• Issue: March 1986
  • Designer: Y. Granot (drawings by Pablo Picasso)
  • Stamp size: 60 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 1
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

Arthur Rubinstein was born in Poland in 1887. At the early age of three, he began to play the piano and he gave l)is first concert at the age of 11 in Berlin. His first concert in the USA was given in Philadelphia in 1906. After the First World War, Rubinstein made his home in New York and from there he went on concert tours to Spain and Latin America. In 1946 he became an American citizen.

At first, Rubinstein was mainly considered as a brilliant interpreter of Chopin but gradually he added to his repertoire works by composers of the pre-classical period and up to the present time. He became known as an artist of deep and sensitive understanding and his concerts attracted music-lovers of every description. Rubinstein liked his audience and was not averse to appearing in front of one quite often; there were times when he gave about 150 concerts a year, many for the benefit of charitable institutions. He also played and recorded chamber music with Heifetz, Feuerman, Piatigorsky and others.

Rubinstein, by no means living in an ivory tower, loved to be involved in whatever was going on around him and he identified closely with the Jewish people and the State of Israel. More than once he raised his voice in protest against cases of injustice. To quote President Chaim Herzog: "...for the better part of a century Arthur Rubinstein brought listeners throughout the world the inspiration and joy of his superb art. But, in addition, he was surely one of that minority among gifted artists whose energies are not concentrated exclusively on their art and to whom nothing human is alien."

No doubt Arthur Rubinstein "belongs to the whole world" but deep down in his heart and in his thoughts there was always the close feeling for the young State of Israel and its people. He never missed a chance to express his support for it and he gave most generous support to its cultural development and international standing. It was in this spirit of support that he gave his agreement to hold the International Piano Competition - which bears his name - in Israel.

In his will, he asked that his last resting place be in Israel and after he died, in 1982, his remains were interred in Jerusalem.

In Israel, even during his lifetime his name was honoured by the creation of a Chair of Musicology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, by the planting of a Rubinstein Forest and by the founding of the International Rubinstein Association for Music, whose activities include the International Competition named for him.

The competition has taken place in Israel once every three years since 1974. Young artists from all over the world, as well as Israel, take part in this competition, which has gained international prestige.

Rubinstein saw in this event the possibility of advancing cultural work in Israel and he donated a set of portrait sketches of himself, drawn by Picasso, for the establishment of a fund for the competition. These sketches serve as the subject of the stamp, now issued in Rubinstein's honour. The issue of the stamp coincides with the Fifth International Rubinstein Piano Competition which will be held in April 1986 and which will open the Year of Arts in Israel and the worldwide festivities in honour of the 100th anniversary of this great artist's birth.

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Arthur Rubinstein