In 1965, at the height of a successful career as an abstract painter in Paris and New York, Romanian-born Israeli artist Avigdor Arikha (b.1929) suddenly stopped painting to return to drawing from life. When he returned to painting in 1973 it was to begin on the series of intensely observed portraits, nudes and still lifes for which he is now known worldwide.
Arikha's intimate still lifes include such domestic subjects as a bundle of asparagus, a corner of his Paris studio and the books on his library shelves. His portraits range from informal studies of his close friends the playwright Samuel Beckett and the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, to striking portrayals of public figures. Across the diversity of his subjects, Arikha succeeds with apparent effortlessness to express at the same time raw energy and quiet sensitivity, in a subtle approach that is at once intensely personal and with which one can identify.
This book surveys Arikha's entire ��uvre, and includes much of his recent work. Altogether it comprises a riveting journey across the life and career of one of the most pioneering and self-reflective of recent Western painters, who stands out radiantly from an ocean of contemporary figurative painters. Arikha is an exhaustive monograph of an incredible life and demonstrates how it fuelled the formation of this subtly mesmerising and historically monumental artist.