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Exceptional selection of Israeli & international art to be offered at Sotheby's New York on 17 December
Reuven Rubin, Road to Galilee, signed Rubin and again in Hebrew (lower left), oil on canvas. Painted in 1936. 28⅜ by 36⅛ in.; 72 by 91.6 cm. Est. $150/200,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s annual auction of Israeli & International Art will feature an exceptionally rich selection of works by Reuven Rubin, including examples from nearly every decade of his career. Sotheby’s will also offer one of the most celebrated works by Mordecai Ardon, The Venus of Beersheba (est. $450/650,000). In addition to these highlights, each significant movement of Israeli art is represented in the auction, including excellent examples of the New Horizons group and the development of contemporary video and photography. A group of photographs will benefit the Shpilman Institute for Photography, including one of Ilit Azoulay’s most important works to date. Israeli sculpture is represented by Menashe Kadishman, whose passing this year was deeply felt by the Israeli Art community, Itzhak Danziger and Sigalit Landau. The International section of the sale includes works by Chana Orloff, Bruno Schulz, Mane-Katz and Jozeph Israels. The exhibition will be open to the public from 12-16 December.

The auction features 13 works by renowned Romanian-born Israeli painter Reuven Rubin, spanning the entirety of his prolific career. This group includes two superb works from the mid-1920’s, a period that comes up rarely at auction. The Road to Meron (est. $400/600,000) and Threshing in the Galilee (est. $250/350,000), express the excitement of the young artist, who is captivated by the flowering of the land under renewed Jewish settlement. They are executed in his signature naïve style of that time, which combines a bright, optimistic palette with a flattened composition. Both of these early works were exhibited in the 2006 Tel Aviv Museum of Art exhibition, “Dreamland: Reuven Rubin’s Encounter with the Land of Israel in His Paintings of the 1920s and 1930s.”

Coming from a later period in Rubin’s career, Night Rider in the Desert, painted in 1965, represents a bold departure from Rubin’s traditional depictions of religious figures, landscapes, and still lives in realistic hues (est. $100/150,000). The present work is the product of a dramatic shift in Rubin’s choice of subject matter and color palette, and was executed at the peak of his interest in the interpretation and depiction of galloping horses.

Mordecai Ardon’s Venus of Beersheba is an iconic work which exemplifies many of the artist’s profound achievements (est. $450/650,000). The influence of Sumerian sculpture is clearly evident in Ardon’s work of the early 1960's, and the genesis of the present painting evolved from the discovery of archeological finds in the area of Beersheba. The canvas features a figure inspired by an ivory statuette of the Chalocolithic period. Ardon was fascinated by these ancient civilizations, which he felt must have experienced a closeness to nature that had been lost to subsequent generations. Signifying its pre-eminence in Ardon’s oeuvre, this painting was chosen as front and back cover of the catalogue Mordecai Ardon: The Colors of Time, which accompanied the parallel Ardon exhibitions which were held at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 2003.

Eleven works in the sale will be sold to benefit The Shpilman Institute for Photography. The group on offer includes an important work by Contemporary Israeli artist Ilit Azoulay, who is currently featured in the Museum of Modern Art, New York’s Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015 exhibition. Azoulay created Room #8 in part by carefully composing photographed objects collected from buildings marked for demolition in south Tel Aviv into a digital collage (est. $80/120,000). The group also features works by David Adika, Michal Rovner, Ori Gersht and Barry Frydlender.

• Know Hope, AKA Adam Yekutieli At the Mercy of Our Collective Missings 2012 acrylic on board, ink and watercolor on paper, and artist’s frame Estimate $7/9,000

• Maya Gold Major Ursa oil on canvas 2008 Estimate $5/7,000

• Gideon Rubin Untitled oil on canvas Painted in 2005 59⅛ by 35⅜ in.; 150.3 by 90 cm Estimate $15/20,000

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