Sunday, May 9, 2010

Remembering Israeli Painter Avigdor Arikha

Avigdor Arikha, one of the most remarkable representational painters of our time, passed away on April 29. A survivor of a Nazi labor camp in the Ukraine, Arikha studied art in Jerusalem and was severely wounded in Israel's 1948 war of independence. After recovering, he left for Paris to continue his studies. Arikha lived in Paris and Jerusalem.

Arikha's paintings of domestic objects have a haunting immediacy. A longtime friend of playwright Samuel Beckett, he paid tribute to him in a painting of "Sam's Spoon" set against a white napkin:


His keen sense of light and detail are seen in this study of cracks in a wall:


Arikha emphasized honesty in his portraits, particularly in self-portraits:


His portraits also have a sense of mystery, as in this painting in which the face is revealed in a mirror:

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