Shalom of Safed
For most of his 85 years, Shalom Moskowitz known familiarly to his friends and neighbors as "Shalom the Watchmaker", lived in total obscurity in the Galilean hilltop town of Safed.
Forced to support his family in early adolescence, he worked mainly as a watchmaker but also as a scribe, a stonemason, and a silversmith. After the destruction of his watch repair shop in the 1948 War of Independence, he scraped out a living by selling plywood toys colored with crayons which he has begun by making for his grandchildren. These wooden toys where spotted by the Israeli artist, Yossel Bergner in the early 1950's and Shalom was encouraged to take up painting.
From that time and until his death in January 1980, "Shalom of Safed", as he became known internationally, produced an extraordinary series of delightful "naive" works which led to his being recognized as one of the great folk artists of our age.