• Misha Capnist

Yaacov Agam: an Israeli genius in Paris

Artist biography

Yaacov Agam (from his real name Jacob Gipstein), was born in Israel in 1928 and did not begin his formal schooling until age 13. He studied art at the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem in 1946, moved to Zurich (1949-51) and then Paris in 1951, where still lives and had, in 1953, his first solo exibition at the Galérie Craven, which consisted on kinetic, movable and transformable paintings, actually being the first one-man show in art history exclusively devoted to kinetic art; in this concept, Agam breaks away with the established way of expressing reality in a static/graven way.

"My works, even in a museum, have no ropes keeping people away. I invite the viewer to come close, to touch, to move, to do, to participate actively in a changing experience".

Photo and citation courtesy: https://www.masterworksfineart.com/artist/yaacov-agam/yaacov-agam-biography/

The exibition had been a true success: from that period on, the intellectual parisian entourage started to look at him as one of the pioneer creators of the kinetic movement in art, even not having been the first experimenter; nowadays he is considered its most outstanding contemporary representative in the world: he encourages the spectator's participation while looking at (walking through) his works.


Agam has also had many one-man shows in art galeries since 1953, including Denise René Gallery, Paris (1956), in which the evidency of his inspiration on Kandisky's defense of abstraction started to be an evidency; at the MarIborough-Gerson Gallery, New York (1966), then again in Gallery Denise René in New York (1971) and a series of one man exhibits all over the United States circles of Fine Art Galleries. From 1972, Yaacov Agam started a pulsating artistic life starred by solo exibitions all over the world, from the retrospective exhibition held at the Musée National d'art Moderne in Paris, which was then shown at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Stadtische Kunsthalle in Dusseldorf, and Tel Aviv Museum. He also held an exhibition "Selected Suites" at the Jewish Museum, New York (1975), than a large one-man exhibition at the Musée de Pontoise (1975), the Palm Spring Desert Museum, California, in the occasion of its inauguration (1976), the Museum of Art in Birmingham, Alabama (1976), the Museo de Arte Modemo, Mexico (1976), the National Museum of Art, Cape Town, South Africa (1977). In 1980 The Guggenheim Museum in New York held another large-scale retrospective exhibit. The retrospective exhibition was held at the lsetan Museum in Tokyo, Daimaru Museum in Osaka and Kawasaki City Museum in Japan (1989), and at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires Argentina (1996).

(Sources: http://www.aejv.com/agam-bio.htm, http://www.artnet.com/artists/yaacov-agam/)



Auction Results

3 X 6 Double Frame (1973), Sculpture-Volume, Copper, 61 cm, Sotheby's , 18 Dec 2018, USA, courtesy artprice.com

According to the website Artprice.com, the turnover of Agam's artworks in 2018 (236 lots sold: his best market year since 2002 in which he had 19 pieces sold) worths 1 million dollars, and the price evolution in 2018 is plus 57.8%: $100 invested in a work by Yaacov AGAM in 2000 would be worth an average of $185 (+ 85%) in December 2018.

From the beginning of the century, Agam's biggest buyer is the USA with a rank of 5 millions dollars (53% of lots sold), while in his native country is 1.5 (15%), and France, his adoptive Land, is 1.7 millions (18%).


Selected artworks currently on sale:

(Source: http://www.artnet.com/artists/yaacov-agam/)

Midnight blue, 1980, Corridor Contemporary

No title, Austin Galleries

Untitled, ca 1970 Contempop Gallery

Upcoming public auctions

26 Jan 2019 18h30

Tiroche Action House Kikar de Shalit 46755 Herzliya Pituach, Israel www.tiroche.co.il art@tiroche.co.il



Current selected shows

14 Oct 2018 – 28 Apr 2019

Squares In Motion

Museum Ritter,

Waldenbuch / Germany


13 Apr 2018 – 09 Dec 2019

Licht im/als Bild

Daimler Art Collection

Stuttgart / Germany



Curiosity In 2017 Agam is one of the fewest livig artists being present to the opening of a museum bearing his name: the Yaacov Agam Museum of Art.

In 1996, Agam has been awarded by the UNESCO with the Jan Amos Comenius Medal thanks to his method to the non-verbal education of young children. When he arrived in Paris, Agam didn't speek Franch but sill had sontacts with the surrealist artists, as Salvador Dalì who was among agam's major fans.

(Source:https://www.parkwestgallery.com/5-facts-you-may-not-know-about-yaacov-agam/)



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