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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Financially Strapped Jewish Elite Auctioning Their Masterpieces In Israel


In an effort to stave off financial disaster, an elite group of economically- challenged American Jewish businessmen, investment firms and private individuals have put some of their most prized art collectibles up for sale via Israel’s Matsart auction house.

Several of the sellers have reportedly been decimated by the sub-prime real estate market and Wall Street crises.

On Sunday, November 30, hundreds of local art aficionados will flock to Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, where Matsart will unveil 52 renowned paintings – including works from Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro and Ludwig Blum – for sale to the public. The auction, to be telecast worldwide via the artonline.co.il website, is expected to raise millions of dollars for Matsart’s clients. The auction also has a tzedakah component, as 10 percent of the proceeds will be donated to outreach organizations across Israel.

A Matsart spokesperson told The Jewish Press, “Some of the consignors are looking to raise capital for the daily running of their businesses, as well as to have access to hard cash to capitalize on possible investment opportunities. Some other businessmen and private individuals are preparing for the worst by requesting that monies from the sale of their artworks be placed in their private Israeli shekel bank accounts.”

 

 

The famous Camille Pissarro painting that will be auctioned off in Jerusalem this weekend

 

From an art collector’s perspective, the availability of rare masterpieces that had been off the market for years is a much hoped for opportunity for those who can afford them. “Some of the masterpieces are being offered for the very first time, and Israel is known as a great venue for art collectors from around the world,” added the Matsart spokesperson.

Matsart Auctioneers and Appraisers was established in 2006 as the outcome of a merger between Ramat Gan-based Matsa and the Lucien Krief Gallery in Jerusalem. The company holds at least three art auctions per year, showcasing over 1,000 artworks. Matsart has over 7,800 collectors and investors worldwide who receive their fine art catalogs, with nearly half of the potential buyers residing in North America.

According to Matsart, both the Picasso and Pissarro paintings are expected to fetch well over a million dollars apiece for their consignors. However, no one can gauge the exact selling price within the unpredictable bidding process. Nevertheless, the earned monies will be used to prevent several unnamed prominent members of the American Jewish community from falling into a financial abyss.

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