Summer 2002



Realist Artist Philip Pearlstein Gets His Wish


Two years ago, the 77-year-old artist Philip Pearlstein, whose realist style had been shunned by the New York art elite but whose star has steadily been rising in recent years, visited Israel.  He expressed a desire at the time to return and to exhibit. The University gave the American artist the opportunity to do both.

   The Board of Governors 30th Meeting featured as one of its events the opening of the exhibition “Philip Pearlstein—Recent Works.”  The event also marked the dedication of the University’s renovated Art Gallery.

   The soft-spoken artist said he never thought of himself as courageous after Avishay Ayal, the University’s curator of collections, used that term to describe both Pearlstein’s coming to Israel at this time and his artistic role.

    “I did want to upset people,” he explained.  “At the time [the 1950s and 1960s], abstract expressionism ruled in New York, so I rebelled.  I wanted to show that realism was its equal.”

    Asked how much his paintings fetched at sales, Pearlstein said he left that to the galleries.  The diffident artist then added that “teaching made it possible to paint.”  He holds a “distinguished professorship” at Brooklyn College.

    As a gesture to the University, Pearlstein gave a week-long master class in realist painting.

    The current show, which coincides with the publication of new monograph on the artist written by the senior curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, runs until August 8th.


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