Trendy Art Gallery Opening
A new Soho-like fine art gallery is opening on Empire Blvd. in Crown Heights featuring an exhibition by an Israeli artist.
The Betzalel Gallery, a new fine art gallery in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, demands attention with its chic exterior - like that of a trendy Soho gallery - although it sits sandwiched between an aging Laundromat and a bland, pre-war brownstone apartment building.
Specializing in chassidic art, the gallery stands as a symbol of the continued revival of Crown Heights and the remarkable emergence of this art form.
Inside the Betzalel Gallery are the Rembrandts, van Goghs and Monet of the chassidic art world. These are the most sought after – and highly ticketed - art pieces by the contemporary masters of Judaic art.
These wonderful paintings depict scenes of Jewish life and tradition, painted in the representational art style, an elderly Hassid with a long white beard teaches children from an old book by the light of a candle, a tailor dressed from the Shtetal times mends tethered garments, earnest young Yeshiva boys in traditional black hats and coats walk down the windy roads of Jerusalem.
The gallery curator is Shmuel Pultman, a Boro Park resident who opened a similar art gallery in Boro Park almost 20 years ago. Pultman has been at the forefront of chassidic art's meteoric rise. He has seen the prices of the finest paintings jump tenfold at the same time as contemporary representational art has declined in popularity.
"Twenty years ago, the most a Judaic artist was able to command for a painting was $20,000 - $30,000. The Betzalel Gallery's top painting has an asking price of $175,000 although there are paintings starting from $3,000," he said.
For Pultman, it was straight-forward to recognize that chassidic art's time had arrived. He saw that many Holocaust survivors' children had achieved considerable financial success. They were building large, beautiful homes but had nothing with which to fill the walls. His mission for the past 20 years has been to educate Jews about fine Jewish art.
The Betzalel Gallery will officially open its doors on Thursday, May 17. There will be an artist reception and exhibition of the great contemporary Judaic artist Itshak Holtz’s watercolors and drawings.
Itshak Holtz is a prime example of the ascendancy of chassidic Art. Born in Poland, he immigrated to Jerusalem before World War II. He began drawing and studying art in Israel and continued his studies in New York. His everyday portrayals of traditional Jewish life, as well as the charm of Jerusalem’s winding alleyways, have become iconic and are some of the most coveted pieces in the Jewish art world.
Now 86 years old, Mr. Holtz is the elder statesman of the Hassidic art world and is acknowledged as the greatest contemporary Judaic artist.
The Exhibit will run from May 20 through June 10.
The Betzalel Fine Art gallery is located at 567 Empire Blvd Brooklyn, NY. The Opening Art Exhibition will be on Thursday, May 17 Starting at 7:30 PM. For more information on the exhibition and gallery go to http://www.facebook.com/TheBetzalelGallery