BOG 2015: Claire Maratier, “A Great Lady and a Champion of the Arts,” Remembered at Estate Inauguration
“Claire Maratier was an outstanding lady. The daughter of the famous French painter, Michel Kikoïne, she was fun, beautiful and generous,” said Prof. François Heilbronn, President of the French Friends association, at the ceremony marking the late Mrs. Maratier’s substantial bequest to the University.
The gift will provide sweeping, cross-campus support for teaching, research and physical enhancement at TAU. In particular, it will provide the resources to rejuvenate French culture studies on campus, something that was very close to Mrs. Maratier’s heart in addition to her passion for the arts. It will also ensure a steady stream of outstanding new faculty recruits across six schools and faculties, award scholarships to the most exceptional students, upgrade physical facilities, and generally aid the University in its mission of pursuing and fostering excellence.
“We are delighted to be able to fulfill Mrs. Maratier’s dreams and vision for supporting the arts, humanities and sciences at Tel Aviv University and in Israel,” said TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter in his opening greetings. He referred to other major gifts from Mrs. Maratier to TAU over the years, including the Claire and Amédée Institute for the Study of Blindness and Visual Disorders and the Michel Kikoïne Foundation, which is perpetuating the memory of her father and his contribution to the art world. Prof. Klafter thanked Prof. François Heilbronn and Danielle Schemoul, Director of the French Friends association, both of whom were instrumental in making Mrs. Maratier’s dream a reality.
Also representing the University at the ceremony were Dean of Arts Prof. Zvika Serper, Prof. Assaf Pinkus and Dr. Sefi Hendler of the Art History Department; Dean of the Wise Faculty of Life Sciences Prof. Danny Chamovitz, and French scholars Prof. Ruth Amossy and Prof. Nadine Kuperty Tsur, the latter of whom is also academic supervisor of the revived French culture program. Friends of Mrs. Maratier were also in attendance, among them Woolf Marmot, a prominent member of the French Friends association, and Mrs. Bella Gerstel, partner of the late Yehiel Ben-Zvi, former TAU Vice President of Development who nurtured the deep friendship between Mrs. Maratier and the University.
Woolf Marmot (pictured with French Friends President, Prof. François Heilbronn) accepted the certificate marking the inauguration of the estate on behalf of the French Friends association, during which he briefly described the special friendship he and his late wife, Helen, shared with Mrs. Maratier. “We loved this woman for who she was, and now for what she has done for the University,” he said. The certificate expressed the University’s deep appreciation for the unprecedented gift, which will upgrade research and teaching across the campus, and of course commemorate the profound philanthropic spirit and love for Israel of the late Claire Maratier.
The ceremony featured presentations by Prof. Assaf Pinkus on “Art patrons hidden in the narrative,” and by Prof. Danny Chamovitz on “The artistic side of science.”