Posts Tagged ‘jewish’

Artist of the moment………Mark Rothko


Mark Rothko was a Russian born artist famous for his abstract expressionist style of painting. Mark Rothko was born in Dvinsk, Vitebsk, Russian Empire in the year 1903. His father was a pharmacist and although his family was Jewish, Rothko was the only child to attend the traditional Hebrew school called a cheder.

Rothko enjoyed emphasizing color in his work. Rothko stated that traditional painters began with a drawing, he began with color first.

The artist emigrated to the United States from Russia in 1913. His father was worried that he sons may be drafted into the army, and also for the anti Jewish sentiment that was taking over Russia at that time.

The artist attended Yale University but didn’t feel at ease at the college. Rothko thought that the environment was too elitist and racist for him so he quit in his second year.

In this clip we visit a show featuring Mark Rothko with our artistic amigo the great James Kalm:

Rothko was working in the garment district and visited the Art Student’s League of New York. This inspired him to enroll in the New York School of Design. Two influences for Rothko were Max Weber and Arshille Gorky.

Below a montage of works by Mark Rothko:

Mark Rothko passed away at the age of 66 in the year 1970.

Price range information: Works range from $100,000 for a print to more than $86 million for an original acrylic painting. Below we view Rotko’s work Orange, Red, Yellow that set a record for the artist in 2012:


Artist of the moment……….Otto Freundlich


Otto Freundlich was among the first Abstract artists. Otto Freundlich was born in Stolpe, Germany in the year 1878. The artist exhibited his works with several of the more modern societies of artists including the Dada group.

Before becoming an artist Freundlich had aspirations of being a dentist.

His work was seen as degenerate by the Nazis. Much of his work is thought to have been destroyed by Nazi powers.

After the first world war the artist lived in Paris, France. Whilst still living in France he was detained by the authorities in 1943. The artist was taken to a concentration camp where he was killed the first day he arrived.

The artist had a talent for layering many unique shapes in his work but his works don’t look cluttered at all.

Price range information: The artist worked as a printmaker, and also with oils, pastels, and gouache. Works range from $10,000 to $100,000.

Below we view a show featuring the art of Otto Freundlich:


Artist of the moment………Chana Orloff


Chana Orloff was born in the Ukraine in the year 1888. Orloff was a sculptor who worked with the figure in with a modernist style.

Chana Orloff attended school in Paris, France.

Her private life had some unfortunate incidents. She married a writer and the couple had a son. Her first husband passed away after the influenza epidemic. Later when the Nazi’s invaded her country, she fled to Switzerland. This time the fellow she left with, artist Georges Kars, killed himself. When she returned home she found her studio and most of the work in it had been looted.

Chana Orloff passed away in 1965.

price range information: The artist occasionally worked in oils, and these paintings can start around $5,000. Sculptures can bring as much as $400,000.

Orloff completed works of many high ranking Israeli politicians.


In this clip some great works by Chana Orloff:


Artist of the moment……Isaac Kahn


Isaac Kahn is wonderful sculptor who works with the figure. Isaac Kahn was born in Lithuania in the year 1950. Isaac Kahn attended the Art Institute of Jerusalem where he mastered the arts of drawing and painting.

Kahn also attended school at the University of Plastic Arts which is located in Montevideo, Uruguay. It was here that Kahn learned to sculpt.

The artist employs some elements of Cubism in his art, on drawings and paintings showing one form depicted from multiple angles.

In addition to painting and sculpting, Isaac Kahn is also an avid printmaker.

A link to the website of Isaac Kahn:

I enjoy the abstract forms Kahn makes of his female figures. By working with the same figure seen from multiple angles, Kahn captures the beauty of the curves of the female form.

Price range information: Sorry none available.



Artist of the moment……Saul Steinberg

Saul Steinberg was both an amazing artist and renown writer. Saul Steinberg was born in Ramnicu Sarat, Romania in the year 1914. Steinberg was best known as an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. He is best known for his landscapes of New York with Manhattan the main focus. He also enjoyed drawing cats.

