Avigdor Arikha, 'giant of Israeli art' dies in Paris: media

30th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Painter and art historian Avigdor Arikha, a "giant of Israeli art" has died in Paris at the age of 81, the Haaretz newspaper reported on Friday.

Arikha lived most of his life in France and credited his longtime friend Irish author Samuel Beckett with influencing his decision to stay there.

Born in Romania in 1929, he and his family were sent during World War II to a concentration camp, where he drew sketches of deportation scenes.

He eventually reached British mandate Palestine, where he started studying art. Injured during the war that surrounded the creation of the state of Israel, he received a scholarship in 1949 to study art in Paris.

His style evolved through his life. He first made his name as an illustrator and moved from figurative works to abstraction and eventually observational studies.

An art historian, he organised a number of exhibitions, including at the Louvre in Paris and the Frick Collection in New York.

His work includes portraits of Queen Elizabeth II and of French actress Catherine Deneuve.

In recent years, his works have been shown at the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum in Madrid, the Marlborough Gallery in New York and London's British Museum.

© 2010 AFP

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