Marcel Janco, born in Romania in 1895, had joined a group of artists at the Cafe Voltaire in Zurich, Switzerland in 1916 and was among the principal founders of the Dada Movement. Dada was a unique artistic movement which had a major impact on 20th century art. It was established in Cabaret Voltaire, in Zurich, Switzerland, by a group of exiled poets, painters and philosophers who were oppossed to war, agression and the changing world culture. Among the founders were Marcel Janco, Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings, Hans Arp, Richard Huelsenbeck, and Tristan Tzara.
Dada soirées featured spontaneous poetry, avant-garde music, and mask wearing dancers in elaborate shows. The Dadaists teased and enraged the audience through their bold defiance of Western culture and art, which they considered obsolete in view of the destruction and carnage of World War I. The Dadaists objected to the aesthetics of Western contemporary painting, sculpture, language, literature and music. The group published articles and periodicals, and mounted exhibitions. The seeds sown in Zurich spread throughout the world, resulting in new Dada organizations in Paris, New York, Berlin, Hannover, and more. Janco designed masks and costumes for the famous Dada balls, and created abstract reliefs in cardboard and plaster. He had an ecletic style in which he brilliantly combined abstract and figurative elements, expressionistic in nature.
In 1922 Marcel Janco returned to his native Romania, where he made his mark as a painter, theoretician and architect. In 1941 he moved to the land, which was to become the nation of Israel in 1948. It was here that Janco was one of the founders of the New Horizons Group, organized in 1948. In Israel, Janco painted idyllic watercolor and oil depictions of Safed and Tiberias and was captivated by the exotic sights of the Orient.
In 1953 on the ruins of an abandoned Arab village, Marcel Janco established the artists’ village known as Ein Hod, which now boasts the Janco Dada Museum. In 1967 he was awarded the Israel Prize for Painting. In the last years of his life he worked together with his friends to erect the Janco Dada Museum. Janco died ten months after the inauguration of the museum in 1984.