Pixelated 1954

One of the new banknotes issued by the Bank of Israel in December 2017 is a 100 Sheqalim note bearing the portrait of Leah Goldberg, one of the most prominent and prolific poets, authors and playwrights of Hebrew literature. Leah Goldberg's body of work addresses biographic and personal issues and the landscapes of Israel, among other things.


In 1954, while still regarded as a new immigrant, Paul Kor was invited to design banknotes for the Bank of Israel.

The State of Israel was still young, so Paul Kor painted a construction worker building the country, a scientist at the Weizmann Institute and many other images.


The painting style Kor used was a form of cubism – the entire canvas was made up of tiny pixels, as if those banknotes had been drawn by a computer – although Paul Kor never touched a computer in his life.

Painter Mordechai Ardon, who was a member of the design competition committee, told Paul Kor: "My dear friend, you are ahead of your time. This is still unacceptable." Paul Kor won a special commendation for his banknote designs.


The banknotes Paul Kor had designed for the Bank of Israel were eventually issued in 1975. Here is one example: