Raffi Lavie

Beloosesky Gallery is interested in purchasing paintings, drawings and collages by Raffi Lavie. 

Please call (917) 749-4577 or email us at info@beloosesky.com

 

Raffi Lavie was an Israeli artist who was born in Tel Aviv in 1937. He was a charismatic teacher and mentor.  He was one of three artists (with Arie Aroch and Aviva Uri) who led Israeli art into the contemporary art world in the 1960’s. Raffi Lavie was the most central, charismatic figure in the art scene in Israel for the past four decades until his death in 2007.

 

A major force in Israeli art, Lavie’s works are likened to those of the American Cy Twombly. He introduced the avant-garde of his time to Israel by adapting its components into a local discourse. His art reflected the spirit of Tel Aviv with its walls of poster remains and graffiti. A master of subtle colors and composition Raffi Lavie was a superb abstract expressionist. He taught and influenced many of Israel’s major artists.

 

Raffi Lavie's work is a cross between graffiti and abstract expressionism. He was Influenced by Paul Klee, Jean Dubuffet, and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as by local artists such as Aviva Uri and Arie Aroch.

 

He studied at the Art Teachers' Training College in Tel Aviv and later taught at the Art Teachers' Training College in Ramat Hasharon. In addition to his work as an artist, Lavie was a prominent teacher at the Hamidrasha School of Art, Ramat Hasharon, and later at Beit Berl. In this capacity Raffi Lavie nurtured a group of artists with a penchant for conceptual art.

 

In the late 1950s he created his first significant works, drawings that were similar in style to children's drawings.  In the early 1960s, Raffi Lavie began to paint in spontaneous scrawls reminiscent of graffiti and comic strip art.  He wrote on his paintings as if they were walls covered with scribbles. His work has been described as angry, nervous, aggressive, and abrasive. He was invited to exhibit with New Horizons but his work challenged the delicate lyricism of the group.

 

In 1965 Raffi Lavie was a founder of the group Ten Plus that sought an alternative to the "lyrical abstraction" of the New Horizons group. This group was the first to import pop art, avant-garde, found art, collage and photography into their work. The group organized 10 collective exhibitions, which expressed the influence of American art, especially pop art, on Israeli art. In Lavie's work we see the use of glued objects (collage), "childish" scribbles, and painting on plywood panels, as well as the use of visual images such as street advertisements, magazine photos, etc. He scorned bourgeois prototypes of beauty, and sought to restore the image to art after its banishment by New Horizons.

 

For most of his life Rafi Lavie opposed all iconological interpretations of his works, embracing instead a modernist-formalist interpretation.

 

Due to severe back problems, Lavie painted in his last years while sitting.

 

In 2002, a retrospective exhibit opened at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on Lavie entitled "Raffi Lavie: Works from 1950 to 2002". This exhibit had a new interpretation of Lavie and his followers work. The new interpretation showed how Lavie's work was romantic, rich, filled with the Jewish religion and European roots.

 

In 2007, Raffi Lavie died at his home in Tel Aviv, aged 70.

 

Raffi Lavie represented Israel in the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009.

 

 

Awards and Prizes

1978 The Dizengoff Prize for Painting and Sculpture, Municipality of Tel Aviv Jaffa, Tel Aviv

 

Selected Solo Exhibitions

More than 80 Solo Shows in Israel and abroad including the following:

 

2009 The Israel Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale
2003 New Paintings, New Video, Givon Art Gallery Tel

2003 Retrospective: Works From 1950-2003 The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

2001 New Paintings And “Shulchan Aroch”, Givon Art Gallery Tel Aviv
2000 New Paintings And Mini Retrospective, Givon Art Gallery Tel Aviv
1993 The Early Paintings 1957-1961 The Tel Aviv Museum Of Art

1991 “Heads And Jars” Givon Art Gallery, Tel Aviv And Gallery Asperger, Germany
1988 The Museum Of Israeli Art, Ramat Gan
1987 Givon Art Gallery, Tel Aviv
1980 Tel Aviv Museum; Sara Gilat Gallery, Jerusalem; Noemi Givon Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv
1974-83 Gordon Gallery, Tel Aviv
1973 Israel Museum, Jerusalem
1961 Katz Gallery
1960 Rina Gallery, Jerusalem

 

Selected Group Exhibitions
1992 “Positions Israel”, Collection Dr. R. Hocherl/W. Asperger, Kunstlerhaus Betanian Berlin, Germany
1989 “Beyond Drawing”, Givon Art Gallery Tel Aviv
1988 “Kunst Aus Israel”, From The Collection Charles Mayorkas, Kunsthaus Zug
1980-86 Various Shows, Noemi Givon Contemporary Art
1986 “The Want Of The Matter- A Quality In Israeli Art”, The Tel Aviv Museum (
1985 “Milestones In Israeli Art” Israel Museum, Jerusalem
1984 “Two Years- Qualities Accumulated”, Tel Aviv Museum

1974-1983 Various Shows, Gordon Gallery Tel Aviv
1969 Biennale Of Young Artists, Paris
1965-70 Participated In Exhibitions Of “10+” Group, Gordon Gallery Tel Aviv;

The Tel Aviv Museum Autumn Salons, Helena Rubinstein Pavillion
1965 “Trends In Israeli Art”, Inaugural Exhibition Of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
1964 “Tazpit”, Tel Aviv Museum, Helena Rubinstein Pavillion
“Art Israel”, The Museum Of Modern Art, New York
1963 “New Horizons”, Museum Ein-Harod;
“Form Today”, Bezalel Museum, Jerusalem