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The 1913 Armory Show

Camille Pissarro, Paul Burlin, Elie Nadelman, Jo Davidson, Abraham Walkowitz, and William Zorach were among the Jewish artists represented at the Armory Show in New York City, which opened on this date in 1913 and introduced America to the avant-garde of the art world. Known officially as the “International Exhibition of Modern Art,” the show […]

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Arthur Szyk, a “Soldier in Art”

by Bennett Muraskin   ALTHOUGH ARTHUR SZYK (1894-1951) is best known today for his Illuminated Hagaddah (1940), still widely used at Passover seders, he was in many ways a political artist, a self-described “soldier in art,” who used his talents to attack fascism, call for the rescue to European Jewry from Nazi-occupied Europe, promote the American war effort and make […]

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Amedeo Modigliani

Painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani died on this date in 1920. Best known for painting elongated, nude women with impassive, mask-like faces, Modigliani became a drug and alcohol abuser who lived a starving artist’s life in Paris until dying from tubercular meningitis at age 36. He was born into a Sephardic family in Livorno, Italy, […]

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The Uncivil Servant: Leonora Carrington’s Madness

by Mitchell Abidor Books discussed in this essay: Down Below by Leonora Carrington. NYRB Classics, 69 pages, 2017; The Milk of Dreams by Leonora Carrington. New York Review Children’s Collection, 54 pages, 2013 [first publication in English, 2017].   THERE ARE FEW more harrowing, more unromantic accounts of that too-often-romanticized experience that is madness than Leonora Carrington’s Down […]

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The Dadaist

Marcel Janco, co-inventor with Tristan Tzara of Dadaism in Switzerland, and a leading exponent of Constructivism in Eastern Europe, died in Israel at 89 on this date in 1984. Born in Romania, he lived in Switzerland after World War I, then returned to his native country and became one of its leading intellectuals and artists. […]

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January 7: Boris Lurie and No!art

Boris Lurie, a Holocaust survivor who in 1959 co-founded, with Sam Goodman and Stanley Fisher, the No!art movement as a protest against the political disengagement represented by Abstract Expressionism (and, in subsequent years, Pop Art), died at 83 on this date in 2008. Lurie was born in Leningrad and suffered through several concentration camps in […]

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December 9: Mark Gertler and D.H. Lawrence

Painter Mark Gertler, whose life, poverty, and death inspired at least three fictional characters — the main protagonist of Gilbert Cannan’s novel Mendel, Herr Loerke in D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, and Gombauld in Aldous Huxley’s Crome Yellow — was born in London on this date in 1891. Gertler, according to his biographer Sarah […]

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June 13: “Between Picture and Onlooker”

On this date in 1943, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, and Adolph Gottlieb responded to New York Times critic Edward Alden Jewell’s “befuddlement” about their artworks in the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors exhibition at the Wildenstein Gallery in New York. Invited to respond in Jewell’s column, the three declared that “explanation” of their works […]

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February 25: From Her Walls to the Met

Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman, a painter who contributed several dozen works of Abstract Expressionist art by the likes of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, and Franz Kline to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and 170 works to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was born in Chicago on this […]

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November 4: Raphael Soyer’s Canvases

The leftwing painter Raphael Soyer, the best-known of three artist brothers (including his twin Moses and Isaac), died at 87 on this date in 1987. Soyer was admired for his realistic street scenes and his intimate paintings of people in face-to-face circumstances or states of introspection during the Great Depression. He was also known  for […]

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