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Abraham Walkowitz


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American painter, born at Tyumen in Siberia. In 1889 his family emigrated to New York, where he studied at the National Academy of Design. He travelled in Europe in 1906–7, studying at the Académie Julian in Paris. He returned to New York a convinced modernist; and he was one of the most influential among the foreign-born artists who introduced avant-garde movements to America in the years leading up to the Armory Show. He had his first one-man exhibition in 1908 (at the Julius Haas Gallery), and Stieglitz gave him several shows at his 291 Gallery between 1912 and 1917. He was also included in the Armory Show and in the *‘Forum’ exhibition (1916). His work of this time (consisting mainly of drawings) was restlessly experimental—often rhythmically abstract and somewhat Futurist in effect, with an energetic mesh of criss-crossing lines. In the 1920s Walkowitz began to work mainly in oils and turned to figurative subjects, sometimes with overtones of social concern. In the 1930s eye trouble forced him to give up painting and his contribution to the development of modernism in the USA was largely forgotten until very late in his life. His ideas on art were set out in his book A Demonstration of Objective, Abstract, and Non-Objective Art (1945).

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