With the support of the M.T. Abraham Foundation, on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the State Hermitage Museum, and with the kind collaboration of Mrs. Suzanne Landau, Director and Chief Curator of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Hermitage Museum Foundation Israel celebrated on Sunday, December 21st, “Homage to Catherine the Great of Russia“. Among the distinguished guests were Dr. Mikhail B. Piotrovsky, the Director of the State Hermitage Museum, Mr. Amir G. Kabiri, President of the Hermitage Museum Foundation Israel, Mr. Ron Huldai, Mayor of the city of Tel Aviv-Yaffo, Mr. James Snyder, Director of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, representatives from the Israeli Foreign Office and numerous guests that arrived especially for the occasion from Europe and the United States.
During the gala evening a benefit auction conducted by a representative from Phillips Auctioneers took place. Works by Israeli and Russian artists such as Zoya Cherkassky, Michail Grobman, Michal Na’aman, Vadim Zakharov, Tim Parchikov, Mstislav Valerianovich Dobuzhinsky, Anatoly Osmolovsky, Vladimir Wassilievich Sterligov, Raffi Kaiser, Leonard Baskin and Anatoly Belkin were proposed to the enthusiastic public. The highlights of the benefit auction were two unique items donated by one of the Foundation’s lead partners; Red-Diam: A 250th Jubilee Emblem of Catherine the Great Brooch – 18k custom-made rose gold with 138 fancy vivid pink diamonds, certified with 13 white diamonds, and a pair of 250th Jubilee Emblem of Catherine the Great Cufflinks – 18k yellow gold certified with 50 white diamonds and 6 Tsavorite diamonds.
The purpose of the benefit auction was to support the exhibition of the unique Göritz collection of Alexander Archipenko’s works, the biggest of its kind, which is at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. This collection will travel to the State Hermitage Museum in 2015, with the full support of the Hermitage Museum Foundation Israel. At the same time, works by Henri Matisse from the State Hermitage Museum will be on display at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The 6th candle of Hannukah was lit by renown Oscar winner actor Haim Topol, famous worldwide for his leading role in “Fiddler on the Roof”.
The evening ended with David Da’or, world-renown singer, songwriter and composer. Da’or, who has been referred to as “Israel’s most acclaimed modern singer”, and “who has taken the musical scene by storm”, performs a wide variety of music, including pop, rock, dance, folk, klezmer, Yemenite prayers, classical, opera, and baroque arias. The guests and patrons who were in attendance or bought tables were businessmen, art collectors, publicists, bankers and included Mr. Gabriel Last (Delek Group), Mr. Daniel Kroll (Seeya) Mr. Elad Zohar (RedDiam), Mr. Eran Akerman (Halcyon Gallery), Ms. Inna Bazhenova (The Art Newspaper) Mr. Len Blavatnik (Clal Industries), Mr. Leonid Friedland (Phillips), Mr. Keith Gapp (EFG International) and others. The evening was a great success, and the board of the Hermitage Museum Foundation Israel reported that this was the beginning of intensified cultural relations between Israel and Russia, as well as of a long lasting exchange program of exhibitions, conferences & scholars between the State Hermitage and leading Israeli Museums and Institutions.