Bracha Guy's Teatime.
A Nitza Flantz life study.
Born in Israel in 1948, Bracha Guy studied at the Avni Institute of Art in
Tel Aviv between 1970 and 1974, and began exhibiting in a series of one-
woman and group shows both in Israel and in the U.S. shortly thereafter. Her
work usually depicts women in the home, and features bright, primary colors.
Her style is highly ornate, filled with intricate detail and obsessive patterns.
She has said of her work, "I have a yearning to cover the world with beauty,
to create and infuse it with life. Transforming the figure of a woman into a
creative work is a kind of dream, an idea of fantasy, like rolling a stone from
the top of a mountain and seeing where it goes."
No matter how innovative and orig-
inal it may be, though, Tarkay's work
has been criticized for a lack of con-
tent and seriousness. "It's pure dec-
oration, it has nothing to do with art,"
says Bernie Pucker, owner of the
Pucker Gallery in Boston, a gallery
which represents many Israeli artists,
but not Tarkay. "He works out of no
tradition, no commitment to either his
own interest, or his heritage or histo-
ry. It's only in creating things that will
look good, to match the sofa and the
"Tarkay is more the commercial
artist," says one fine arts gallery
owner, "It troubles me when an
artist doesn't grow and change.
Some of his customers have said they
have too many in their collection.
"They are tired of looking at women
sitting at tables."
And Peter Mitchell, general man-
ager for Har-El North America, the
North American distributor of David
Schneurer's prints and originals,
claims that Tarkay's work is deriva-
tive both of Schneurer, an Israeli
artist whose paintings of cafe scenes
remain popular in the U.S. and else-
where, and of Barbara Wood, an
American artist who has painted col-
orful images of women at leisure for
In response to the criticism, Tarkay
says, "Am I a serious artist? I don't
know. You have to ask this 20 or 30
years from now, when I'm at the end
of my career. But I can tell you this, I
don't paint my paintings to be nice in
Nitza Flantz, 49, began painting watercolors of women about 10 years ago,
not long after returning to Israel from a four-year sojourn in Australia. Since
then, women, both clothed and unclothed, have been the subject of much of
her work — a factor which has inevitably led to
comparisons with Tarkay, despite her softer
Recently, Ms. Flantz has began to paint
flowers rather than women. "I'm sick of all the
imitators with female figures," says the artist,
who has shown in both Germany and the U.S.,
and is a frequent exhibitor at Artexpo in New
York. "I started with my females many years
ago, and I'm really one of the first to deal with
this subject. But now everyone is doing it."
your eyes. It's because that's how I
like to paint. For me I do it. It's not
economical, it's not for money, or any-
thing like that."
0 Horde Of Imitators
arkay's success didn't go unno-
ticed by other Israeli artists. A
year or so after his work burst
onto the U.S. market, a number of Is-
raeli artists began to show work at
fairs such as Artexpo that had a dis-
tinctly "Tarkayesque" look, including
the use of vivid color and the portrayal
of cafe scenes. Artists like Itzchak
Maimon, Nitza Flantz, and Zule are
all now working in a similar tradi-
tion, and meeting with considerable
success in the U.S. and abroad.
Many of these painters deny that
Tarkay influenced their styles. Zule,
a 58-year-old Argentinian emigre
whose cafe and street scenes are more
old-fashioned and muted than those
of Tarkay's, had not seen the younger
artist's work when she took up paint-
ing 10 years ago.
"Maybe the colors are similar, but
the people I paint are moving and vi-
brant," says Zule, whose work, now
published by Renaissance Fine Arts,
is sold in about 30 galleries in the
U.S., and about 15 in England. "I
think what [Tarkay] paints is a lit-
Bracha Guy, an artist who executes
images of women with an emphasis
on pattern and color, had painted in
that style long before Tarkay came on