For his artistic education Steinberg attended the University of Bucharest where he studied philosophy before finishing school in Milan, Italy where he studied architecture.

Saul Steinberg passed away in 1999.

As an artist who loves the art of collage and drawing, I enjoy Steinberg’s use of perspective in his landscape works the most. I found it interesting also that Steinberg referred to himself as a writer who draws.

In this clip we see the artist at work on a drawing:

Steinberg was a very prolific artist and his work was widely popular. Here we view a book by the artist:

price range information: Works range from $2,000 to $40,000. Steinberg worked in collage, watercolor, ink, and graphite. Many works are available as lithographs or posters.

Another great thing to learn from this artist is that he considered himself an a writer who draws, he loved letters and the art of typography. The skill in his free hand drawing of letters was outstanding. If you enjoy typography be sure and check out my posts on Robert Cottingham, Stephen Powers, and Mel Bochner who all make wonderful art using the letterform as a means of expression.


Artist of the moment…….Chaim Soutine



Chaim Soutine was born in Smilavichy, Russian Empire in the year 1893. Soutine painted landscapes but is better known for his very expressive style of painting portraits. This area is now Minsk, Belarus.

A great montage of works by Chaim Soutine shown here:

Soutine attended the Academy of Fine Arts located in Vilnius, which is now part of Lithuania. After his studies there he moved abroad to Paris, France where he would attend the Ecole Des Beaux Arts.

In this clip we visit a show featuring the works of Chaim Soutine with our dear art loving amigo James Kalm!:

The painter Modigliani was a close friend and painted Chaim Soutine often.

Soutine also loved to paint animal carcasses. On many occasions neighbors complained of the smell of decaying animals and would call upon the police to remove the smell of their neighbor the artist! Soutine was inspired to paint these works based on the famous work Rembrandt completed of decaying meat.

Soutine found support from an American collector, and did rather well for himself before the onset of World War 2. He was in France and it was invaded by the Germans. As he was Jewish, he fled and spent time sleeping outside and always on the run. He developed an ulcer and tried to seek emergency surgery to fix it, but the surgery didn’t help and he passed away in 1943 at the age of 50 years old.

Price range information: Chaim Soutine is heavily collected and prices for a small oil painting start in the mid six figure range up to $20 million for a larger original oil.

I love the expressiveness of his sitters in the portraits. I enjoy looking at portraits of people who are living and breathing in the painting such as those by the Dutch master Frans Hals.




Artist of the moment…….Abraham Walkowitz

Walkowitz was born to Jewish parents in Tyumen, Siberia. Walkowitz was known for his watercolors, especially of the dancer Isadora Duncan.  Duncan was a Modernist dancer, much in the same way Abraham Walktowitz was a Modernist painter. Walkowitz produced a large body of drawings and paintings. Walkowitz is a lesser known Modernist artist. In addition to his recurring subject Isadora Duncan, Walkowitz was known for his cityscapes, which were also very abstract for the time period.

Isadora Duncan was an American born dancer who was thrown out of the country for her sympathy to the Soviet Union. She died in  a freak accident. Duncan was a leader in moving dancing away from something up tight and rigid to more natural and free flowing types of moves. She moved to Europe and taught her style of dancing to many followers. Duncan enjoyed wearing long neck scarves. One day she was a passenger in a car that was involved in an auto accident. Her scarf became caught in the wheel spokes a tire, and snapped her neck and she died.

Walkowitz met Duncan as she was visiting the studio of painter Auguste Rodin.

Walkowitz was a great acquaintance of Alfred Steiglitz, the husband of Georgia O’Keefe. Walkowitz used his connections to show his work with other Modernist style painters in the gallery of Steiglitz in New York City.

Price range information: Works range from $1,000 to $60,000. Walkowitz worked in pencil, watercolours, and oils.

For his artistic education the artist attended the Academie Julien located in Paris, France. Walkowitz also attended the National Academy of Design.

