Auctioneers and Appraisers

Mordecai Ardon (Polish, 1896-1992) Near Jerusalem

Sold for:





American & European Works of Art - 2896B
Date / Time :
May 13, 2016 4:00PM


Mordecai Ardon (Polish, 1896-1992)

Near Jerusalem, 1946
Oil on canvas, 22 3/4 x 31 1/4 in. (57.7 x 79.3 cm), framed.
Condition: Fine, stable craquelure, surface grime.

Provenance: The estate of composer Gunther Schuller, Boston.

Literature: Michele Vishny, Mordecai Ardon (New York: Abrams Artbooks, 1974), p. 224, no. 71, pl. 62 (b&w).

Exhibitions: Paintings by M. Ardon-Bronstein, The Jewish Museum, New York, January 22-March 17, 1948, cat. no. 14.

N.B. Israeli, Jewish modernist painter Mordecai Ardon was born in 1896 in what is now Poland. He is known for creating large-scale semiabstract-style paintings filled with mystical connotations that are deeply moving. Ardon studied at the Bauhaus, and among his teachers were Lyonel Feininger, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and Johannes Itten. Having mastered the expressive potential of simple color and form, he continued his studies by learning old master works at the Academy of Decorative Arts in Munich. The rise of the Nazi regime forced Ardon to flee the country and he settled in Jerusalem in 1933. There he became a teacher at the country's chief art academy, the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts, and eventually, its director.

Ardon's interest in Jewish history and his own spirituality intensified after he moved to Jerusalem. He predominantly painted semiabstract landscapes, rendering his new city's hills and valleys with dramatic tones and stirring rhythms, as we see here. The gentle sloping landscape is animated by choppy, virtuoso brushwork and brilliant colors. Inspired by his study of Kabbalistic literature, Ardon developed a vocabulary of pictorial symbols and, elsewhere, broached difficult subjects such as the Holocaust. His most famous commission was a stained-glass window entitled Isaiah's Vision of Eternal Peace, for the National Jewish University and Library in Jerusalem.

Estimate $75,000-125,000

Shallow diagonal surfaceabrasion measuring 4-1/2 inches overall to l.l. quadrant, about 10 inches up from the bottom and 10 inches in from the left edge. Masking tape has been applied to the edge of the canvas where the frame lip overlaps the front. The masking tape has dried out and is peeling off in certain areas, and the paint surface appears intact underneath.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Johannes Itten, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Lyonel Feininger, Gunther Schuller, Michele Vishny, Poland, Ardon, Israeli Jews, Jewish artists, Mordecai, Mordecai Ardon