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Art Pane for Real Art Collectors

What is Art Pane? What we need to question is bricks, concrete, glass, our table manners, our utensils, our tools, the way we spend our time, our rhythms. To question that which seems to have ceased forever to astonish us. We live, true, we breathe, true; we walk, we go downstairs, we sit at a table in order to eat, we lie down on a bed on order to sleep. How? Where? When? Why? Describe your street. Describe another. Compare.
Georges Perec (L'Infra-ordinaire)

Welcome to Art Pane - here you can find special "objets d'art" and people who depart from them with sorrow in their hearts. To compensate for it, each item is accompanied with a few lines of personal adieu, written by the bereaved owner for the benefit of his successor and for the sake of continuity.

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Visit our Art Museum - one click and you are where you wish to be. Stroll. Have a look. Read. Enjoy. And if a piece has caught your eye, do not hesitate to call.

How would you go about presenting a collection of Israeli paintings ?

Every time I go to an art gallery or a museum to see a new exhibition or to review a permanent collection of Israeli paintings, the same old questions reenter my mind. What were the principles and the considerations that guided the curator in choosing the paintings for the exhibition? How did she decide about the order in which the chosen ones will be exhibited? How did he resolve who will be next to whom?

 

Israel Paldi - Gouache and Acrylic - ישראל פלדי - גואש ואקריליק - אם ובת

Israel Paldi - Gouache and Acrylic - ישראל פלדי - גואש ואקריליק - אם ובת

As you may have already guessed, I am constantly puzzled by the large variety of possibilities that exist until a choice in life is made and then all but the one chosen disappear. Nevertheless, I admit that when looking at a professional curator's doubts from the outside, although with great sympathy, it seems to me as if there is nothing special in this type of decision making. After all, the situation facing a curator is very clearly defined. Space and time are well defined - the objects are given - take a decision and follow it!

This process of making decisions changes dramatically when you are the curator! Being a curator of your family paintings' online collection is a real front line involving constraints which start with the emotional reactions of those who do not want to let go, and end up with paintings' photos distorted by mild light reflections due to glass frames. What looks like irrelevant details, frequently intervenes in the course of decisions and considerations which actually leave no real choice on how to act, become major issues. 

We have plenty of beautiful paintings by great Israeli painters, dear to our hearts, which we wish to present properly: upload quality photographs and give you the appropriate information. Have a look at this fantastic gouache painting by Israel Paldi above. It took us months to achieve the right snapshot which best reflects this unique painting - it was hanged on my wall since I was a child. I cherish it.

It also took me months to gather the details for Israel Paldi's biography page - it is amazing how the written resources about these great masters are limited so you have to mingle with the old guys who still remember something in order to fish stories.

Bottom line? - be patient with us, we keep adding things. However, we do not want to let anyone wait so if you are interested in a work of a particular Israeli artist from this list of great Israeli painters and sculptors, you can always write and tell me about it and I'll try to search in our collection for a work of art which satisfies your desire.

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Hot tea in a cold winter evening

A nice cup of hot tea in a cold winter evening - should I say more? I remember how we used to get together, sit and make ourselves comfortable, conversing about this and that, soft music playing in the air, the smell of the freshly baking cookies slowly diffusing from the kitchen. And then came the tea. Served in magnificent porcelain cups, slightly swinging and clinging while being carried into the room on a beautiful Jugendstil pewter tray, and the rich smell of the bergamot earl grey mixing with the scent of the white lilies I brought.

My uncle was in charge of opening the gate leg table. While he pulled out the legs and lifted the flaps, an embroidered map appeared from somewhere, and we all got around and took our sits.

 

Antique Victorian Gate-Leg table with folded legs and table-top flaps

Antique Victorian Gate-Leg Table

The conversation flared up - every possible topic could have been discussed around that table: poetry, history, the bourse, all mixed and blended with private personal matters. Anything. But, to be honest, I was not at all interested in the conversation, though I pretended to be. She was my woman - sitting and drinking her tea, I was looking at her through the steaming cups. Absorbed in her looks and forgetting everything else, I moved my fingers subconsciously under the map, along the scalloped edge of the table top.

