Born in Bukovina, Romania. immigrated to Israel in 1944 and settled in a Kibbutz near Jerusalem. Studied at the Bezlael Academy, and later at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and philosophy at Sorbonne in Paris.
Arikha's early work can be described as gloomy and mysterious abstract.
Since the 1970's his work has shown a direct connection to the French impressionism in terms of space and facture, he paints static objects in a dynamic surfaces and creates rhythm between the revealed and the hidden dimension.
But Arikha is not jut a mere realistic painter; like his colleagues, R.B. Kitaj and David Hockney, he insist on painting his objects standing in front of him.
By doing that, he is not only telling something about the truth of things but also implying we can only trust the here and now. The past is subject to all kinds of reinterpretation, and the future is simply a matter for speculation.
Arikha's goal is an allover dazzle of light that seems to come, as in the case of Vermeer and Velazquez, magically from within the painting itself. Light is, for him, the only acceptable illusion in painting because it is inherently immaterial. Arikha brings to bear a deep knowledge of chromatic theory that informs his deliberately restricted palette.
In the last thirty years, Avigdor Arikha has exhibited in the most important galleries and museum over the world. In the last few years he exhibited at the british museum, the Centre Pompidou, the art museum of San Fransisco and at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
he also curated several exhibitions at the Louvre (on Poussin) and at the Musee des Beaux-Arts, Dijon (on Ingres).
for further reading:
- articles and interviews with Arikha (in Hebrew) >> link to Achbar Ha'ir
- Marco Livingstone, "Avigdor Arikha: Artist and Scholar Who Sought to Capture
Existential Truths in the Everyday", The Independent, 3.6.2010 >> link to the
- Margalit Fox, "Avigdor Arikha, Artist of the Everyday, Is Dead at 81", New York
Times, 1.5.2010 >>link to the full article
- Stephen Coppel and Duncan Thomson, Avigdor Arikha: From Life -
Drawings and Prints, 1965-2005, 2006, British Museum Press, London
- Monica Ferrando and Arturo Schwarz, Avigdor Arikha, 2001, Moretti & Vitali,
- Marco Livingston, "Avigdor Arikha: What the Eye Beholds", 2000, Art in
America,vol. 88, pg. 96
- Duncan Thomson, Arikha, 1994, Phaidon, London
- Barbara Rose, "Arikha's Arcadia", Art in America, 2000, Vol. 88, pg. 102.
- Arikha, texts by Samuel Bekett, Andre Fermiger and more, 1985, Herman
Original art works by Avigdor Arikha can be found at the Engel Galleries Israeli art collection.