Raffi Kaiser was born in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1931.

He studied at the Fine Arts School in Tel-Aviv, at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and later at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence.

In the early 60s he lived in Toscany and studied Medieval and Renaissance art.

Kaiser moved to Paris in 1962.

He participated in many group exhibitions and held one man exhibitions in several galleries worldwide.

Kaiser is the only living western artist whose works were presented at the Musée Guimet in Paris. His works are shown in different galleries in Germany, Israel, Italy, the United States and France.

In 2007 he participated in the prestigious exhibition “Japan and the West” at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany.

In his drawings one sees an infinite variety of landscapes: hills and clouds, canyons, lakes, waterfalls, deserts, mountains and trees.

His drawings are inspired from what he saw while visiting places such as the Negev and Judean deserts in Israel, the Japanese Alps and the Chinese mountains, the Great Canyon (Colorado), and recently Mont Athos (Greece) among others.

Being a great traveler, his landscapes are indicated with only a few strokes on an empty ground – there are intermediate spaces – emptiness and silence – that become in their turn the subjects.


Olive Tree,  Indian ink on Canson paper

Olive Tree, Indian ink on Canson paper 56x76cm












Primordial  Landscapes

Raffi Kaiser

Some years ago, I reached a point where I felt the need to meditate about things. I had to understand where I stood with my work and to decide what direction to follow. I had to leave the world in which I lived, to break off with the routine and above everything else to be alone. That was the reason why I went wandering alone in the Israeli desert. It was in my beloved desert that I found the ideal place for reflection and deepening thoughts.

There was nothing mystical in the step I took. I simply wanted to be on my own and think. For I could not remain idle, I started drawing these landscapes I saw around me.

After days and days of wandering in this immense space, I started to feel that I was no longer just a visitor, that I had become part of it, a tiny spot in that universe.

Back in my studio, I began drawing big landscapes, among which a particular one, realized on a roll of paper ten meters long, describes a place in the desert.

I then realized that I had reached a new mean of expression without consciously looking for it, that came across with the Chinese landscape drawing, especially the one realized on scrolls – drawing support of Chinese origin.

The characteristics of the lines that I drew – which can be seen as handwriting or calligraphy – remained of course, very Western; but the space conception was identical to that of Far-Eastern artists.

There were other similarities, to begin with – the utilization of the most simple means of expression, technically limited to monochrome drawing. During the early Period of Chinese art, monochrome drawing was considered as the most refined of all artistic means, and the landscape the noblest of subjects.

Another similarity was the realization of the landscape through a realistic transcription of a given site, looking at the same time for an equivalent of the trace left in the memory by the emotions it aroused. The result was a sensation of endless space, of spatial continuity from on drawing to another, which made each work into an element of a series, and above all, established a relationship between human being and landscape. In this representation of the world which surrounds us, man appears as a small fragment that becomes integrated without seeking to dominate.

I felt so close to the Chinese conception of landscape that China attracted me very much. I wanted to follow the steps of the Chinese artists, to work in the same places where they had worked.

And that’s what I did.

Relations between Occidental and Far-Eastern art go a long way back. But the communion that I am speaking about is of a different nature. I was not influenced by a given style or a technique. I try to express, in my own language, the feeling of a landscape which inspired me in the Israeli desert. It directed me towards the Far-Eastern conceptions.

I will add just a few more words concerning the particular characteristic of the drawing as a mean of artistic expression. One can compare it to chamber music or to a solo concert, in contrast to big symphony pieces. The drawing has reached the highest intensity of expression with the simplest means and the straightest roads: lines, spots, rhythms, empty spaces – silence. Resulting from these intimate meditations, from an inner dialogue of the artist with himself, drawing is the most direct and deepest mean of expression.

Nowadays in our society, the individual is permanently attacked by his surrounding: noise, speed, media, the twirl of fashions and tastes. He gets used to reacting only to shocks, and the most of contemporary works precisely search for such shocking effects.

My way leads to the opposite direction. While trying with all my strength not to get carried away by this furious rush, I try to remain still for a while, to meditate, to let the feelings emerge. And listen.