In this clip many watercolours by Abraham Walkowitz and his favorite muse, Isadora Duncan:

What a great modernist painter! 


Artist of the moment…..William Auerbach-Levy

Since I will be posting some caricatures of my favorite tennis players later this week, lets take a look at a great caricature artist and painter named William Auerbach-Levy. William Auerbach Levy was born in the year 1889 in the Russian Empire. This area is now called Belarus. His family moved to the United States in 1894.

For his artistic education the artist attended schools in New York City and Paris, France.

Levy was a professor at the National Academy of Design.

His cartoons appeared in many national magazines including Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. 

William Auerbach-Levy is part of prominent collections including the Library of Congress and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Price range information:  The artist was a prolific etcher and printmaker. These works cost between $300 and $1,000. Oils can reach $5,000.

From an artistic viewpoint what I enjoy most about his caricatures is the very creative viewpoints he chooses to draw from.

William Auerbach-Levy passed away in 1964 at the age of 75 years old.


Artist of the moment……photographer Erwin Blumenfeld

Erwin Blumenfeld was a fantastic photographer born in Berlin, Germany in the year 1897. Blumenfeld worked in a very modern style and specialized in fashion photography. Blumenfeld was published in the leading fashion magazines of the day including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Blumenfeld enjoyed creating and made collages and drawings in addition to his photographic works.

Blumenfeld received his first camera as a gift when he was 11 years of age.

Blumenfeld was drafted into the army and had to enter World War 1 and fight for Germany. The artist had planned to desert the army, his mother had a different idea and turned him in and he was arrested.

After the war he moved to the Netherlands and opened up a women’s accessory store located in Amsterdam. He moved the store to a new location and the new building included a fully equipped dark room. Blumenfeld photographed some clients of his, sometimes even taking nudes.

In 1935 he was published in a national magazine in France.

His leather store failed in 1936. It went bankrupt and closed it’s doors. Blumenfeld moved to Paris, France and immediately started a successful photography studio taking pictures of artists and celebrities including Josephine Baker, the famous dancer of the Moulin Rouge.

In 1950 Blumenfeld was the highest paid photographer in the world. Later in the decade he would start to make movies and short films with the idea of using film to sell beauty supplies. Blumenfeld was certainly ahead of his time in that regard!

In this clip we view some of his short movies made by Blumenfeld that were to be used to market beauty supplies:

Erwin Blumenfeld passed away in 1969 in what could be called a suicide. Blumenfeld had a heart condition but didn’t take his medication. Then to cause himself to have a heart attack, ran up and down the Spanish steps in Rome, Italy where he was living. The plan worked and he died on July 4th of 1969.

I love the very modern look the Blumenfeld achieved in his work. Like a great painting, its very important to leave somethings out to inspire the viewer to think. Blumenfeld did this is much of his photography work. In addition he wasn’t afraid to experiment with different techniques.

Price range information: Works range from $5,000 to $120,000.

And to close we look at a clip from a documentary about Erwin Blumenfeld:


Artist of the moment……Photographer Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton was a renowned photographer of the female form born in Berlin, Germany  in the year 1920. He photographed for many top fashion magazines and also had a large body of work on his own. Worked with a black and white format. His father ran a manufacturing business that made buttons and buckles.

Newton was given his first camera when he was twelve years old.

A great interview with Helmut Newton talking about his famous shots of the female form:

As he was jewish he left Germany in 1938 after being taken to an internment camp.  He would eventually go to war as an Australian Army. In the 1950s he would relocate to Europe and open his own studio.

In this clip we view some of his best works:

Was an apprentice to Eva Simon, a theater and fashion photographer well known in Germany. This must of been a wonderful job for a young teenage boy interested in photographing the female nude. He was aged 16 to 20 when he served as an apprentice.

Winner of the American Institute of Graphic Arts award for his photographs.

Helmut Newton passed away in 2004 in a car crash at the age of 84 years old. His ashes are buried next to former movie star Marlene Dietrich.

price range information: Works range from $1,000 to $360,000.


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