Moshe Castel

The Covenant of the Pieces, oil on plywood, 60.5X76 cm. Signed.

Castel’s painting, the Covenant of the Pieces, is a rare work by one of the most important artists in the history of Israeli art. The painting depicts the biblical story of God giving Abraham a historical prophecy outlining the path of the children of Israel back to the land of Israel. Castel deftly evokes the ritual that gives validity to God’s promise by dividing animals and fowl into pieces: "a furnace of smoke and a torch of fire which passed between those pieces" (Genesis, chapter fifteen, verse seventeen). Castel depicts the symbolic scene in an uncharacteristic and turbulent way. His technique is dynamic and full of color in contrast to other paintings by Castel in which the palette is often darker.

This is an important painting which would ordinarily be the highlight of the large art auction , but due to a debt settlement of an important Israeli organization, we were asked to put it up for sale urgently at a low starting price.

Estimated price: $6,000 - $9,000

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About: Moshe Castel

Moshe Castel was born in Jerusalem in 1909 to a religious family from Castile. At 13 years old he got accepted to the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design where he studied for three years. Afterward, Castel traveled to France and continued his education program at the Académie Julian, at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and at the Louvre Museum.After acquiring the technical knowledge required for oil painting, he held his first exhibition in Paris in May 1927. Later on, Castel's works were exhibited in important salons in Paris, at special exhibitions in London and Warsaw. In 1933 he returned to Israel, lived in Tel Aviv and presented a solo exhibition at the Technion in Haifa. He then moved to Safed, held a solo exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum and in 1946 was awarded the Dizengoff Prize for painting and sculpture. In 1948 the group of artists Ofakim Hadashim was founded by him (along with others), the group embraced the foundations of abstract European art. Castel himself added oriental motifs to the abstract expressive style, influenced by what he called "Canaanite art", his later works include elements such as the ancient letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and are dealing with national and root themes and biblical stories combined with marks of archaic script. Castel's artistic clear identification is in working with basalt ground, creating a unique, symbolic and expressive style. By using national Jewish motifs his paintings have become more symbolic (Star of David, Moon and Star, Moslems, etc.). Castel's art aspires from Jewish sources on the one hand, and on the other hand is based on In-depth knowledge of world culture: from Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Canaanite, Persian, Indian and Russian art, to the most avant-garde trends in contemporary art. Castel participated in various exhibitions in Israel and around the world, including the Venice Biennial and the San Paolo Biennial in Brazil in which he won an award. His murals and reliefs can be found in many places in Israel and around the world (El Al offices in New York, the Knesset building in Jerusalem, the President's House in Jerusalem, the Israel Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan, etc.).
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