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Sotheby's Auction to Feature Group of Works from the Phoenix Collection
Reuven Rubin, Safed in Galilee, 1927 (est. $200/300,000). Photo: Sotheby’s.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s Israeli and International Art sale is a much anticipated annual event held in autumn in New York. The sale this year will take place on November 24th and will feature superb examples of classic and contemporary Israeli art spanning 100 years. Works from the sale are estimated to bring more than $2.7 million and will be exhibited alongside Important Judaica at Sotheby’s New York galleries beginning 18 November.

A number of works by Reuven Rubin are among the highlights of the sale, including a 1920’s landscape, Safed in Galilee, depicting goats on a hillside near Safed (est. $200/300,000). Painted in Rubin’s typical naïve style of this period, it expresses the artist’s optimism about the future and his delight at exploring the landscape as a new immigrant. Another work by Rubin, Pomegranates - Open Window, (estimate $70/90,000), together with an intimate interior by Avigdor Arkiha entitled Books, (estimate $70/90,000), is being sold to benefit the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

This season Sotheby's is honored to offer a group works from the esteemed collection of the Phoenix Insurance Company, Ltd. Collected over the last 30 years, the Phoenix Insurance Company, Ltd. has the largest, most comprehensive collection of Israeli Art in the world, which stands as a testament to the founder of the collection, who sought the greatest examples available. With a brilliant eye and the tenacity to go after the best, Joseph Hackmey was a visionary who actively bought Israeli art long before other major collectors entered the market. The collection today stands as the quintessential anthology of the art created in the 100 year history of art in Israel from the founding of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem in 1906 through the present day. In 1998, as part of the 50th anniversary of the State of Israel, an extensive exhibition of several hundred selected works from the Phoenix Collection was shown at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

From lots 15-82 one finds a group of works portraying early life in Eretz Israel by leading artists such as Nachum Gutman, Yisrael Paldi, Menachem Shemi and Chaim
Gliksberg alongside landmark works by the founders of the modern Israeli lyrical abstract school, Josef Zaritsky, Yehezkel Streichman and Avigdor Stematsky. The collection also features works by the most influential artists of the 1960s such as Arieh Aroch, Aviva Uri and Raffi Lavie highlighted by Chariot, a brass sculpture by Itzhak Danziger, one of Israel’s most important sculptors (est. $20/30,000, pictured) . Internationally renowned artists such as Marcel Janco and Yaacov Agam are also included here. Contemporary art from this exciting collection is represented by established artists of the 1970s until today such as Ori Reisman, Moshe Kupferman, Moshe Gershuni, David Reeb, Ofer Lellouche and Avigdor Arikha. The collection also includes works by leading young artists from today's Israeli Art scene such as photographers Tomer Ganihar and Pavel Wolberg.

Two works by the New Horizons founder, Yehezkel Streichman, will be sold from the collection of the artist’s family: Zilla Embroidering (est. $40/60,000) and Amsterdam (est. $60/80,000). Sunflower (est. $60/80,000), by Assim Abu Shakra is also noteworthy. The artist died at the young age of twenty-nine, and his works are heavily sought after by Israeli collectors.

In the contemporary section of the sale, collectors will find a rare triptych by Michal Rovner entitled Shift I, II and III, from 2000 (est. $30/50,000) as well as photographs by Adi Nes, whose works have been exhibited widely in many parts of the world. Chéri, Chéri, The Blue Eyed Fantasy (est. $30/40,000), is part of a monumental installation by Sigalit Landau, an Israeli artist who received international acclaim for her 2008 Museum of Modern Art exhibition in New York. Sinai (est. $2/3,000) , a photograph in a lightbox by the young Contemporary Israeli artist Aviv Naveh, is included in this sale as Sotheby’s “Under the Hammer” prize given at the Fresh Paint II Contemporary Art Fair held in Tel Aviv in the spring of 2009.

Among the highlights of the International Art section of the sale is an important Still Life by Jankel Adler (est. $50/70,000). L'arlésienne, a major portrait by Moïse Kisling (est. $120/150,000), and other works by École de Paris artists such as, Pinchus Krémègne, Mané- Katz are also featured. The exquisite carved wood sculpture by Chana Orloff, La Bretonne, (est. $60/80,000) is sure to spark competitive bidding, as is a large scale painting of a La Fiancée by the Russian artist Issachar Ber Ryback (est. $40/60,000). A moving group of five paintings from the Slovenian artist Zoran Antonio Music, who is often referred to as the Goya of the Holocaust, is offered in this sale (lots 143-147) as well as two exquisite drawings by Bruno Schultz, the important Polish author and illustrator, who was killed during the Holocaust (lots 148 and 149).

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