Property from a Private Swiss Collection
1896 - 1992
BIRD IN SNOWSTORM
signed Ardon (lower right)
painted circa 1951
oil on canvas
33 by 25⅝ in.
84 by 65 cm.
Overall this work is in very good condition. Canvas is not relined. The surface is in good condition. There are a few thin lines of craquelure on top left corner. When viewed under UV light scattered spots of retouching are apparent mainly on lower left quarter of the work and on the two upper corners.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Sale: Sotheby's Tel Aviv, April 26, 1997, lot 329
Purchased from the above by the present owner
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Ardon - A Retrospective, 1985, no. 41, illustrated in the exhibition catalogue
Michele Vishny, Mordechai Ardon, New York, 1973, no. 94, p. 227. illustrated
Dalia Ardon Ish-Shalom, Ardon: A Comprehensive Catalogue, Jerusalem, 2019, p. 93, no. 132, illustrated in color
This remarkable early work dates from the period when Ardon had achieved full artistic maturity: most of the concerns that would dominate his works of the next three decades are already visible here. The distinctive coloration, the surface texture achieved by the sanding down of the impastoed oil paint and the virtuoso integration of figurative symbols into an essentially abstract framework.
Ardon's birds are inspired by the celebrated medieval illuminated manuscript The Birds Head Hagaddah in which human figures with birds' heads depict historical events from the Bible. In a similar manner Ardon's birds or themes relating to birds can be read on one level as characteristically euphemistic symbols for the human condition and on the other as a Jewish artist's attempt to create a distinctive form of art without attempting to render the kind of human form that the iconoclastic aspects of Judaism had eschewed since the Decalogue.
Another important motif recurrent in the artist's works is the ladder which stretches, never ending, high into the unknown. Here it is surrounded by spiritual windows, or miniature paintings, with jewel-like symbols and colors raising the viewer's gaze higher and higher as if climbing the ladder. Arturo Schwartz discusses this symbols and notes: "The ladder (sullam) is frequently mentioned in biblical and esoteric writings, where the rungs or steps stand for degrees of spiritual awareness (1 Kings 10:19; Ezekiel 40:26, 31)." (Arturo Schwarz in 'Family Portraits, Self-Portraits, and Autobiographical Recollections', Mordecai Ardon: The Colors of Time, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, 2003, p. 63).