Michael Kovner was born in 1948 in Hadera, Israel, son of Vitka and Abba Kovner who was one of Israel’s leading modern poets. He was raised on Kibbutz Ein-Hachoresh, where he connected with the natural landscape at an early age: 'I was deeply attracted to the physical beauty of the world and wanted to give expression to that love through painting.' After his army service, Kovner studied with Philip Guston, Jack Tworkov, Steven Sloman and Mercedes Matter among others, at the New York Studio School between 1972 and 1975. The experience and influences of this milieu remain evident in his work. American art critic Donald Kuspit wrote in 2010: “Kovner’s impressionistic-expressionistic rendering of nature [reflects] his aesthetic love affair with nature,” and added that his paintings are 'radiant and intense with light and colour… aesthetic delights'.

Kovner has held many solo exhibitions in galleries and museums across Israel including the Museum of Israeli Art (in Ramat Gan outside Tel Aviv) and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; and in the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, USA). His paintings are present in major international public and private collections including The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, the Israeli President’s Residence (Jerusalem) and The Jewish Museum (New York). Michael lives and works both in Israel and the USA.