Floral Still Life
Ben-Zion (American, 1897-1987) circa 1930's
Oil on Canvas, signed l.r.
17-1/2 x 12-1/2 inches (25-1/2 x 20-1/2 w/frame)
One of the founding artists of Abstract Expressionism, hailing from Ukraine, Ben-Zion Weinman arrived in the United States in 1920 after the end of World War l. In America, he became Ben-Zion because to drag around two names was “rather too difficult.”
Ben-Zion was an accomplished, self-taught artist who worked in oils and watercolors. Additionally, Ben-Zion left behind a large body of ironwork. In 1935 he became a founding member of The Ten-a group of artists advancing the concepts of abstraction and expressionism who exhibited together until 1940-along with Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, and others. Critics immediately began taking notice with an article from the New York Sun noting that Ben-Zion painted “furiously” and called him the “farthest along” of The Ten. His painting “The Glory of War,” exhibited in 1938, was presented as a protest to the annual Whitney Museum exhibitions which emphasized regionalism and social realism. That painting was described as “resounding” and “forceful” by a review in the Art News.
When Abstract Expressionism became ascendant Ben-Zion, who viewed all art as abstract expressionism, stopped showing at galleries. He died in 1987, fed up with the art market, though inspired as ever by art itself.
He taught at Cooper from 1943 to 1950 and his work can be found in The Phillips Collection, Washington D. C., Museum of Modern Art, etc.
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