Ephraim Moses Lilien is an extremely interesting artist. He was an outstanding graphic artist, coming from an Orthodox Jewish family, an active Zionist and an illustrator. An artist who in his home country never received the recognition he enjoyed abroad.
Lilien’s family was poor, so Ephraim Moses had to work in order to help his relatives. He got a job in Lviv painting signs and that was his first artistic occupation.
Having earned enough money, he went to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna to take a drawing course. Later he continued his education in Munich, where he became interested in illustrative graphics which made him very popular.
Bruno Schultz dedicated one of his essays to Lilien, where he expressed his opinion that Lilien’s art was more closely related to German art than to Polish art which based on models drawn from France. This may have contributed to the artist’s greater popularity outside Poland.
Lilien’s works are characterised by great contrast and linearity. Thematically they refer to Jewish art, but formally they remain closely related to Art Nouveau. Illustrations constitute a majority of Lilien’s works, but an equally large part are bookplates, amassed, among others, in the collection of The Princes Lubomirski Museum. The collection included Lilien's own bookplate, on which the artist depicted a naked woman reading a book. On the sides of the composition, he placed inscriptions in Hebrew, including the maxim “for the pure – everything is pure”.