Tribute by Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, to Avigdor Arikha.
The great Israeli painter, draftsman and engraver Avigdor Arikha comes
to leave us. Everyone remembers the moving portraits
left us by his friend Samuel Beckett. May he choose to
represent their loved ones, famous people or strangers,
or sought to seize himself in a self-portrait, he possessed at a
exceptional degree the gift of capturing something of identity
and to express its mystery.
This artist had known an unusual destiny. Deported in a
concentration camp at the age of 12, it was in art that he had
to overcome this terrible ordeal,
drawing his daily life on fragments of stolen paper. He
knew the price of this life and had chosen to highlight its
beauties by brush, chisel, pen or pencil.
Born in Romania, became an Israeli citizen, it was in France that Avigdor
Arikha lived most of his life and realized
the bulk of his work. We lose one of the most talented friends
of our country, and will keep alive the memory of
this friendship and his art.