Kestenbaum & Company’s inaugural auction of exclusively Israeli Art was a resounding success as ardent collectors from around the globe spiritedly competed to own paintings and drawings by many of Israel’s most celebrated artists. The collection for sale was formed by the late Stanley I. Batkin, the New York City based philanthropist who set out, many decades ago, to collect the finest examples from each and every major Israeli artist. Contributing to the allure for buyers in this auction were the facts that the artwork was fresh to the market and had been, over the years, exhibited at illustrious locations including The Israel Museum, The Tel Aviv Museum or Art, New York’s Jewish Museum and the Venice Biennale.
Yaacov Agam’s From Birth to Eternity, Paris, 1969-72, composed on angled aluminum on wood, generated tremendous interest. Estimated at $30,000-40,000, after more than 10 minutes of bidding in the salesroom, on the internet and on the telephone, the work sold to a South American phone bidder for $186,860.
The auction catalogue cover lot, Reuven Rubin’s sizable oil painting, The Goldfish Vendor, Tel Aviv, 1972, also found extreme favor with bidders. Telephone lines especially were bustling with collectors vying to purchase the striking work and it ultimately realized $110,700.
Nahum Gutman’s colorful 1927 painting, The Yellow Coachman, was another work that attracted interest. The work achieved $91,020, nearly tripling its pre-sale estimate of $20,000-30,000. Mordechai Ardon’s abstract work, Jerusalem Landscape, 1977, also generated strong bidding. The vibrant painting attained $61,500.
Also popular with bidders were Ziona Tagger’s Harlequin, Paris, 1925, which garnered $34,440; Ludwig Blum’s Judean Hills, Jerusalem, 1949, which was acquired for $24,600 and Mane-Katz’s work Klezmer Musicians, which earned $20,295 against its pre-auction estimate of $8,000-12,000.
Kestenbaum & Company’s next auction, Fine Judaica, including Printed Books, Manuscripts, Ceremonial Objects and Fine Art, will take place in March, 2017. For further information, to request images, or for any other queries, please contact Jackie Insel at 212-366-1197 or Jackie@kestenbaum.net