Yohanan Simon was born into a Jewish family in 1905 in Berlin, Germany. He studied medicine for a year before enrolling at the Frankfurt Art Academy, where he was taught by Expressionist painter Max Beckman. In the late 1920s, he travelled to Spain and later to France, where he studied painting with Andre Derain, one of the founders of Fauvism. Simon worked as a graphic designer in Paris before immigrating to Palestine in 1936; he was a member of the Gan Schmuel kibbutz from 1937 until 1953, when he moved to Tel Aviv. During the 1950s, he travelled extensively in South America, Europe (holding a solo exhibition at Ben Uri in 1951) and the USA. Influenced by his travels, his style became more abstract and his colours brighter and hotter. In the 1960s, he had solo exhibitions in Germany, the USA and Switzerland; he died in 1976.