When the party ended I volunteered to replace my uncle in folding up the table and put it back along the wall where it usually stood with a beautiful vase on it. She joined me, delicately picked up a lily from the garment and put it in the vase. And you know what? - That night she even let me escort her on the way home.

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I wish you all Chatimah Tova

Artist signature is, in most cases, a handwritten and sometimes stylized depiction of the artist's name, nickname, initials or any other symbol that the artist writes on his work as a proof of identity and intent. In art, the term - a signed work is equivalent to an authentic art piece which is properly signed by its original creator. So as a collector to collector, I wish you all Chatimah Tova חתימה טובה which will let the collector in you have a peaceful mind.

Avigdor Arikah L'issue - Artist's Signature on Engravings for Beckett - אביגדור אריכא

Adigdor Arikha signature in English and Hebrew on the right bottom of an aquatint engraving

 Samuel (Shmuel) Tepler - Harbor View - Oil on Canvas - שמואל טפלר - נוף נמל - Artist's Signature

Samuel Tepler signature in Hebrew

"ותבדוק שהצ'ק חתום" היה אבא חוזר ומזכיר לי לפני שהייתי יוצא לסיבוב הגביה החודשי שלי אצל הלקוחות הנאמנים שלו. כילד נוח להתרשם הייתי בטוח שהחתימה היא פיסת המידע החשוב ביותר שמופיע על גבי הצ'ק, וכל היתר, כמו גובה הסכום למשל, הוא שולי בהשוואה.

אכן, חתימה הוא מושג עתיק יומין ששרד את תהפוכות התרבות ונפלאות הטכנולוגיה. בכל הנוגע ליצירת קשרים של אמון, אנשים מיחסים לחתימות משקל רב. דומה שבמקרים רבים הערך הפסיכולוגי של חתימה עולה על הערך המשפטי שלה. חתימות של אמנים ואומנים על יצירותיהם אינה יוצאת דופן מבחינה זו. יצירה חתומה תמיד מוסיפה שקט נפשי לבעליה, מעין תעודת ביטוח כנגד קטגורים אמיתיים או מדומים שינסו לערער על טיבה וערכה. סימן מובהק לחשיבות הנושא ולשורשיו העמוקים, הן הדרגות וסימני המשנה שניתנים בו. האם החתימה מתנוססת בחזית הציור או מוצנעת במקום כלשהו על גב התמונה? האם האמן חתם על עבודתו כשסיים אותה, או שמא בדיעבד, לאחר מספר שנים? האם היא בראשי תבות או בשם מלא?

בניגוד לצ'קים וחוזים משפטיים אחרים, אפשר למצוא עניין גם באקט החתימה עצמו, ובמשמעות שהוא נושא בחובו מבחינת האמן ולא רק מבחינת הקונה המעונין באישור מקוריותו של האובייקט שעבר לבעלותו. האם אקט החתימה מהווה הכרזה של האמן על סיום תהליך היצירה ולידתה הרשמית של היצירה עצמה? האם האמן חותם (במובן של סוגר ואורז) תהליך נפשי פנימי כשהוא חותם את שמו על הבד? האם היא מבטאת את מצב רוחו של האמן? את יחסו ליצירה?

עולמינו הוא הטוב שבעולמות האפשריים אך לבטח לא המושלם שבהם, ומסתובבות בו הרבה יצירות ראויות ונפלאות שיוצריהן לא זיכו אותן בחתימתם מסיבות שונות ומשונות. מה עושים במקרה כזה?

