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  • Annual Sale of Israeli & International Art at Sotheby's
    March 2, 2005 NEW YORK.

    Kadishmans, Checkpoint (In Suspense).

    Sotheby's is pleased to hold its second annual auction of Israeli and International Art in New York on March 15, 2005. Following last year's success, the sale will again be held in New York as interest in Israeli art continues to spread far beyond the region. Within a hundred year span, Israeli art has mirrored the upheavals and rigors of the new nation, and the auction will be part of a week-long celebration of Contemporary Israeli Art in New York. The property will be on exhibition in Sotheby's 5th floor galleries from March 10th through the 14th and is expected to bring $4/6 million.

    A highlight of the March sale is a rare early painting by Reuven Rubin, Outskirts of Tel Aviv, circa 1923, which evokes the new town rising from the sand dunes (lot 19, est. $150/250,000). In the 1920s, newly arrived artists such as Rubin discovered the warm, bright colors of the Mediterranean climate and incorporated them into their portrayals of the local figures and landscape.

    The decade of the 1930s is distinguished by the German influence on Israeli Art. After studying at the Bauhaus school in Weimar under Klee, then Kandinsky and Feininger, Mordechai Ardon emigrated to Eretz Israel in 1933, where he continued to influence younger generations of artists as a teacher and then a director of the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem. The Bauhaus style, combined with symbolism from his Jewish background as well as the mysticism of the Holy Land, are incorporated into masterpieces such as Patience (lot 38, est. $120/180,000).

    In 1948, the State of Israel was established and a group of artists seeking a local, lyrical abstract style founded the "New Horizons Group." Although unique to Israel, the artistic influence of the French lyrical abstract school and of Abstract Expressionism in the United States is apparent in these works. Headed by Josef Zaritsky, Yehezkel Streichman and Avigdor Stematsky, these Israeli artists adopted the notion of pure artistic values, emphasizing bright torrents of color, abstract lines and patterns over their previous representational works in darker European-influenced colors. Important works by these artists are included in this sale including Zaritsky's Painting After Vermeer, 1956 (lot 64, est. $80/120,000), Streichman's Interior with Figures, 1950 (lot 48, est. $60/80,000) and Stematsky's Untitled, 1956 (lot 62, est. $15/20,000).

    Throughout the 1960s, Israeli artists continued to explore their own local style and find unique means of expression. Painters such as Ori Reisman and Michael Gross emphasized minimalism and contrasting fields of flat colored surfaces. Important works by these artists are included in this auction.

    The late Philip and Muriel Berman were renowned for their outstanding collection of monumental outdoor sculpture. Carefully placed on the rolling lawns of their Allentown, Pennsylvania estate, the Bermans added significant works by Israeli sculptors to their bronzes by Moore, Hepworth and Miro. We are pleased to offer in this sale three Kadishmans, including Checkpoint (In Suspense) (lot 150, est. $30/50,000) and an important work by Agam entitled Open Space (lot 153, est. $20/30,000).

    The Contemporary Israeli art section includes works by well known photographers such as Adi Nes, including The Last Supper (lot 149, est. $40/60,000), Sharon Yaari, Pavel Wolberg and others, each dealing in their own way with crucial issues of everyday life in Israel: national and gender identity, territories and borders.

    The International section of the sale includes a major painting by the French 19th century master Edouard Moyse, Synagogue Interior (lot 155, est. $150/200,000) and works by famous École de Paris artists such as Marc Chagall with his Mariage Hivernal (lot 160, est. $350/450,000), 1955-56, and Le Peintre et L'Horloge (lot 174, est. $300/400,000), 1982, as well as oils by Moïse Kisling, Mané-Katz, Jules Pascin and Henri Hayden.

    The sale will be the culminating event of artis - Israeli Contemporary Art Week in New York, during which several exhibitions of Israeli artists can be seen at New York galleries. Of particular interest is Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On, an exhibition of Contemporary Israeli Art at the Chelsea Art Museum. Please see the attached document for additional information on artis.