Israeli artist Arikha was born in Romania. He studied in Paris from 1949 to 1951, making it his permanent home in 1954. After establishing himself as an illustrator, Arikha made abstract paintings until 1965. After this time, he restricted himself to drawing and etching, making a series of portraits of his friend, the playwright Samuel Beckett. When he began painting again in 1973, Arikha worked exclusively from life, painting quickly and straight onto the canvas using oil paints. The National Galleries of Scotland own several of Arikha's portraits, which are notable for their sense of calm and mastery of colour.