Our cover this month, Yosl Bergner’s “Wooden Horse” (32 1/8 in. by 25 3/4 in.), sold for $75,000 at Sotheby’s Israeli & International Art Sale in New York on Dec. 17, 2015. Bergner, age 95, is regarded by many as one of the world’s greatest living Jewish artists. He was the recipient of the Israel Prize in 1980.
Bergner was born in Vienna but moved to Australia with his family in 1937, as his father was one of the founders of the Kimberley Plan, the unsuccessful attempt to settle Jews in the northwestern corner of Australia. Bergner studied at Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria Art School, taking time off to serve in the army after the outbreak of World War II. He often uses kitchen utensils, such as cracked jugs and graters, to symbolize the darkness and destruction in the world as a result of war and the general misfortune and sufferings of people everywhere. Bergner explains this somber allegorical quality to his work as being a depiction of his thoughts and memories rather than of the actual facts.
As our Modern Practice Committee Report points out, our own clients’ thoughts and memories should play a significant role in how we craft their estate plans. It’s incumbent on us to consider these elements when we give advice to our clients, so that they can pass on their desires and goals to the next generation.