auction art 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy Matsart Auctioneers)
David Leviathan had only enough time to grab his laptop computer and a few belongings when December’s devastating Carmel fire reached the artists’ colony of Ein Hod, razing his house and many other buildings. On Wednesday, some three-and-a-half months later, one of his paintings is set to go under the hammer in Tel Aviv as part of a public sale being held by Matsart Auctioneers to raise much-needed funds for the village.
Unlike many of his neighbors, Leviathan worked from a studio located outside Ein Hod, meaning that most of his artwork survived, including “Legs in the Water,” an oil-oncanvas that will be sold at the auction.
The fire claimed only two of his paintings, which he had stored at his house prior to a sale that was scheduled to take place two days later.
Leviathan said that one of the lost pieces “was a painting that had been displayed in a gallery, and I hadn’t managed to bring it to the studio [afterward].
It was a very important painting I had worked on for more than a year, erasing and then adding and then erasing again. It was a lot like giving birth.”
He said the shock from losing the two paintings and the experience of
the fire left their mark on the work he has done since, although he
couldn’t say whether other artists had been affected in the same way.
“One of the last two paintings I’ve done is essentially like a monument
to the burned, because you see a man, standing in, or in front of, not
exactly a ball, but a kind of field in space, the whole thing ablaze,
and it’s [just] him and infinity inside that space,” he said. “I didn’t
decide in advance to paint that. I never know [when I begin] how the
painting will look. I start from the foundations – earth, fire, air,
water – and later either a character emerges and I continue with that,
or it stays abstract.”
As for “Legs in the Water,” Leviathan said it doesn’t have any
connection to the fire, but that he gladly agreed to a request to have
it included in the auction. He said the painting focuses on the meeting
of rays of light with the water, with the light being shown in the space
between a girl’s legs.
He said that he wanted to make the meeting of light and water into something holy, something that hints at humanity.
“Legs in the Water” will be put up for sale by Matsart as part of an
auction of Israeli and international artwork at Tel Aviv’s Dan Hotel on
Wednesday night. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of
six items produced by Ein Hod artists will go toward the village’s fire
relief fund. Alongside Leviathan’s work are three other oil paintings,
one paper collage and one sculpture.