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Beloosesky Gallery is interested in purchasing paintings or drawings by Avigdor Arikha. 

Please call (917) 749-4577 or email us at


Avigdor Arikha is an Israeli who was born in Romania in 1929.  He survived the Nazi labor camps in Central Europe and was repatriated as an orphan to an Israeli kibbutz in 1944.  He studied art and philosophy in Paris, where he lived with his wife and two children.  Of those who still paint from life, Arikha is one of the few who, while not abandoning some older ways of painting, remains tellingly modern.


At the same time, Arikha knows very well, and at first hand, the devouring doubt of this century.  He is a close personal friend of Samuel Becket, whom he had portrayed many times; he knew Giacometti well and once also sketched him.  In short, Arikha bears the curse of knowingness.  He is an intellectual who has not developed the protective blindness that most artists use to shield their own art.  How does such an artist find a space of his own?


It has taken Arikha a long time.  In the 1950s, like most ambitious artists, he painted abstract pictures, although he also drew from life on the side. In 1965, he stopped painting. He says that he saw his basic 'form' recur in his abstractions and "painting afterward was never a revelation and therefore not interesting."  There followed a difficult period: for eight years he only drew and made prints.


Then, in 1973, he suddenly began to paint again -- this time from life. Painting from life is one way to exorcise the demon of history, with its tyrranical parade of style; it's Arikha's way to get around the "used up" feeling of modernism.  His favorite artists are those who, like Caravaggio, escape the mannerism of their day and turn with fresh conviction to the world.  "Nature is infinite," he says. "It cannot be exhausted.  You cannot put the mark of time on a great portrait." He paints most of his pictures in mad four or five hours.  Critics have sometimes exaggerated his indifference to subject matter -- and like many artists who paint from life, he seems frightened of being mistaken for an illustrator.
Almost no artist uses color like Arikha.  He modulates and blends his hues to suggest the weight and density of an object, rather than building his pictures with primary and unmixed colors; his touch and handling of color are very fine.

For art historians, Arikha will be a slippery subject.  The odd meeting of styles is part of the force of his work, helping to establish its splendid tension.  By painting each nose differently, he also evokes the flux of the world; by seizing each inch of canvas, he suggests how hard it is to hold on to any belief.

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
Robert Hughes in Time Magazine, May 7, 1973
Mark Stevens, Newsweek, July 2, 1979.


Biography from rock the Archives of AskART




In 1998 Arikha had a major retrospective at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem (of paintings) and at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (of prints and drawings), which travelled to Edinburgh's Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 1999. From July 2006 – January 2007 there was an exhibition at the British Museum of Arikha's bequest to it of one hundred prints and drawings. There was a retrospective of his prints at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris in 2008. From June to September 2008 the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid hosted another retrospective exhibition of the artist.


Awards and Recognition

1954 Gold Medal, Triennial for Applied Art, Milan, Italy
1959 Prize, Painters and Sculptors Exhibition, Graduates of Youth Aliyah
1978 Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, France
1987 Grand Prix des Arts de la Ville Paris, Paris, France
1989 Prix des Arts des Lettres et des Sciences, Fondation du Judaïsme Français, Paris, France
1995 Honorary Professor, National Academy of Fine Arts of China, Hangchow, China
1997 Doctor Honoris Causa of Philosophy, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
2005 Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur, Paris, France



1946–1949 Bezalel, Jerusalem
1949–1951 École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France
Fresco, Fresco Studion under Pierre-Henri Ducos de la Haille, France


Books on Arikha

Arikha, by Samuel Beckett, Robert Hughes, André Fermigier(et al.) (Paris: Hermann; London: Thames and Hudson, 1985)
Arikha, by Duncan Thomson (London: Phaidon, 1994)
Avigdor Arikha, by Monica Ferrando and Arturo Schwarz (Bergamo: Moretti & Vitali, 2001)
Avigdor Arikha: From Life – Drawings and Prints, 1965–2005, by Stephen Coppel and Duncan Thomson (London: British Museum Press, 2006), published to accompany their 2006–07 exhibition.
Arikha, catalogue of the exhibition at the Thyssen-Borenmisza Collection, Madrid, Ed. Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza 2008.


Public Collections

The British Museum, London, United Kingdom

Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States

Musée Déchelette, Roanne, France

Tate Gallery, London, England

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Holland

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

National Portrait Gallery, London, England

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, United States

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, Boston

Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

Musée du Louvre, Cabinet des Dessins, Paris, France

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel

Musée Cantini, Marseille, France

Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon, France

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, United States

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Blankfort Collection, Los Angeles, California, United States

The Jewish Museum, Exxon Corporation Collection, New York, New York, United States

Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, United States

Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy

The Fine Arts Museum, The Achenbach Foundation, San Francisco, California, United States

Det Nationalhistoriske Museum på Frederiksborg Slot, Hillerød, Denmark

Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado, United States

Bibliothèque Nationale, Cabinet des Estampes, Paris, France

Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, Arkansas, United States