- Moshe Mokady
- Workers at the Port
- Signed Mokady and in Hebrew (upper right); signed in Hebrew and inscribed I (on the reverse)
- Oil on canvas
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2013
This recently rediscovered work from the 1920s epitomizes the bright colors, bold compositions and movement of Mokady’s Eretz-Israel paintings from the early 1920s. This important period of Mokady’s work was well received in his 1926 exhibitions in Cairo and Alexandria, before he continued his work and education in Paris. “Mokady’s development reveals the influences he has absorbed. On seeing his work, one recalls all the young painting of Europe – Hodler, Schiele […] Chagall. What he has adopted from them is not so much a mode of painting as a state of mind. What is most constant in Mokady’s work is his clear color, as fresh as a glass of water. The objects do not receive their light from the outside; they themselves radiate light through the gentle impact of their color. This is what makes Mokady’s paintings entities which breathe happiness and liberation.” (Paul Haessaerts, “Le peintre Mokady,” Le Magazine egyptien, 23 November, 1926)
Few works from this period survive, though there are a few notable scenes of Haifa circa 1925 in important collections. In Irith Hadar’s monogram on the artist from 1999, she sustains that most of Mokady’s early works, pre-1926, were lost or destroyed over the years, and that like many artists in Israel at the time, Mokady painted over his early paintings with new works, either for financial or stylistic concerns or both. (Irith Hadar, Moshe Mokady: The Life and the Creation, p. 18)
Workers at the Port, was recently discovered under a later work by the artist.