Natan Szpigel (also known as Nathan Spiegel) was born into an Orthodox Jewish family in Łódź, now in Poland, in 1886, where he studied art before travelling to Rome on a scholarship in 1920 to continue his studies under Henryk (Enrico) Glicenstein. Spiegel was a key member of the Expressionist group Jung Jidysz (Young Yiddish), a Łódź-based group of painters and writers dedicated to the expression of their Jewish identity, which also included Jankel Adler. He was also a member of ‘Start’, a group of mainly Jewish, Łódź-based artists, who exhibited across Poland throughout the 1920s and 1930s. He first exhibited in Łódź in 1921, gaining attention in Paris following an invitation to show in the 1924 Salon d'Automne.
He was invited to exhibit at the Ben Uri Gallery in London in 1930, resulting in the 'Exhibition of Paintings in Oil and Watercolours by Nathan Spiegel' (52 works) at 63 Mansell Street, Aldgate, E1 (10-24 March 1931), with an introduction by Waldemar George, describing Spiegel as a 'visionary painter', painting realistic subject matter in a dramatic style. His work was also included in group shows at Ben Uri (as 'M. Szpigel') in the 1934 'Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture by Jewish Artists'; (as 'N. Szpigel') in the 1935 'Annual Exhibition of Works by Jewish Artists' and (again as N. Szpigel) in the 'Exhibition of Paintings by A. A. Wolmark (Konstam Collection) Dobrinsky – Paris and Selected Works from the Ben Uri Art Collection', at Portman Street in 1945. He also exhibited regularly in group shows in Łódź (1921), Cracow (1928) and Warsaw (1937).
By the 1930s, Spiegel's work was in collections in Poland, London, and Jerusalem. Shortly after the German invasion of Poland, in 1939, Spiegel, together with his family, was interned in the Radomsko ghetto, where he continued to paint. He perished in the Treblinka extermination camp in 1942. Today Spiegel's work can be seen in public collections in Tel Aviv, London, Lublin, and Ein Harod. Only about 20 of his paintings are definitely known to have survived.