Pictures from here

Jerusalem’s Marrache Fine Art gallery reflects the country’s wide social and cultural stretch.

The Marrache Fine Art Gallery (photo credit: Courtesy)
The Marrache Fine Art Gallery
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A stone’s throw from the imposing culture and arts center that is the Jerusalem Theater nestles a cozy but richly appointed home of art and sculpture called the Marrache Fine Art gallery. It serves as a repository of an impressive array of works that reflect an eclectic take on the representation of life, spirituality and ethnicity in this part of the world.
Gallery owner Raphael Marrache is a “Spanish and Portuguese” Sephardi born in Gibraltar, who made aliya in 1996. Trained at Sotheby’s and a lifelong art collector, Marrache relates that he worked at a couple of galleries in Jerusalem before, “Having received my love of art from my late father, Samuel Marrache, I finally gave birth to the gallery in 2007,” he told In Jerusalem.
The gallery began life at a venue below what was then his home in Yemin Moshe, with an exhibition of works by British artist James Foot, whose watercolors of Jerusalem reflect its unique light. “He came over to Jerusalem for about a month and a half, during which he captured Jerusalem and the Dead Sea’s essence as the master of watercolors that he is. That was our gallery’s first exhibition which was our first great success,” says Marrache’s son, Ari.
It was an auspicious start for the Marrache venture, and a clear statement of multifarious and hands-on intent.
“From the beginning, my dad’s aim was to gather both Israeli talent and to encourage artists from abroad to come here and create works inspired by Israel.”
When Marrache Fine Art moved to Talbiyeh in 2011, Etti Kornbluth, wife of the former Israeli ambassador to UNESCO in Paris, brought her networking skills on board.
That is how the gallery became a center point for investors of Israeli art and collectors of Judaica, and more so of old Bezalel art, such as works by Zev Raban, Boris Schatz and others.
“We have a rich portfolio of well-known and very successful contemporary artists, as well as up-andcoming fresh talents, whose prices are going up,” Ari.
“Take, for example, Noah Lubin,” he continues. “Less than 10 years ago his works were worth $500, and today they are worth $7,000, and still rising. His works can be seen in galleries all over Jerusalem.”
It is not hard to see why religious 30-something USbased Lubin’s paintings have appreciated in value.
They are a colorful and captivating mix of bright rich hues that feed off Expressionist sentiments, along with decidedly Pop art intent and unfettered energies.
“Lubin makes reference to Jewish life in a fresh and modern way,” Ari observes.
The home gallery – based on the Yemin Moshe model – is clearly a quintessential Israeli art house, with a strong Jerusalem emphasis. Everywhere you look there is something that catches the eye, mind and heart: paintings, sculptures and some photographs printed on Jerusalem stone.
Marrache defines his aesthetic and spiritual Jerusalemoriented artistic ethos as inspired by the “sunrises and sunsets that bless this spiritual, mystical city of old with an incomparable beauty; artists who have captured the city in very many different ways and who have left us an historic archive of what it has been.”
That comes across very clearly in the collection of works in the gallery.
But it is not just about the rich historic annals of Jerusalem, the biblicalesque rugged landscapes of the Jerusalem Hills, and the way its often tumultuous and event-suffused evolution continues to inform the work of so many artists here, and around the world.
There are some down-and-dirty contemporary vibes to be had too. Take, for example, the offerings of 25-year-old Maayan Shira Hadar, an up-and-coming realistic expressionist whose depictions of the people around her, as well as her self-portraits, convey a sense of immediacy and youthful energy, and an intense desire to present the spectator with humor, feral sentiments, joy and some pockmarks along the way. (The artists also hosts works by another Ma’ayan, an established Jerusalem artist who uses only her first name.) Pride of place in the Hadar section is occupied by a couple of large portraits of a middle aged woman with a “lived in” physical presence, oddly holding a cigarette in each hand. “This is a series called The Smoker,” Marrache junior says. “Hadar succeeds in capturing raw typical Israeli characters and projecting their inner emotions with a talent rare for someone her age.”
Betwixt the amalgam of colors, shapes and themes there is one very recognizable form – the ubiquitous sheep motif of internationally celebrated octogenarian painter and sculptor Menashe Kadishman. Ari Marrache is delighted to have one of his creations in the Marrache collection. “I think Menashe Kadishman is a genius, and people either like his stuff or hate it, but he has created an icon through which he expresses himself, and people appreciate that.”
After a four-year furlough, 3D artist and business developer Ari Marrache returned to Jerusalem in 2013 with his partner public relations director and graphic artist Laura Robleño, as the gallery’s sales and marketing team. They were living and working in Madrid when Raphael and his wife Iris Acoca de Marrache offered them a collaboration. The gallery now has a website, a serious presence on social media, various collaborations with arts and culture landmarks in Jerusalem and occasionally hosts viewing evenings. Its most recent event was a Mimouna night with wine tasting provided by Kos Shel Bracha and live music by Meital Rachmin. is an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly window onto items on offer at the Talbiyeh venue.
Ari says the gallery is pushing on to the next stage of virtual global sales.
“Iris had the vision of expanding our sales abroad through the creation of an on-line shop, a project that we are about to complete. Soon people from all over the world will be able to buy all the art at our gallery online.”
Many of the expected Jewish themes are represented in the gallery. Eighty-one-year-old American-born Yitzhak Greenfield’s works, for example, are inspired by kabbalistic concepts. “His work is very interesting and very spiritual,” says Ari, adding that there is a textual twist to Greenfield’s oils and acrylic and tape oeuvre. A couple of fetching Greenfield items also have a clear structural, geometric look to them. Ben Simon, a Jerusalem artist whose oil, graphite and pastel works challenge the viewer’s perception of anatomy, is also present. Recent additions to the gallery’s portfolio are painter, sculptor and ceramicist Amos Stempel, and oil painter Julie Cottler.
The gallery’s pan-regional cultural hinterland takes in artists of all local ethnic origins, and reflects as wide a social and cultural stretch as possible. Ari points to an elongated and highly evocative oil painting of group of men sitting in a public space. “I love this,” he says. “This is Ramallah Café by an Israeli Arab artist from Tamra called Ahmad Canaan.” The Marrache exhibition ethos knows no social, cultural religious or political bounds.
“This is very much Israel too,” Ari continues. It is a highly tactile work. The faces of the men in the picture appear to be almost chiseled out of rock or metal. “Canaan also creates impressive sculptures in iron and stone,” he says.
Elsewhere in the inviting gallery space are works by noted 77-year-old French-born artist Eliyahu Sidi, expansive and colorfully enticing paintings by 60-yearold American-born Yoram Raanan, works by Jerusalem based painter, figurative and abstract oils by Ma’ayan and works by photographer Max Richardson – originally from Memphis – who has been living in Israel since the early Nineties. Richardson bonded strongly with his Jerusalem environs and his shots, printed on slabs of Jerusalem stone, portray instantly recognizable landmarks such as the Western Wall tunnels and spots in the terraced Jerusalem Hills.
There is a lot to see at the Marrache Fine Art Gallery.; 054-303-1410