Yohanan Simon was born in 1905 in Berlin.
Simon studied in the studio of Max Backman. In the late 20's he joined a circle of young painters around Andre' Derain. Later he lived in Paris until he immigrated to Palestine in 1936. From that year until 1953 he was a member of Kibbutz Gan-Shmuel. Yohanan Simon was active in the Hagana and participated in the War of Liberation. Since 1953 he has lived in Tel-Aviv. In 1954-55 and 1961 he traveled extensively in South America and the United States and during 1958-9 in Europe. Since 1962 he lived in Herzelia, Israel.
Simon's early work can be described as Social Realism, he used to paint scenery from the Kibbutz. In his mature work, after he traveled in South America, he freed himself from the social realism and became more abstract and colorful. His work was influenced by the Fauvism of Lager, Derain and Diego Rivera.
Simon died in 1976.