Heddy Kun was born Davidowitz in Elok, near Zagreb, Yugoslavia, 1936.
Her parents and her second brother, Eliezer, were murdered in Auschwitz after smuggling Heddy and her brother Shalom to Budapest to live with their mother’s parents and sister. One day in 1944, when her aunt was renewing the children’s residency permits at the Hungarian Immigration Office, her aunt, too, was murdered: shot, and thrown into the Danube, the fate of so many that the water was red with blood.
Heddy began painting as a very young child. Due to the almost unimaginable harshness of her wartime experiences, she stopped: her favorite game was was counting the bodies of those who had died the night before in the crowded ghetto where she lived. She has never worn earrings since the day an SS officer tore the last gift of her parents to her from her ears. They were pretty, and what did a Jewish child, soon to be murdered, need them for anyway?
After the war, in the mountains, in a village where they were the only Jews, and yet were also treated with great warmth, Heddy began painting again. She painted the village and the landscape, and ever since, flowers have remained her first, great love. Her grandfather, who was aware of the rare talent his granddaughter showed, bought her first easel as well as canvas and colors. In 1956, after she had graduated from the Budapest Academy of Fine Arts, she followed Shalom and immigrated to Israel.
Heddy made her life in Tel Aviv; her first job was at the Rosenthal factory for plates and domestic utensils where she decorated plates for three years. Then on a walk one day in the white city, she noticed a man selling shirts from a cart, at a corner of a street and she had an idea. She offered to draw flowers on his shirts. He gave her the shirts, she painted on them, and they shared the profits. That man was Aharon Castro, the founder of Israel’s Castro fashion chain. Since then, her artistic activity has been varied and rich. For over 60 years she has been painting her optimistic, colorful and deep paintings, decorating them with flowers, rich-looking landscapes, beautiful houses and blue ocean, not allowing the war to rob her of her joie de vivre.
Today, she is a wife, mother, and grandmother, living in a Tel Aviv flat filled with her work. Her son, Shay, is a painter too, lives and works in New York. This abbreviated biography is drawn from her web site.
Zeev Kun was born in Hungary in 1930 and survived Auschwitz; after the war, he studied in Budapest( 1948-50), and Vienna (1951-53) before immigrating to Israel in 1954 and marrying Heddy Kun, a famous artist in her own right. He exhibited in many shows, both with other artists and solo, in Israel, Europe and America.
Kun was strongly influenced by Impressionism, and known for the sensitivity of his work as a landscape painter, a portraitist and painter of nudes. He was described as interesting, and both vigorously talented and modest.
Later, he became known for his paintings of inanimate objects, which we might call still lifes. His work was devoid of gimmicks and pop-art influence, in keeping with his modesty. He allowed his compositions to tell their own story in their own quiet voices, but he was not bound by conventional combinations of objects or color compositions. This quiet idiosyncrasy invites the viewer into a long and silent conversation with the painting, during which the painting imparts its secrets at leisure, making the viewer feel as though he were part of the picture.