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Judaica at Sotheby’s

The annual sales include postcards from Alan Dershowitz’s collection and a stunning 18th-century Haggadah

Maya Benton
December 19, 2012

Have you ever wondered what’s in Alan Dershowitz’s private art collection? Or wanted to leaf through the most exquisite 18th-century illuminated Haggadah in the world? Perhaps you yearn for a spice box in the shape of a solitary hopeful sunflower, an ornate collection of Syrian Torah cases, a recently discovered self-portrait by the father of Israeli art, or an affordable work by an emerging Israeli artist. All this and more can be yours today at the annual Sotheby’s auctions of Judaica and Israeli art.

Launch the slideshow to view and read about some of the most interesting pieces up for auction.

One thing missing at this year’s auction is contemporary Arab-Israeli art, which has had an increased presence in recent years. This might be a good thing. Several important Israeli and international collectors and museums are focusing on building substantial collections of Arab-Israeli art. The lack of items available at auction, such as works by the record-breaking artist Asim Abu Shakra (1961-1990), may reflect the fact that no one wants to sell this work right now, and that collectors are holding on to what they have and are acquiring more.

The auctions take place Wednesday, Dec. 19, starting at 10 a.m. (Judaica) and 2 p.m. (Israeli and International Art).


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Maya Benton is a curator at the International Center of Photography.

Maya Benton is a curator at the International Center of Photography.