Auctions: Early Rubin will top Christie's sale

At Christie's, like at Sotheby's, the top lots are by Reuven Rubin (1893-1974), whose The Heavenly Jerusalem, 1956-1967, has an estimate of $200,000-$300,000.

reisman art 88 298 (photo credit: )
reisman art 88 298
(photo credit: )
Christie's annual sale of 19th- and 20th-century art at the Tel Aviv Hilton on April 20 takes place in the shadow of the extraordinary success of Sotheby's sale of Israeli art in Manhattan last month, which took in over $6m., an all-time Israeli art auction record. In addition to bidders in the sale room, Sotheby's had to scramble to set up facilities to receive an unprecedented 85 phone bidders, many of them Israeli collectors. At Christie's, like at Sotheby's, the top lots are by Reuven Rubin (1893-1974), whose The Heavenly Jerusalem, 1956-1967, has an estimate of $200,000-$300,000. This rather kitschy painting is being sold by the estate of Claire Vogelman. But a more important early work by Rubin, The Walled City of Jerusalem, which dates from the mid-1920s, has an estimate of $280,000-$350,000 that may even be topped. Another interesting Rubin from the late 1920s is Autumn Landscape, Peekskill, New York ($70,000-$90,000), the summer home of Adolphe Stone, where Rubin was a frequent guest. The view of the house was painted not long before Rubin returned to Palestine on the ship on which he met his future wife, Esther. Rubin's marriage put an end to his prized, early neo-primitive style. Bauhaus graduate Mordecai Ardon (1896-1992) fled Germany for Israel in 1933. His father, a Polish watchmaker, perished during the Holocaust and Ardon often depicted watches and watch parts as a family memorial reference. His well-known Timepecker ($200,000-$300,000) is being sold by the estate of Benno Gitter. Other Ardons in this sale include Sur le champ d'honneur ($140,000-$180,000); Jacob's Dream, 1955 ($50,000-$70,000); and the early Olive Tree, 1937 ($40,000-$60,000). A large and dull photographic triptych by Michal Rovner, Overhang no. 4, is expected to bring $30,000-$50,000. Among other contemporary Israeli artists represented are Ya'acov Dorchin, Lea Nikel, Ya'acov Agam, Michael Gross, Moshe Kupferman, Raffi Lavie, Ori Reisman, Tsibi Geva, Nachum Tevet, Pamela Levy, Yehuda Porbuchrai, David Reeb, Nir Hod, Adi Nes and Gilad Ophir. The two minimalist Reismans, a lovely portrait and a landscape, will do well. Jankel Adler's Judith mit dem Haupt des Holofernes, 1927-1928 ($70,000-$90,000) is a classical scene in what was then a modern setting. An early work by Felix Nussbaum (the noted German-born painter who perished in Auschwitz after being deported on the last transport from Belgium), Horses by the Seashore, was painted when he was first in exile in Belgium ($60,000-$80,000). Other international works on offer include Marc Chagall, Moise Kisling, Jules Pascin, Chana Orloff, Raoul Dufy, Henri Hayden, Alexander Altmann, Maurice de Vlaminck, Sam Francis and Lesser Ury. Best is a 1932 flower piece by Kisling ($100,000-$150,000). Viewing at the Tel Aviv Hilton Hotel: Monday, April 17 from 12 noon - 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 18 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 19 from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Thursday, April 20 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sale enquiries: Jenny Vurgan, Tel. (972) 3-695-0695