Artist's Corner: The law of painting

Following 50 years of painting, an art exhibit featuring the works of attorney Israel Kantor opened earlier this month.

Kantor painting 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Kantor painting 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Following 50 years of painting - through a childhood and university studies in Jerusalem, running a law firm in Tel Aviv and suffering a major stroke - an art exhibit featuring the works of attorney Israel Kantor opened earlier this month at the Givatayim Theater featuring 50 of his paintings. Retired Supreme Court President Aharon Barak and Haifa Symphony Orchestra conductor Noam Sharif, both of whom worked closely with Kantor during different phases of his life, spoke at the opening of the exhibit, entitled "The Law of Painting." Early in his career, Kantor had been Barak's assistant; late in his career, when his interest in conducting was piqued, Sharif served as Kantor's teacher. For decades Kantor taught law at Tel Aviv University and practiced commercial law; his firm, Kantor, Elhanani, Tal & Co., was involved in many major class action suits in Israel. The firm specialized in lawsuits against tobacco companies, banks and other financial institutions, most often representing the defendants. Kantor says that being a lawyer did not influence his art, but claims that being an artist influenced the way that he practiced law, in that he was more creative. Kantor retired at the age of 65 and suffered a massive stroke six months later, rendering him unable to open his mouth or move the right side of his body. He is left-handed, and despite the stroke was able to continue painting. He spent six months in the rehabilitation ward at Tel Hashomer Hospital, relearning how to walk and talk. After his release from the hospital, he returned several times each week, over the course of five months, for physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. Kantor and his wife, Yael, warmly praise the hospital staff that assisted him and say that all profits from the exhibit will be donated to Tel Hashomer's rehabilitation ward. Kantor currently dedicates half of each day to his art, and it usually takes him 7-10 days to complete one painting. While some of his work is influenced by current events (one of his works portrays a bus destroyed by a suicide bomber), he says that he mainly tries to express beauty, good moods and things that are alive, focusing on flowers, the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem cityscapes and portraits. Having recently learned how to use a computer, Kantor is currently writing a book about his stroke and detailing his feelings and experiences during the subsequent recovery process.