chagall art 88 298.
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Hammersite.com's December 12 auction at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, its first sale not on the Internet, brought the average Israeli auction take of $1.25 million, despite the fact that only 64 percent of the 119 lots sold.
Top lot was Tsuba, 1970, one of the better late abstract-expressionist oils by the dean of the New Horizons movement, Josef Zaritzky, which went well past its top estimate to $184,000 (including the buyer's premium). However, an early over-literal Abel Pann, The Day After the Pogrom, 1903, sold a little below its expectations at $176,000.
Yehezkel Streichman's boldy composed portrait of his wife Zila went for $39,100, and a somewhat messy Lea Nikel abstracted urban landscape brought a fine $26,450. Two Yohanan Simons each went to $19,550 and a third for $18,400.
Hammersite (the Ben Ami Gallery) has taken the wise course of asking commissions well below those of other auction houses. Failures are not usually charged a service fee.
THE NEXT sale of Matsa Auctions of Ramat Gan, its 104th, will take place on January 29, but the lots will be on show from January 19. Top lot is a Chagall gouache on paper of the artist at his easel, with his muses floating overhead, which has an estimate of $140,000-$160,000. The gouache, a lively color sketch, is anything but a likeness.
Two Mordecai Ardons are expected to bring between $70,000-$80,000; and a happy Moise Kisling oil from 1918 of a vase of flowers, painted after his release from the front, has a somewhat higher estimate. So does an idealized landscape of olive trees painted by Reuven Rubin in 1947. An undated Pascin nude of a young woman starts at $60,000.
Other lots are by Janco, Mane-Katz, Stematsky, Zaritsky, Simon, Kahana, Levanon and Adler. There are also bronzes by Shemi and Danziger. Lots can also be seen at www. artonline.co.il.
CHRISTIE'S INTERNATIONAL Old Master Department changed its sale calendar. In 2006 the principal New York sales of Old Master Paintings will take place on April 6 and October 10. Leading the April sale will be Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio, a masterpiece by Turner of exceptional quality, which is expected to realize in excess of $15 million. Consigned for sale by the St. Francis of Assisi Foundation, a New York State-incorporated not-for-profit institution, the painting is the finest Turner to come to market for over 20 years, and the most valuable Old Master to be offered at Christie's New York since Pontormo's Portrait of a Halberdier sold for $35.2 million in May 1989. In 1984, Turner's Seascape, Folkestone, owned by the late Lord (Kenneth) Clark of Saltwood, sold for $9.045 million in London and set the present world auction record for Turner.