Yankel Ginzburg was born Yuri Zhukov in 1945 in Alma-Ata, capital of the Kazakhstan Republic near the Chinese border. His parents were both Russian Army officers. His mother was the daughter of Marshal Georgi Zhukov, chief of the general staff of the Red Army and after Stalin's death, briefly, minister of defense. His father, a lawyer, fled from Poland and became an officer in the Russian Army. Ginzburg did not even know he was a Jew until he was nine; the family escaped to Israel in 1957.
In 1968, Ginzburg was invited to the USA as the gues of Howard J. Samuels, who was the Under Secretary of Commerce for Lyndon Johnson. Soon after his arrival he was honored with a one man show at the Washinton Gallery of Art sponsored by the Ambassador of Israel and Lynda Bird Johnson.
Ginzburg came to Washington, Dc speaking Russian, Polish, Hebrew, and virtually no English however he spoke through his paintings, projecting creativity, vitality, and humanity, by sheer force of personality and charater. In a remakably short span of time Ginzburg was conversant in English and was captivating a rapidly growing audience with his distinctive art style and charismatic temperment.
Mystical symbolism and religious overtones typify the artist's earlier works and offer and intriguing representation fo the meshing of Gentile and Jew, Russian and Israeli. As the artist has continued to grow he has expanded to a different spectrum of motifs, modes, and techniques. One senses stylistic elements reminiscent of Miro and Kandinsky and surrealistic components. Ginzburg is deeply attached to traditional artistic virtues such as craftmanship, refinement of surface and detail, and conceptions of structure. However, the main thrust and spirit in all his works clearly and uniquely his own.
In 1972, as Ginzburg's fame and popularity widened he held one-man exhibitions in Washington, DC, New York City, and Paris.
The artist has been honored with the distinction of a formal invitation from the Egyptian Embassy to meet with Anwar Sadat at the Camp David Summit. He is to become the first Israeli artist to exhibit in Cairo. The goal of Ginzburg's forthcoming Mid-East trip will be to bring the people of Israel and the people of Egypt closer through appreciation of the arts.