לכל עצה. אספנים שבידם יצירות לא חתומות של אמנים חשובים פונים לא פעם עם היצירה למומחה מדופלם כדי כשילמד אותה, ויאשר בחוות דעת, כתובה היטב, מנומקת ומתוקצבת כהלכה, שאכן, לפי מיטב השכלתו ושיפוטו, היצירה שלפניו מתאימה בסגנונה, בנושאיה ובאופן הביצוע לעבודותיו של אמן פלוני אלמוני. אין ספק שזהו מהלך סביר ונכון מבחינתו של האספן, להצטייד בתעודה שכזו עבור יצירה יתומה שבאוספיו, ולנו לא נותר אלא להזכיר לו לאספן שיבדוק שהמומחה אכן חתם בשמו ותוארו המלא על התעודה, לפני שהוא עצמו חותם על צ'ק שכר הטרחה.

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Who buys Art Books?

It always interested me to know how artists learn to be artists. I almost wrote here "learn their trade" or "learn their profession" but some of you may not agree that these terms are appropriate for discussing such a subject. I actually think that these are the right words. They are not in contradiction with inspiration, creativity and the like - to the contrary.

 

Ernst Fuchs: Architectura Caelestis - Study your mentor earnestly

Ernst Fuchs - Architectura Caelestis

As I see it, art is a profession as any other. And if you want to become a professional in the field of activity you have chosen for yourself, you start digging into it, you try to learn and understand every little detail you can put your hands on. The artist is not afraid of imitating, but his aim is not learn to imitate but to imitate for the purpose of learning, for the purpose of understanding how it works. He or she hopes that a deeper understanding will open the gate to a path of their own. So how do you learn the very many little details?

I recall a TV program about the great musician Eric Clapton. In one of the fascinating stories he told there, he described how, in his youth, he sat on the grass in some public garden in his hometown and played repeatedly, for hours on end, the records of a blues master whose music he wanted to study and assimilate. It surprised me because I had this simple picture in mind according to which the musician makes the music and records it, and the music lover buys the record and enjoys it (or not). But here was a musician, standing, as it were, on the wrong side of the equation, and playing the record for his own personal research of his professional world.

Then I realized that in fact, this is true universally. Writers and poets read other writers and poets books and learn their ways. Painters and sculptors look for art books about the works of the artists they have chosen as their mentors and study them earnestly. They want to decipher all the codes and secrets and in this sense every true art lover that studies his art books is an artist in potential. 

מטבע לשון מן המיתולוגיה העברית המודרנית שואלת: "דייג אוהב דגים?" יש דייגים ויש דייגים, יש דגים ויש דגים.

הכרתי פעם בעלת גלריה לאמנות, שהיתה לה שיטה מקורית משלה לדוג דגים. חלל הגלריה לא היה גדול. באולם הראשי הוצגו תערוכות מתחלפות (אחת לחודש או חודשיים) של ציירים ופסלים צעירים ומבטיחים, רבות מהן תערוכות בכורה. בחדר האחורי, שהיה קטן ושקט נשמר האוסף הקבוע של הגלריה שהורכב מעבודות של אמנים ותיקים ומוערכים שכבר היה להם "שוּק". בעלת הגלריה עצמה ישבה מאחורי שולחן בשולי האולם הראשי, בנקודת תצפית נוחה על הכניסה. שם, בסמוך, סידרה לה ספריה קטנה על פי טעמה והעדפותיה - שניים שלושה מדפים עמוסים במבחר מעורר תיאבון של ספרי אמנות מן העולם הרחב שהקיפו מגוון רחב של נושאים, תחומים וזמנים ולידם שניים שלושה כסאות די נוחים.

 

Dugith Art Galerry with Art Books - ספרי אמנות בגלריה דוגית

Dugith Art Gallery with Art Books

המבקרים בגלריה אהבו להתעכב באותה פינה, לבחור להם ספר מן המדף, להתיישב ולדפדף. רבים מהם היו אמנים בעצמם וכך היתה לי הזדמנות יום יומית לצפות מקרוב וללמוד על המשיכה העזה של אמנים לספרי אמנות - גם האוונגרדיסטים המורדים ביותר שביניהם מחפשים בסופו של דבר את הקשר בין מה שמניע אותם ואת יצירתם למה שעשו קודמיהם.

