Mordecai Ardon


Mordecai Ardon (born in 1896 in the small Polish village of Tuchow 1896-died in 1992) is considered by many to be Israel’s greatest painter.

He studied at the Bauhaus (1921-25) under Klee, Kandinsky, Feininger and Itten. The influence of the Bauhaus and especially of Paul Klee on his artistic development was profound and lasted a life time. The other great source of inspiration were the Old Masters, especially Rembrandt, and El Greco.

After graduating from the Bauhaus he studied the painting techniques of the Old Masters under Max Doerner, at the Munich Academy (1926).

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, he immigrated to Israel. In leaving Europe he not only lost the stimulating human contacts but also the inspiring museums and exhibitions. In addition, the landscape was different, the sky had a blinding light and the sunsets were overwhelmingly colorful.

1935-52: Taught at the Bezalel Art Institute, then became its director.

1940-52: In charge of Art Education Ministry of Education and Culture, and Advisor to the Israeli Government on Art Matters.

Since 1928, participated in group exhibitions in Berlin.

First one man exhibition 1948, New York.

1949-59: Exhibitions, Stedljik Museum Amsterdam,

These dual, seemingly contradicting elements, forged the character of his painting throughout the 70 years of his artistic career. Ardon’s unique position in Modern Art stems from the union of these two opposites in his paintings: A Modern, Expressionist, and mainly Abstract, style, with the classical painting technique of the Old Masters. The depth and richness of his colors owe their quality to this technique. He liberated them from the figurative context of the Old Masters, and turned them into tools for the creation of his original contribution to Modern Art of the 20th Century.

Ardon believed in pure art devoid of any political or social message. He believed that a painting should be appreciated and judged solely by its inherent artistic elements, color, composition and their interplay. He rejected literary, symbolic or, indeed, any other additional meaning attributed to a work of art. Yet, although he tried, he could not always overcome his urge to create an artistic expression of his horror of war and injustice. This urge culminated in the eight monumental triptychs which he created between 1955 and 1988, but is also found in many other paintings, such as Khirbet Khize and Fatal Eclipse. In a letter to essay writer Willem Sandberg, the legendary director of the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam (and later, the first director of the Israel Museum), he acknowledges this inner conflict, which he likens to the historic conflict between Athens and Jerusalem.

The Creation – Portfolio

Ten original lithographs 23.4 x 35.2″ (59.5 x 89.5 cm) printed by Mourlot Paris in 1970’s, issued in 150 copies numbered 1 to 150, plus 25 artists proofs numbered I to XXV, hand-signed in English and numbered in pencil.

Lithographs are placed in an elegant navy color canvas portfolio,

size: 38 x 24.4″ (96.5 x 62 cm).

Ardon painted several paintings based on Kabbala subjects, because he liked their poetic contents and the graphical drawings of the sefirot (God’s mystical attributes).

Creation was inspired by the Kabalistic conception of the Hebrew Alphabet.

Each work depicts a different letter in the Alphabet. Ardon’s rich and imaginary world is demonstrated by abstract images and vibrant colors.