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Interest Rises for Images of Israel’s Barry Frydlender

Prices have been on an upward swing for Israeli photographer Barry Frydlender, reports his New York gallerist Andrea Meislin. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, currently is displaying ten of the artist’s large-scale photographs in an exhibit titled “Place and Time” (through Sept. 3). The show has stimulated a lot of interest from

NEW YORK—Prices have been on an upward swing for Israeli photographer Barry Frydlender, reports his New York gallerist Andrea Meislin. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, currently is displaying ten of the artist’s large-scale photographs in an exhibit titled “Place and Time” (through Sept. 3). The show has stimulated a lot of interest from collectors, Meislin says.

In the Andrea Meislin Gallery’s first exhibit of Frydlender’s work in fall 2004, there were 15 of his photographs (in editions of eight), priced from $5,000/25,000. Two years later, in the show of nine images (in editions of five) at the gallery’s 2006 Frydlender exhibit, prices had jumped to $25,000/35,000. (Higher values often are assigned to the later works in an edition, for which more is charged as the editions sell out.)

Frydlender (b. 1954) produces works that go against the assumed rules of photography. Using a Nikon digital camera, he takes numerous shots of an area that, through later computer manipulations, emerge as one large, seamless image in which every aspect has great clarity—an impossibility with a single snapshot. Because he takes these photographs over a period of time, the same figure may appear twice in the same final image. At times these details may be missed, since his camera is most often pointed at scenes of people and places in Israel and its occupied territories.

It was while Meislin was an associate photography curator at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, that she first saw the artist’s work and included it in a show she organized there in 2001. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Haifa Museum, the Jewish Museum, Manhattan, the Helsinki Museum of Photography, Finland, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld, Germany, also have included his images in their exhibits.

MoMA owns two of the works in its present show—The Flood, 2003, which it purchased from the Meislin gallery’s 2004 exhibition; and The Blessing, which it bought this past spring. Individual buyers of Frydlender’s work are from Europe and Israel but primarily from the U.S. Explains Meislin: “A lot of them are connected with Israel in some way, or else they are motivated by the emotional content of the work.”

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