התעמקות ביצירות של אחרים, לימוד של הטכניקות והבנת הרצף התרבותי הם חלק חיוני בבנית הזהות העצמית של כל יוצר, ולספרי האמנות תפקיד ראשי בתהליך הזה. סביב אותה "ספריית גלריה" התפתחו לא מעט דיונים ושיחות ערניות בנושאים שבמהות האמנות והיצירה, וגם אם הסתפקתי בתפקיד של שומע מן הצד יצאתי נשכר.

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Isfahan or Kashan - which one is the jewel in the crown of the Persian Carpets?

I was always thrilled by the terms "Isfahan rug" and "Kashan rug" as representatives of the highest quality Persian carpets. In both, artistic excellence and technical achievements in weaving were bundled together to create beautiful pieces of design and handcraft. It is said that Shah Abbas himself had never walked upon rugs which were inferior to these two brilliant brands of the Persian carpet manufacturing. But how can one distinguish between an Isfahan carpet and a Kashan carpet?

 

Antique Isfahan carpet or antique Kashan carpet ?

Antique Isfahan carpet or antique Kashan carpet ?

Both cities, Isfahan (also rendered as Esfahan) and Kashan (a city in the Isfahan province, 250 Km from Isfahan) reside in north central Iran and have long been the centers for production of Persian rugs. In both cities, the production of carpets took place in royal workshops starting at the 17th century. The weaving workshops ceased production in about 1722 when Afghans invaded Iran, ended the Safavid dynasty, and paralyzed the luxurious hand-made carpets industry. In the city of Kashan for example, the weaving workshops have changed their production lines and became garment manufacturers.

In the late 19th century, the market shifted back and the weaving industry went from production of wool cloth to the making of fine wool carpets. According to Cecil Edwards, a garment merchant called Hajji Mullah Hassan, was responsible for the revival of rug weaving in Kashan in 1890. The story says that Hajji Mullah Hassan was stuck with piles of Manchester wool due to a decline in his clothing business. His diligent wife used the wool stock and wove the pivots of the new wave of Kashan beautiful rugs.

From the mid-19th to the early 20th century the finest quality Persian rugs were manufactured in Isfahan and Kashan. In Isfahan, the leading carpet designers and manufacturers were members of the Seirafian family, and in Kashan the Mohtashem family owned the best weaving workshops.

Both names flash in one's mind when someone talks about Persian "city" rugs. There is a deep rug weaving tradition there - rugs and carpets from the beginning of the 20th century usually have ivory backgrounds with sophisticated floral motifs in red, blue, rose, and indigo, composing symmetrical and balanced designs. Their excellent quality is due to the use of the finest wool - sometimes the pictorial details of the carpet are knotted on either silk or cotton foundations, with up to 600 kpi (knots per inch). In contemporary items the palette is usually based on pastel colors, and the technical perfection is generally of greater importance than the artistic flair.

Since some of the best Kashan and Isfahan rugs are manufactured nowadays in Ardistan as well as in Yazd and Kashmar in the Khorasan province, the terms Kashan and Isfahan no longer refer to the origin of the manufacturer, but rather describe the artistic style of the carpet. Ishfahan rugs can be hard to distinguish from Kashans, but their tendency to use elaborate Safavid medallion designs, with as many as 20 colors, make it possible, usually, to distinguish them on a design or a color basis.

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AP, EA, Hors De Commerce or IP?

An IP address is a numerical code assigned to each computer who runs, at a given moment, the internet protocol (and thereby is part of the internet - this strange activity that enables you, among other things, to read the words you read now). The IP address identifies the computer to which it is given.

And what is an AP? An AP is a commonly used abbreviation among collectors and art dealers for "Artist's Proof". Quite often you will encounter the French version of this terminology: Epreuve d'Artist which is abbreviated to EA. When an artist makes a print, he or she often adds to the official limited and numbered edition, some more prints which are called proofs. A common type of proof is the Artist's proof - prints which are allocated to the artist for his/her personal use (e.g., to be given as a present to a close friend etc). Normally, the number of prints which are part of the Artist's proof will be about ten percents of the size of the edition. The prints of all types of proofs, including the Artist's proof, are marked according to the type of the proof, numbered and validated with the artist's signature.

