Itzchak Tarkay – The Post-Impressionist Israeli Painter

Itzchak Tarkay, a renowned Israeli artist born in 1935, is celebrated for his captivating and vibrant paintings that capture moments of everyday life with elegance and grace. His distinctive style combines elements of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, characterized by bold colors, fluid brushwork, and a focus on the human form, particularly portraying women in various settings. Tarkay’s works often evoke a sense of nostalgia and intimacy, inviting viewers into scenes filled with warmth and emotion. Throughout his prolific career, Tarkay’s art has garnered international acclaim, making him a prominent figure in contemporary figurative painting.



Key Takeaways

  • Itzchak Tarkay was an Israeli artist distinguishable for his Post-Impressionist and Art Nouveau influenced style.
  • His works featured serene scenes often involving women in contemplative moments, employing vivid colors and emotional depth.
  • Tarkay’s legacy endures as he remains an influential figure in the modern figurative art movement.



Life and Artistic Development

BirthJuly 21, 1935
DeathJune 3, 2012
Place of BirthSubotica, Kingdom of Yugoslavia (now Serbia)
Genre of WorkContemporary art and figurative painting
Notable Artworks
  • On the Riviera
  • Blue Umbrella
  • Red Shoes
  • Lady in Cafe

Itzchak Tarkay was a prominent Israeli artist, renowned for his distinctive approach to painting and graphic art. Born in 1935 in Subotica, then part of the former Yugoslavia, Tarkay’s early life was marked by survival and endurance, having been in a concentration camp during the Second World War. Following his liberation and return to his hometown, he went on to develop a passion for art, eventually studying at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Tarkay’s style is often described as a blend of Post-Impressionism and Art Nouveau, and he drew significant influence from artists like Henri Matisse and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Characterized by a use of tranquil scenes, delicate figures, and vibrant color palettes, Tarkay’s artworks create a sense of serene intimacy. His subjects frequently included women in contemplative states, social settings, and interior scenes, captured with both emotion and a dream-like quality. His paintings and serigraphs are distinct for their layered complexity and the subtle way they explore human interaction and leisure, often leaving the viewer with a sense of peaceful introspection.

Through his art, Tarkay contributed to the modern figurative movement and sealed his place as a key figure within it.


Early Life and Education

Itzchak Tarkay was born in 1935 in Subotica on the Yugoslav-Hungarian border, but his childhood was marred by the outbreak of World War II. As a young boy, he was interred at the Mathausen Concentration Camp, an experience that deeply impacted his future works. After the war, Tarkay and his family moved to Israel. His artistic promise became evident as he pursued his education at the prestigious Avni Institute of Art and Design and later, at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.


Influences and Stylistic Evolution

Tarkay’s artistic vision bore the hallmarks of significant influences, chief among them Henri Matisse and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Their contributions to Post-Impressionism and its focus on color, form, and line profoundly impacted Tarkay.

He absorbed these elements, gradually evolving a unique style characterized by blended vibrant hues and a reflective ambiance, capturing serene scenes often populated by contemplative female figures.


Professional Milestones

Tarkay’s professional journey was distinguished by a series of milestones that established him as a notable artist. His frequent attendance and showcases at the International Art Expo in New York served as notable platforms for his work, allowing him to garner international recognition. Tarkay’s legal victory in protecting his unique style further cemented his standing in the art world, affirming the individuality and appeal of his aesthetic.


Late Period

During Tarkay’s late period, his work continued to reflect a deep, introspective quality, matured by his lifetime of experiences. Israel, both as a country and as a cultural tapestry, remained a profound source of inspiration, infusing his paintings with a nuanced reflection of life through sociable settings and introspective moments.

These artworks were crowned with the wisdom of a seasoned artist.



Artistic Contributions

Itzchak Tarkay’s artistic legacy is characterized by his definitive style and the impact he had on modern figurative painting. His contributions to art delve into the realm of Post-Impressionism through his distinct techniques and choice of subject matter as well as his presence in art exhibitions and collections worldwide.


Signature Techniques and Subject Matter

Tarkay was known for his Post-Impressionist style which often featured women in relaxed or social settings. He predominantly worked with watercolor and acrylic, mastering the use of light and color to evoke calm, serene atmospheres. Tarkay’s artworks serve as perceptive studies of socialites in their everyday environments—capturing moments within parlors, terraces, and quiet cafés.

