The most recognizable motif in his work was the colorful sheep paintings for which he rose to prominence.
Menashe Kadishman was born in Tel Aviv in 1932. He received his arts training from his studies, first with Moshe Sternschuss and later with Rudi Lehmann. During his period in the IDF, he served in the Nachal Brigade. He was a long-time member of Kibbutz Ma'ayan Baruch in northern Israel, where he worked as a shepherd.
The landscapes of the Jezreel Valley – and his work as a shepherd – left a deep impression on Kadishman which was expressed in his later art and his proclivity for painting sheep.
After spending several years in Jerusalem, Kadishman left Israel with his creative partner, Buky Schwartz, seeking a new challenge in London. He continued his studies in the United Kingdom at the Saint Martin's School of Art and the Slade School of Art, where he made the acquaintance of Anthony Caro.
Caro led a significant movement in sculpting during the 60's, with Kadishman and Schwartz by his side. During his 13-year residency in London, Kadishman built an international reputation. He was also married and had two children. Eventually, the couple split and Kadishman returned to Israel.
He then made Tel Aviv his new home and continued to create art both in Israel and aboard. His work has been exhibited across the world, since he first went global in 1967, winning the first prize at the 5th Paris Biennale.
Much of his work during his period – and into the early 70's – involved Minimalist sculptures which were characterized by their environment and seemed to defy gravity.
After the 70's, Kadishman began dedicating more of his time to painting. His evolving style was expressive and bursting with emotions. In the 90's, Kadishman shifted to painting hundreds upon hundreds of sheep portraits.
He also started exploring new motifs involving the experience of birth and death, as well as the "binding of Isaac" in the Torah.