Chagall, Rubin earn Christie's Israel its highest total to date

Sunday night's annual auction of 19th and 20th Century art in Tel Aviv earned the highest auction total ever for Christie's in Israel. The top lot, Le chant du Roi David by Marc Chagall, sold for $713,000. Old Sycamore Trees by Reuven Rubin, which was sold by the US Government (and not the Israel Museum, as erroneously reported in Monday's Post), realized $623,400 (nearly twice its estimate) and set a record price for the artist at auction, and the second highest auction record for an Israeli artist. It was bought by an anonymous donor. The painting was one of two Rubins that were stolen en route back to Israel from an exhibition in the New York. Originally owned by the Engel Gallery, it was subsequently acquired by the US government after it reappeared in a Jaffa flea market. In an interview last month with The Jerusalem Post,/i>, Rubin's daughter-in-law and curator of the Rubin Museum, Carmela Rubin, said she hoped a private benefactor might step forward and secure the painting at auction for Tel Aviv and for the Rubin Museum, which has been its home (on loan) for the past two decades. Whether or not the anonymous buyer intends to do so is yet to be confirmed.