Israeli art makes 1st appearance at London auction

Painting, titled "Marseille Port", a large (100 x 133 cm) oil from 1933, is estimated to sell for £120,000-180,000 at Bonhams.

April 14, 2011 07:12
2 minute read.
MARCEL JANCO’s ‘Marseille Port,’ from 1933

MARCEL JANCO’s ‘Marseille Port,’ painting 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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A work by Romanianborn artist Marcel Janco, one of the founders of Dadaism who later in life moved here and established the Ein Hod artist village, is the top lot in Bonhams Israeli Art & Judaica auction in London, on May 24th.

The painting, titled ‘Marseille Port’, a large (100 x 133 cm) oil from 1933, is estimated to sell for £120,000-180,000.

Born in 1895, Janco was among the principal founders of the Dada Movement which was opposed to war, aggression and the changing world culture.

Dadaist events included poetry, avant-garde music, and mask wearing dancers in elaborate shows, but the movement also tested cultural conventions about the role of art in society and its apparent irreverence enraged audiences. Dada came as a direct result of artists’ shock in view of the carnage of World War I but the movement was not all nihilistic; Dadaist ideas evolved in the 1920s into Surrealism, arguably one of the most influential streams in 20th century art.

Janco had an eclectic style which brilliantly combines abstract and figurative elements, expressionist in nature. In 1941 he moved to Eretz Israel, seven years before the establishment of the state. Here he painted idyllic watercolor and oil images and was captivated by the exotic sights of his new surroundings.

Ein Hod was established in 1953 and the northern village now boasts the Janco Dada Museum, dedicated to the artist’s work.

In 1967 he was awarded the Israel Prize for Painting.

In the last years of his life he worked together with friends to erect the museum, dying just ten months after its inauguration in 1984.

Also featured in the sale at Bonham’s is Israeli realist painter and founder of the Jerusalem Studio School Israel Hershberg.

Hershberg was born in 1948 in a displaced persons camp in Linz, Austria. In 1949 he was brought to Israel but at the age of nine he emigrated to the United States.

Following an extensive program of studies in the US Hershberg moved back to Israel with his wife and family in 1984. In 1991, he was awarded the Sandberg Prize for Israeli Art and in 1998 the Tel Aviv Museum of Art Prize for Israeli Art.

Hershberg’s piece at the auction is called ‘Jerusalem, City Center,’ painted in 1989-90. It is estimated to sell for £100,000-150,000.

Other Israeli and Jewish artists who will be featured in the sale include Ori Reisman, Jakob Steinhardt and Ludwig Blum.

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