburg), Italy (Venice and Padova) and Japan – and has been very successful.
Her style is very personal and influenced by the Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Rococo and the Neo Classical Period in Europe.
Mischief, humor and fantasy in the work of Miriam Dauber
With her unique style, compared to other painters, Miriam Dauber is… simply Miriam Dauber.
An important German critic who had seen her paintings said: this painter should not be compared to any other artist and should not be ascribed to any art school. She is herself, a sort of phenomenon, a unique manifestation in today’s world of plastic art.
What’s the secret of her art? Four main elements: painting, color, fantasy and humor. If we add to these the elements of the world of yesterday where clothes are elaborate like the compositions of Tuluz Lotrek – elegant bearded men like the ones he liked to show spending time in living rooms filled with random dandies, furniture taken from different periods, figures of tasteless people – Miriam Dauber highlights these with her sarcastic paintbrush and seems to do so with great pleasure. If we add all these elements to her fabulous talent, we can see with complete certainty that she is a unicum – outstanding in her creations.
Everything comes alive in this painter – a tireless desire to share her pleasure and joy, and an ability to express herself as she wishes. Miriam Dauber paints the figures and faces of former generations, even from the period of Louis XIV or possibly Queen Victoria. Dukes, lords, marquises and ladies pace before us, and with them our eyes catch their surrounding environments and the painter’s palette. Out of deep ecstasy she uses the thinnest of brushes and involves herself with miniature details. Thus she creates exceptional paintings – strange, picturesque – that seemingly belong to the long gone world of the Baroque.
It all comes to life with her colors – the lives of rich men, the social nights of high society – but they are not a game of ruin and destruction, but a satire that always reaches a high point. She places women in the category of babblers, gossipmongers, serpents – and they seem to have no other purpose than meddling in others’ affairs. Unlike paintings made by others, Miriam Dauber sees mischief, humor, fantasy, irony and imagination in the world of worldly people. She avoids aggression and uses caricature with the talent of a painter. She is far from living as some sterile conformist, despite her expressive painting, which is almost Baroque like.
Her painting has a humanistic and plastic tradition, whether her creations are appreciated or criticized by minimalists. What she is attempting to achieve is complete, total, picturesque expression. Her themes are nice and amusing, and are highlighted with a light of humor that befits them. Her pain provides a highly personal note to a work showing great artistic and intellectual certainty. She has sound senses, and her impressions of the simplest of things, coupled with her virtuosity, show her strong position.
Her treatment of things, her emotions, the desire to see every tiny detail and express it, the seriousness of form, the clear transparent color, the liveliness of emphatic softness – all these show that Miriam Dauber enjoys looking at life and its eternal rattle, commotion and noise.
When you look at her paintings from up close, they seem ironic and clever, but not evil. You feel as though you are browsing through an unusual photo album, a sort of human atlas filled with smiles, behaviors of figures of the past, that are however interestingly similar to what you can meet today in a crowd. Souls, hearts, ambitions, vices – aren’t these the same in every generation? And this is precisely what her artistic momentum shows us by combining the artist’s humor with her almost demonic use of colors and hues. Her imagination is pleasant to the eye. With her manicured fingers she applies red polish to an environment and picture that has happened many years before her, in an era when there was still no manicure. Light, motion and life make her creations into actual etudes of past atmospheres.
In spite of everything, Miriam Dauber is a romanticist, and often covers up psychological expression. In her style she is unique among plastic artists – a true discovery.