About Jacques Lieberman
The story of Jacques Lieberman
This is Jacques Lieberman, the creator of the images you see on this website and a man with a fascinating history.
Born in Antwerp, Belgium on February 19, 1936, Jacques quickly became a young Jewish refugee of the Second World War. His parents, Frieda and Hersch Lieberman, fled to Puisserguier, France in 1940 and in 1942 when the Nazis invaded France, Jacques' parents decided to send him away with an underground network of French Catholics who were hiding and protecting Jewish refugees throughout the country. At the age of six, Jacques kissed his parents goodbye not knowing the fate of his life. It was the last time he would ever see his parents.
Jacques was handed to a French Protestant family in Beziers, France and lived with them for three years, adopting their last name (Loriol) and even attending Protestant ceremonies, having not yet fully grasped his Jewish heritage. When the Nazis began to approach their small village, the oldest Loriol daughter, Renee, took Jacques to the mountains near the border of Switzerland to further conceal him. Jacques and Renee spent three months in the mountains and it was during this time that Jacques became acquainted with nature’s beauty. Everyday, he spent hours picking wild mountain flowers, and assembled a fresh bouquet for Renee before dinner time. He ran his hands through the fields, soaking in the colors while he contemplated which flower to pluck next. Never in his life had he been so awakened by the colors of nature. The mountains provided to Jacques his first example of what a color palette might look like. It is an experience that is forever ingrained in his memory.
When the war ended in 1945, a strange man claiming to be Jacques' uncle came looking for him in Beziers. At the age of nine, Jacques' life would take yet another turn. Uncle Joseph took Jacques to Switzerland where he was reunited with cousins and other relatives. Uncle Joseph returned to his residence in Israel and Jacques stayed with an aunt and a cousin in Zurich. At some point during his stay in Zurich, someone gifted Jacques a box of colored pencils and he discovered the thrill of putting pencil to paper. He loved to draw mountains and flowers, the same that he had grown up with in France. He also became reacquainted with his Jewish heritage, attending general studies during the day and Jewish school in the evenings, eventually converting to Orthodox Judaism. He also discovered the magic of skiing in the Alps, a hobby he continues to practice today.
His life took another turn when in 1949 at the age of 13, he was transported to Haifa, Israel by his aunt and lived in a kibbutz for almost four years. In the kibbutz, he met other orphans of the war and learned to speak and read in Hebrew. He learned about agriculture, tended to cattle and even became a skilled electrician. He left the kibbutz when he was 16 years old and decided to complete his studies on his own, living with his uncle Joseph and aunt Giza. He graduated from high school and joined the compulsory Israeli service and attended night classes in architectural drafting. He immediately loved it, as it reminded him of the magic he felt when he used those colored pencils in Switzerland.
After his mandatory military service, he quickly got a job as an architectural drafter in Tel Aviv and at the age of 23, he decided to travel to New York City to study architecture. He arrived in Brooklyn in 1959 and enrolled at the Pratt Institute to fulfill this mission. He studied at Pratt for three years before deciding to leave so he could begin working. As Jacques’ career began to form as an architectural designer, he remembered the flowers in the mountains and the colored pencil box. He yearned to immerse himself in color and so he decided to paint as a hobby. After moving to Gramercy Park, he began to paint in the evenings after coming home from work. Slowly, his canvasses became bigger and bigger and he enrolled himself in night classes at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan where he learned how to do silk screening.
Eventually, Jacques moved to Prince Street in SoHo. He lived among contemporaries such as Kieth Haring, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Jacques divided his spacious apartment into two: a living space for himself and a makeshift gallery space that he named 'Al Conic' for local artists to showcase their work. He placed a sign downstairs advertising the gallery space for rent and experienced huge success. He continued to paint and sell his own art, making enough to quit his job to become a full-time artist and gallery manager. As demand grew for his gallery, he decided to rent an even bigger space on Broome Street: 7,000 square feet of commercial space that he would divide into five different galleries. He named it The National Art Gallery and advertised it in the Village Voice. The demand was explosive and soon artists were traveling from all over the world to bring their art to Broome Street. He managed the gallery and continued to sell his paintings for nine years.
In 1988, a new software called Adobe Photoshop launched to help with graphics editing. Jacques decided to purchase it so he could make preliminary sketches for his paintings. But as he learned how to use the software, he realized he could use the same color palettes and geometric design capabilities to create colorful pieces of art in a fraction of the time it took him to create a painting. He began making hundreds of new pieces each week, with striking colors and shapes dancing on the screen. He blew these up, printed them in high resolution and sold these prints to the public with huge success. His prints caught the attention of renown art critics such as Holland Cotter, currently an art critic of the New York Times and maintained his own gallery space on Broome Street selling his art. Thus, Jacques Lieberman became the first ever artist to create art in Adobe Photoshop, making digital art throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
Today, Jacques and his wife Maribel reside in SoHo, Manhattan with their young daughter Angelina Lieberman and their three-year old pug, Willow. Jacques continues to enjoy skiing in Colorado and makes frequent trips to Israel to visit family. It was only in his adult life that Jacques discovered his parents had perished at a concentration camp in Germany in 1944. Of his art, Jacques says “It’s simply me delivering joy to the public. I hope they feel joy."