Israeli (born Ukraine), 1891–1985
The Painter and the Model
Oil on sackcloth
162 x 130 cm
Purchase, the 50th Anniversary Fund in honor of Issachar Haimovic, established by the American-Israeli Paper Mills, Ltd.
© Etia Illief Zaritsky, Tel Aviv
Accession number: B74.0036
Zaritsky was one of the most influential figures in Israeli art. His dominant personality and painting talent gained him the respect and admiration of three generations of Israeli artists, from his contemporaries on, who have helped forge the history of art in Israel. Zaritsky aimed to instill Modernist norms and modes of expression in Israeli art. His personal idiom blended the international art style with the influence of the light and climatic conditions of the Land of Israel. The lyrical abstract style of the New Horizons group, of which he was a founding member, emphasized the artist's expression of the human experience through painterly - formal and chromatic - rather than narrative elements.
The Painter and the Model belongs to a group of works Zaritsky made while giving art seminars in Kibbutz Na'an between 1949 and 1952. The figure of the artist is reduced to an abstract, bifurcated stick topped by a round form that is reminiscent of a lightbulb surrounded by a halo of light. It stands in front of a canvas on an easel under a light patch of paint resembling a truncated torso in profile. The whole work is characterized by an abstraction and fragmentation into geometric forms. The paint is applied directly onto the sackcloth, with areas left bare, creating in places a play between positive and negative, the unpainted areas playing an active role in the visual impact of the work.