Mining Scene
1946
15" x 21.875"
Framed: 30.75" x 36.625"
Works on Paper
Region: North America
[SLL][SLR]

About the Artist
(1878 - 1965)
Abraham Walkowitz was born in Siberia, Russia, a turn-of-the century immigrant to the United States who grew up in New York's Lower East Side. He first studied art at the Educational Alliance, the Cooper Union, and the National Academy of Design. In 1906, he journeyed to Europe where he studied at the Academie Julian in Paris. Upon his return to the United States in 1907 he became a fully-fledged convert to Modernism, and his first exhibit, at the Haas Gallery in that year, brought him a measure of notoriety, as well as the attention of Stieglitz and other pioneers of Non-Objective art.

Walkowitz is perhaps best known for his watercolor studies of Isadora Duncan and the dance. However, Walkowitz laid claim to being the first to exhibit truly Modernist paintings in the United States. After 1909, he became an intimate of Alfred Stieglitz' 291 Gallery, and whilst there became a participant in the debate over Modern Art in America. Walkowitz was an outspoken proponent of the continuous experimentation in the arts, which was his definition of Modernism. As an artist, Walkowitz embodied the changing role of the Modernist painter in the United States, as Modernism moved from avant-garde protest against established modes to become an accepted style and tradition.

As a result of this early attention, by the time of the Armory Show of 1913 to which Walkowitz contributed several paintings, his work was widely known to both fellow Modernists as well as their opponents. Walkowitz was clearly part of the new vocabulary of American art and criticism.

During the 1920s and 1930s, as the first generation Modernists lost their revolutionary cast, and as American Realism gained in favor, Walkowitz continued his experiments with form and line, especially in his series of Duncan studies. Although his paintings received less critical attention than they once had, Walkowitz was clearly one of the grand old folk of American Modernism. During the Depression, Walkowitz was politically active on behalf of unemployed artists supporting various New Deal initiatives in the Arts.

In 1945, Walkowitz travelled to Kansas where he painted landscapes made up largely of strip mines and barns. This was to be his last venture in active painting for, by 1946, the glaucoma which led to his eventual blindness began to impair his vision and limit his ability to work. Walkowitz then turned to the preparation of a series of volumes of his drawings, designed to illustrate the development of Modernism in the Twentieth Century, and in so doing, established his role as a pioneer American Modernist.



Selected Public Collections

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO
Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE
El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, TX
Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN
Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Kresge Art Museum, East Lansing, MI
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
The Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY


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