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"Mordecai Ardon is considered by many to be Israel's greatest painter. He studied at the Bauhaus (1921-24) under Klee, Kandinsky, Feininger and Itten. The influence of the Bauhaus and especially of Paul Klee on his artistic development was profound and lasted a lifetime. The other great source of inspiration were the Old Masters, especially Rembrandt, and El Greco. After graduating from the Bauhaus he studied the painting techniques of the Old Masters at the Akademie der bildende Kunste in Munich under Max Doerner (1926). The depth and richness of Ardon's colours owe their quality to these techniques. Professor Avraham Ronen, of the Tel Aviv University summed up the particular character of Ardon's colours in the following words:
"Ardon's interest in colourism and colour-techniques is inseparable from his artistic credo. While in paintings by other artists each coloured area
appears to be meaningful to the observer only when it can be perceived as an integral part of the entire composition; i.e., when it is related to the
other adjacent coloured areas, Ardon conceived colour as possessing an
absolute aesthetic and spiritual value. He therefore always strove to create the most beautiful colours possible, the deepest blue, the warmest red, the most shining yellow, the most saturated green".|
"Modern art of the Bauhaus and the colour technique of the old Masters, are the two, seemingly contradicting, elements that forged the character of Ardon's painting throughout the 70 years of his artistic career. He was a modern, mainly abstract expressionist painter, who used the painting techniques of the old Masters. He extracted these techniques from their figurative context, and used them for the creation of his original contribution to Modern Art.
"Ardon believed in pure art devoid of any political or social message. He believed that a painting should be appreciated and judged solely by its inherent artistic elements, such as colour, composition and their interplay. He rejected literary, symbolic or, indeed, any other additional meaning attributed to a work of art. Yet, although he tried, he could not always overcome his urge to create an artistic expression of his horror of war and injustice. This urge culminated in the eight monumental triptychs which he created between 1955 and 1988, the last 'Hiroshima' was created when he was 92 years old. This anti-war and anti-violence outcry is also found in other paintings, such as Khirbet Khize and Fatal Eclipse. In a letter to Willem Sandberg, the director of the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam (and later, the first director of the Israel Museum), he acknowledges this inner conflict, which he likens to the historic conflict between Athens and Jerusalem:
(From an Ardon letter to Willem Sandberg, Director of the Stedelijk Museum, dated 15th August 1960)
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