Sale: Contemporary Art Auction Date of sale: 07.07.2024 Item: 39

Ofra Zimbalista

The Cellist,
Painted aluminum casting,
150X90X105 cm.
Provenance: The Artist’s estate.

I personally got to know Ofra through her good friend Eli who pointed out to me that I must meet this wonderful and unique artist. And so, I arrived on a Friday night for dinner at her house, and from that moment on, I was captivated by her charm. We were at dinner with a number of art collectors, and some of them requested to purchase a specific sculpture of hers for their garden or art space. Ofra explained to us that she needed to see the placement location or the intended space, and only then would she confirm the purchase. There was no compromise; the value of art and respect for her creations were of utmost importance.

A sentence engraved in my memory from that dinner on Friday night is, "This blue belongs to everyone."

Many of the figures of her sculptures are painted in a shade of blue reminiscent of the works of Yves Klein, and some of the critics even wrote about it. In a conversation on that same evening, I mentioned this to her, and Ofra, who was energetic, joyful, and assertive, replied that she was aware of it but decided that it was unreasonable for someone to claim ownership over a shade of color or to patent it. This blue, like all colors, belongs to everyone, and since she loved it, she used it without any problem.

She chooses for most of her works to sculpt human figures in natural human size, and only the figure or the color of the sculpture are the dominant elements in her creation. In her sculptures, she freezes the movement of the human within the sculpture.

Ofra sees the placement of her sculptures in public spaces as an integral part of the artwork itself. When she considers the optimal viewpoint of the observer, she knows how to integrate into a given space while exploiting all the options, advantages, and disadvantages of the place. Her works have become a symbol of place, and their location goes from the heart of the industrial area in the sculpture garden in Tefen, Esther displayed in David Tower in Jerusalem, the choir that was on the balcony of the Oragin building on Rothschild Boulevard, and the choir in sign language in the Rubinstein building in Tel Aviv, and many others.

For many years, we sought a work by Ofra for the Discount collection. The choir that was on the Oragin building was offered for public sale, and we thought to purchase it for the collection and place it on the balcony of the "Herzel-lilienblum" Museum of Banking of Discount on the corner of Herzl/Lilienblum streets, but unfortunately, the sale was canceled by the family.

The appearance of "The Cello Player" in the sale gives hope that Ofra is returning to us.

Shulamit Nuss

Curator of Art Collection

Discount Bank of Israel

Estimated price: $12,000 - $16,000

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