 

Artist's Proof / Epreuve d'Artist by Ernst Fuchs

Ernst Fuchs - Artist's Proof Signature

So, IP and AP (or EA) are two types of abbreviations' concepts which come from two completely unrelated areas - but is it really the case? I like to think that there is some similarity, beyond the similarity of the sounds. When an artist prints an edition of 100, 150 or even 300 identical looking prints, something of his personal touch, the feeling of his involvement in his own work, gets lost. But when I hold in my hands a print with "Epreuve d'Artist" inscribed on its lower left corner, and the artist's personal signature on its lower right corner, I feel that an unmediated connection with the master of the work has been established. I have his personal IP

BTW - Hors De Commerce prints, or HC's as they are called in the industry, are very similar to Artist Proofs except they are only available through the artist directly. Usually there are only 15 made per edition. The artist gives these away as gifts or sells them. They are valued as Artist Proofs, or higher since they are even more rare. The term Hors De Commerce means "Out of Trade" in English.

Have a look at Ernst Fuches' EA signature on this rare color etching and read more about techniques of printmaking as a fine art such as Woodcut, Engraving, Etching, Mezzotint, Aquatint, Drypoint, Lithography, Monotype and Monoprint.

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What is the difference between a Bolesht and a Chuval?

Although most of Turkomans (AKA Turkmen) in Afghanistan and Turkestan are now a sedentary people, they were originally nomads, herding their flocks of sheep and goats across the rolling steppes of Central Asia. They lived in Yurts, those circular domed tents seen from Mongolia to the Caspian Sea. These wood framed tents, easily dismantled and reassembled, were lined and roofed with felt and skirted with thick red matting, the whole being bound with woven tent bands. During winter, an open fire burned in the center of the Yurt, and the smoke was slowly leaving through a chimney hole in the roof. Fuel was dried manure, which gave off a pungent smell and soon blackened the felt walls and ceiling (traditionally, a Yurt constructed for a newlywed couple was white at the beginning of its lifecycle). The inside closure of the Yurt was a carpet of special design called a Purdah (curtain).

 

A typical Yurt - circular domed tent in central Asia


Turkmen Yurt

Not surprisingly, in this largely self-sufficient and ovine-based economy, wool was used extensively. Beside carpets and rugs, the Turkomans produced countless items made with wool for their daily domestic needs since wood and metal were extremely difficult to come by and were not flexible and so easy to transport. Having no furniture, the Turkomans nomads stored their clothes and household possessions in woven and knotted bags of different shapes and sizes often of magnificent workmanship and design, each of which had a specific purpose. These bags were hung on the inside of the Yurt, or placed on the ground and used as cushions.

In every family, a minimum of tent bags was necessary for the storing of their possessions. Thus, the wealth and the status of the family had a decided bearing on the number of the bags owned. Wealth implied a greater number of possessions, while status determined the number of bags a girl would bring in her dowry. When a girl approached marriageable age - usually in her early teens - she, and the other women in her family, would start to weave carpets, bags and other pieces for her dowry. If a would-be suitor was not considered acceptable, the girl's father would answer that the dowry pieces were not yet completed. This tactful answer saved any loss of face. On the other hand, if the match was considered suitable, a tacit agreement was reached and the weaving of the pieces was accelerated!

Amongst the Turkomans of Afghanistan, there appeared no hard and fast rule as to what woven pieces constituted a dowry. Much depended on the standing of the parties involved. However the number had to be adequate, that much is certain, otherwise loss of face ensued for all concerned. Among the traditional Yurt furnishing you could find the following items:

The Chuval or Juwal

The Chuval (also known as Juval, Juwal or Choval) was the largest Yurt's tent bag - a rug with a particular shape, with the design running widthwise. The reverse side is usually plain or embroidered Killim, which enable it to be stuffed and used as a cushion. Juvals are often hung from two corners inside tents, and this sometimes gives them a curved shape. When migrating, pairs of this type of bag were hung one on either side of a camel, this is why they were also called "camel bags". The Chuval primarily use was in connection with wedding processions. Have a look at this extraordinary example of a remarkable Yumut Chuval.

