Pinchas Litvinovsky

Figure, panda on paper, 48X58 cm. Signed.

Estimated price: $300 - $500

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About: Pinchas Litvinovsky

was born to a religious family in the Ukraine. At the age of 18, he began studying at the Odessa Art school, where he met Boris Schatz. The latter invited him to study at his school, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, and that he did - the young Litvinovsky immigrated to Israel and studied at Schatz's Bezalel for one year. In 1912, Litvinovsky rebelled and quit the institution (together with Reuven Rubin), the cause was a fundamental disagreement over the customaries of the institution: the conception of art, style, contents, and teaching methods. After leaving the school, he traveled to Russia and studied at The Russian Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg. In 1919, after World War I, he immigrated with his wife to Israel on board of the "Ruslan" ship. Among the immigrants were the architect Zeev Rechter, the dancer Baruch Agadati, the poets Yonatan Ratosh and Rachel (Bluwstein), the collector Jacob Fermann, the artists Yitzhak Frenkel, Moshe Ziffer, and Joseph Constant, and many other intellectuals and practitioners for whom the ship was nicknamed "the Zionist Mayflower." Upon his immigration to Israel, Litvinovsky settled in Jerusalem, integrating into Israel’s art and culture life, and exhibited at the Ohel Theater, the Tower of David and was also a part of the Egged group (the Palestine Artists Association). This painting, which was apparently drawn at the end of the 1920s, depicts two Arab shepherds wearing kaffiyahs - one is standing while holding a young calf, the other is playing his flute, kneeling next to what appears to be an Arab vase. A purple bull is lying In the background, behind it are four ocher rectangles, probably tents. This is an oriental, pastoral Israeli idyll, a little piece of earthly heaven (or, if you will - Le bonheur de vivre, as a hint of Henri Matisse's masterpiece). As known, the Arab figure was the most desirable object of modernist painters in the 1920s, including Litvinovsky. From under their brush, the figure came near apotheosis, and became a symbol of rootedness, nativity, and worldly harmony. In light of this, the image of the new Jew was formed, he had a tan, and aspired to natural sense of unity in the Levant. In contrast to the Jew, the Arab was perceived as exotic, instinctual, primal and connected to the land, and was usually described as close to the fauna and flora. Once again, the painting before us depicts two shepherds, standing next to a young calf and a horned bull in an abstract, color patched looking view. In fact, this painting is already evident to Litvinovsky's new direction, because despite the figuration there is a clear process of simplification and abstraction, one that does not distinguish between image and background, and the embedding of a colored array exploring the painting’s formal values. Pinchas Litvinovsky, would later abandon the Jewish and old Israeli idyll, and vantur to explore other styles (such as the childlike features identified with his work), but throughout his life and until his death at the age of 90, he continued to paint his beloved Arab figures.
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