‘A little jewel in Talbieh’
Private gallery goes public with contemporary Eight Artists exhibition.
NIRA SPITZ artwork. Photo: Courtesy
The Marrache Gallery specializes in contemporary Israeli and Jewish art, as well
as collectors’ pieces by 1920s students at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and
Design such as Ludwig Bloom, Zev Raban and Boris Schatz, explains collector and
art dealer Raphael Marrache, who also promotes recent Bezalel graduates.
In-house artists include Yoram Raanan, Noah Lubin and Eduardo Groesman, Eliahu
Sidi and sculptor Paul Taylor. Opening hours are by appointment.
“It is a
little jewel hidden in Talbieh,” says Etti Kornbluth, a partner in the gallery.
“But the fact that it is a private gallery doesn’t mean the art is more
expensive, or that it is not open to the general public,” she explains, “It
means we welcome people who are serious and who appreciate art – usually friends
of friends, and people who call in advance for appointments.”
was inaugurated in Yemin Moshe in 2007 with an exhibition of works by British
artist James Foot, whose watercolors of Jerusalem reflect its unique
Foot is one of the “Eight Artists” in the present exhibition,
which runs until Hanukka. The others are Ilan Itach, Yitzhak Greenfield,
Mordechai Beck, Maayan, Nira Spitz, Jerusalem master in mixed-media sculpture
Paul Taylor, French-born Eliyahu Sidi, who brings the concept of illustrated
Jewish scriptures into the millennium, and the late Phyllis Lawson.
gallery will soon be showcasing work from well known Tel Aviv sculptress Betty
ILAN ITACH’s family comes from Morocco and Toledo,
Spain. Itach confesses that he is a self-taught artist. In 1998 he met his
future mentor, artist and Bezalel art teacher Ivan Schwebel, in the Ein Kerem
forest. Schwebel gave him a pine cone and said, “Draw what you see, not what you
are thinking.” After three months of drawing the cone, Itach decided to try
charcoal, and one night he took his drawing over to Schwebel.
“I had got
it right, found the essence. We became friends. He taught me to make the
colors of the Renaissance, we talked a lot about books and drank
The Spanish flamenco dance has inspired Itach’s painting for the
past five years. His travels annually to Spain with his wife, who dances and
Itach’s Seville exhibition of 12 flamenco paintings has
been open to the public for the past two years at the Museo de Baile Flamenco
“After five years painting flamenco I am almost
finished,” he says. Itach also paints Cervantes’s Don Quixote, a text with
newly-discovered Kabbalistic nuances.
The artist has now begun a
self-portrait, as part of the process on moving on to another topic. “I need to
go deeper in my way of looking inside,” he says.
Itach has exhibited at
the Tova Osman Gallery, Tel Aviv; the Jerusalem Theater; the Scottish Church,
Jerusalem; and La Bastille in Paris. Two of his portraits of David Ben-Gurion
are part of a private Presidents Portraits Collection.
YITZHAK Greenfield’s father was “a poor Jewish tailor, my mother was a housewife.
Nevertheless, everyone in my family drew and painted – brothers, sisters,
cousins,” he says. At 14, he enrolled in the Educational Alliance Art School at
a Jewish center in Brooklyn. Later he studied art history and literature under
Haim Gross and Abba Ostrausky at Brooklyn College.
“At 19 I left college
and told my family: ‘I am going to a kibbutz, shalom!’” The year was 1951. He
joined a Hashomer Hatza’ir group going to Kibbutz Dalia. “I married, then to
moved to Kibbutz Galon, then to Kibbutz Ein Shofet, and now I live in Ein
Two years ago Greenfield had a oneman- show at Jerusalem’s
Minotaur Gallery on Ben-Yehuda Street, of work from his kibbutz period that
gallery owner Yaron Lavitz had rediscovered. “I had forgotten about it,” Greenfield says.
For the past 20 years his work has been ideograms: “A
composition, from an idea, like a hieroglyphic.” Greenfield’s multitextural work
is inspired by Kabbalistic amulets he finds in books.
“I am a Zionist, I
am proud to be [one], and it is central to my work,” he says.
Greenfield has taught art and exhibited at prestigious universities and museums in Israel
and abroad, as well as privately.
NIRA SPITZ paints “every corner of
Jerusalem.” Her works are realistic renditions of the love she feels for all
parts of the city and its people.
As a child, Spitz moved with her family
from Haifa to New York, and eventually attended Queens College, Hunter College
and the Art Students League. Due to her husband’s work, she spent five years in
Venezuela, 10 years in Brazil and two years in Hong Kong. She studied at
Escuelas Artes Plásticas Cristobal Rojas in Venezuela, Escola de Artes Visuais
do Parque Lage in Brazil and the Hong Kong Arts Center. In London she learned
under British portraitist Clarence Crawford and at the Hampstead Garden Suburb
“I was influenced by many landscapes,” says
Spitz counts calligraphy and illumination among her active
interests. She also illustrates books, and has exhibited all over the
MORDECHAI BECK made aliya from England in 1973. In the 1960s, at
age 16, between yeshiva and university, he attended Hornsey Art School for two
years. “I worked very intensely,” he says.
“Then I gave up art for 20
years, except for illustrations and posters.”
Following a print-making
course at Arik Kilemnik’s Jerusalem Print Workshop, he created two limited
edition art books, Maftir Yonah (the Book of Jonah) and Ushpizin, with
calligrapher David Moss; as well as linocuts to illustrate Shir HaShirim (the
Song of Songs) using Izzy Pludowski’s original Hebrew font.
Copies of his
books have been bought by the Library of Congress and several universities,
including Yale and Berkeley.
Shir Hashirim was bought by the Museum of
Modern Art-MOMA in New York.
A few years ago Beck created Garden of
Eden-themed oil paintings. The gallery is showing his naive oil paintings with
musical themes, as well as some original prints.
He has exhibited in Tel
Aviv, New York, Los Angeles, Moscow and St. Petersburg.
MAAYAN has been
drawing since she was six, and painting in oils since the age of
eight. She studied in her native New York, at the Art Students League,
the National Academy School of Fine Art and the School of Visual Arts; as well
as at the Marchutz School in Provence, France.
“Things for me are always
evolving,” she says. “My paintings do not represent objects, they are messages.
I search for the light. I do not, for example, specifically paint Bereshit [the
Book of Genesis], but the emotion behind it.”
She has also painted in
Bali; San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Vermont; and what she calls “other places
of light and inspiration.”
Her abstract Zalman’s Suite series, exhibited
at the gallery, is illustrative of “the realm of spirit within abstraction meets
the language of the mystics.”
The Marrache Gallery is located at 11
Dubnov Street, in the Talbieh neighborhood of Jerusalem. The exhibition runs
until Hanukka and may be viewed by appointment by calling (054) 303-1410 or
(050) 950- 9003.
Marion Fischel contributed to this report.