 

The Chuval or Juwal - The largest Yurt tent bag


Turkmen Yomut Chuval

The Bolesht

The Bolesht (aka Balisht or Pushti) is a small to medium knotted and piled bag used as cushion or pillow. In Afghan Turkestan, this type of bag was made in small quantities usually by the weavers of Andkhoy. The Baluch and the Turkmen tribes, who settled in the north of Afghanistan and made Baluch type goods, produced the Bolesht in a slightly different shape - a long rectangular bag which was used both as a storage bag and a pillow. Have a look at a beautiful Baluch style Bolesht

The Khorjin

The Khorjin (aka Khourjeen, Khordjin, Khorjun and Khurdzhin) was made of joint pairs (double bag), either knotted and piled or flat woven. It is often called a "donkey bag" though it was usually carried by a man over the shoulder, and was not a dowry piece, being made by the new bride after marriage. Have a look at this beautiful Baluch Khorjin which performed much the same function as the shopping basket in Western countries. A larger version of Khourjeen was used as panniers on donkeys and horses - these type of bags were made throughout Afghan Turkestan and form an important part of the Beluch weaving production.

The Jallar

The Jallar is a long narrow bag affixed to the Yurt's wall and belongs to the category of bags, loosely referred to as "tent bags". It was either knotted and piled or flat woven, and nearly always had woolen fringes hanging from the lower edge.

The Jallar Paidar (a Jallar with feet)

The Jallar Paidar, AKA Kapunuk, virtually always knotted and piled, was an ornament which was placed inside the Yurt and over the doorway. The two feet, one over each side of the doorway, were usually pointed and had wool and silk tassels. Wool fringes of red, indigo or alternating bands of red and indigo normally hung from the underside of the Jallar Paidar. Have a look at an amazing genuine antique Ersari Jallar Paidar which is considered a major artwork in this type of weaving and a collector item of enduring value.

Note: the terms listed above are commonly used between oriental rugs traders and rug collectors. See also the following list of Turkmen rugs terms and nomenclature and read more on Turkmen Objects in the excellent "Carpets and Rugs from Turkmenistan" online exhibition in the Weaving Art Museum site.

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Euclid's Elements of Geometry - a bestseller or a collectible book?

We will not dwell over its immense importance and the way this book shaped the logical thinking and the scientific methods with which we live to this very day. The following is a photo of a rare fragment, which comes as close as possible to the original manuscript.

 

Euclid's Elements of Geometry - a bestseller or a collectible item?

 

פריט אספנות או סתם עותק של רב-מכר? פפירוס יפייפה זה מציג תרשים הלקוח מספרו של אוקלידס "יסודות הגאומטריה", ספר העוסק בגאומטריה ובתורת המספרים, וללא ספק אחד מספרי המתמטיקה המצליחים בהיסטוריה. הספר מתחיל בהגדרות, בהנחות ובאקסיומות, ומתקדם הוכחה אחר הוכחה, כאשר כל אחת מתבססת על קודמתה. המבנה הלוגי המסודר, היוצא מהנחות מצומצמות ככל האפשר ומגיע מהן למסקנות מרחיקות לכת, הצית את דמיונם של מדענים שקראו בו במשך הדורות ויישמו בעבודתם את גישתו.

One of the oldest and most complete diagrams from Euclid's Elements of Geometry is a fragment of papyrus found among the remarkable rubbish piles of Oxyrhynchus in 1896-97 by the renowned expedition of B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt. It is now located at the University of Pennsylvania. The diagram accompanies Proposition 5 of Book II of the Elements, and along with other results in Book II it can be interpreted in modern terms as a geometric formulation of an algebraic identity - in this case, that ab + (a-b)2/4 = (a+b)2/4 (although the relationship between Euclid's propositions and algebra, which he did not possess, is controversial). 

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