  • Technique: Mastery in watercolor and acrylic
  • Subject focus: Women, social settings, introspective scenes


Exhibitions and Collections

Throughout his lifetime and posthumously, Tarkay’s artwork has been exhibited internationally and is included in many prestigious collections. Park West Gallery, driven by founder Albert Scaglione, has been a significant proponent of Tarkay’s art, featuring his work in their galleries and holding exhibitions that accentuate his contributions to contemporary art.

Tarkay has shared the stage with other prominent artists like Yaacov Agam, David Najar, Yuval Wolfson, and Mark Kanovich at various exhibitions.

  • Park West Gallery: Major exhibitor and collector of Tarkay’s work
  • Exhibitions: Showcased globally alongside contemporary artists

Graphic artist and studios alike acknowledge Tarkay’s influence, and his signed pieces are coveted items at online auctions by collectors eager to own a piece of Tarkay’s vision.

  • Online auctions: A venue for collectors to acquire signed pieces
  • Collector demand: High interest in Tarkay’s signed artwork



Legacy of Itzchak Tarkay Today

Itzchak Tarkay’s legacy continues to exert a significant influence on the art world today. His distinct style, characterized by rich colors, fluid brushwork, and intimate portrayals of human subjects, has inspired countless artists and captivated art enthusiasts globally. Tarkay’s ability to capture the essence of everyday life and human emotions in a timeless manner has ensured that his works remain relevant and sought after in contemporary art circles. 

His pieces are often featured in prestigious galleries, museums, and private collections, showcasing the enduring appeal and relevance of his artistic vision. Furthermore, Tarkay’s legacy extends beyond his artistry; he is remembered for his dedication to mentoring young artists and fostering creativity and innovation within the art community. As a result, Tarkay’s influence endures as a testament to the enduring power of art to transcend boundaries and touch the hearts of viewers across generations.


Influence on Contemporary Art and Artists

Itzchak Tarkay’s stylistic approach and thematic focus have significantly impacted the artistic community. He is known for his distinctive use of color and form, which has inspired a new generation of figurative artists.

Tarkay’s depictions of introspective women in leisurely settings are echoed in the works of numerous emerging artists who seek to capture similar sentiments of serenity and contemplation.


The Market for Tarkay’s Works

Itzchak Tarkay’s artworks remain sought after in the art market, indicating his lasting appeal. His paintings and graphic art are frequently traded at galleries and auction houses. Here is a brief overview of the market dynamics:

  • Primary market: New collectors can acquire Tarkay’s works through galleries that showcase his art. Editions and prints often are more accessible price points for entry-level collectors.
  • Secondary market: Auction results reflect a steady demand for his originals and limited-edition pieces. Tarkay’s works have a global audience with a particularly strong following in regions where he exhibited during his lifetime.


Itzchak Tarkay’s artistic legacy is one of enduring beauty and emotional depth. His mastery of color, form, and expression has left an indelible mark on the world of contemporary figurative art. Tarkay’s ability to capture the subtleties of human emotions and everyday moments continues to resonate with audiences worldwide, cementing his place as a visionary artist whose work transcends time and cultural boundaries. Through his paintings, Tarkay invites us to explore the richness of life’s experiences and connect with the universal language of art.




Frequently Asked Questions


How Can One Authenticate an Itzchak Tarkay Painting?

Authenticating an Itzchak Tarkay painting should ideally be done through recognized experts or entities with a proven track record in handling his artwork. Documentation such as provenance, a certificate of authenticity, or signatures should be thoroughly scrutinized.


What Factors Determine the Value of Tarkay’s Original Paintings?

The value of Tarkay’s original paintings is influenced by the artwork’s provenance, its condition, the presence of a signature, its rarity, and its historical significance within Tarkay’s oeuvre. Market demand also plays a significant role in the valuation.


Where Can Collectors Purchase Authentic Tarkay Paintings?

Collectors looking to purchase authentic Itzchak Tarkay original paintings should consider reputable galleries and auction houses that specialize in modern figurative art. Purchases can often be made either in person or through online platforms, always ensuring the authenticity is verifiable.


Cite this Article

Isabella, Meyer, “Itzchak Tarkay – The Post-Impressionist Israeli Painter.” Art in Context. March 26, 2024. URL:

Meyer, I. (2024, 26 March). Itzchak Tarkay – The Post-Impressionist Israeli Painter. Art in Context.

Meyer, Isabella. “Itzchak Tarkay – The Post-Impressionist Israeli Painter.” Art in Context, March 26, 2024.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *