Each December (perhaps in time for holiday shopping?), Sotheby’s in New York presents its sales of ”Important Judaica” as well as “Israeli and International Art.”
This year, the auctions take place on December 17th. The diverse offerings will give buyers and viewers the opportunity to see and potentially bid on Judaica pieces from around the world and fine art from Israel.
The Judaica sale features Esther scrolls, prayer books and artistic ketubot, marriage contracts, in addition to a number of paintings. One item of interest is the “Minuscule Torah Scroll” from 19th century Germany. Measuring just three inches tall – the smallest Torah scroll ever offered for public sale – and estimated at $200-300,000, it is mounted upon silver turned finials with engraved floral motifs. The scroll is housed in a custom wood-and-silver traveling ark along with a silver “yad” and a cloth mantle.
A spice tower from Stadlein in Germany from 1730 is estimated at $70-100,000. It is intriguingly listed as the “property of a gentleman.”
The Israeli art sale spans over 100 years of art creation in the holy land. Included are a number of exciting contemporary pieces that showcase Israel’s strength in the international art world.
One highlight is a print by Adi Nes, a scene from his Soldiers series based on “The Last Supper.” This untitled photograph, estimated at $80-120,000, is number four from an edition of five. Number two from this edition sold for $264,000 in 2007, a record price for Israeli artwork.
A DVD of Sigalit Landau’s video piece, “DeadSee,” which is in the collections of major art museums including the Museum of Modern Art and the Israel Museum, is estimated at selling for $100-150,000. Older works by Israeli masters Reuven Rubin and Anna Ticho are also for sale.
For those who would like to purchase works and give tzedakah simultaneously, the sale of some of the art in the Israeli sale will benefit Artis, an Israeli art advocacy organization.
The artwork and Judaica are on view on Monday, December 16th, 10 am until 1 pm. The “Important Judaica” auction is on Tuesday, December 17th at 10 am, and the “Israeli and International Art” auction is at 2 pm, at Sotheby’s, 1334 York Avenue, New York.
Caroline Lagnado is an arts writer in New York