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Beloosesky Gallery is interested in purchasing original paintings by William Meyerowitz. 
Please call (917) 749-4577 or email us at info@beloosesky.com

One of America's most versatile modernists, William Meyerowitz painted a rich variety of subjects working in both realist and cubist modes. Whether capturing the movements of a dancer, the activity of ships in Gloucester harbor, or a still life of a bowl of fruit in the tradition of Cezanne, Meyerowitz's works exhibit an "expressive and metaphorical use of color and form" as well as a lively "rhythmic, tonal dimension that allows [them] to exist beyond the visual." (1) The nuances and diversity in Meyerowitz's paintings, prints, and sculpture, were nurtured through his friendships with many of America's premier artists. These included the ashcan painters William Glackens and John Sloan, realists such as Reginald Marsh and Edward Hopper, and the modernists Alfred Stieglitz, Charles Demuth, Stuart Davis, Oscar Bleumner, and Marcel Duchamp. According to Theresa Berstein Meyerowitz, William's wife and biographer, Meyerowitz was particularly close to Duchamp and he and Marcel would often spend hours talking or playing chess.

Meyerowitz began his artistic career as an apprentice to a sign painter in his native Esterinoslav, Russia, where he was born in 1887. In 1908, Meyerowitz and his father immigrated to the United States and settled in New York City. A few years later, after having raised the funds, they brought the rest of the family over from Russia. Meyerowitz spent most of the remainder of his life—except for a five-month trip to Europe in 1922—in America and divided his time between Manhattan and a second home in Gloucester, Massachusetts, during the summer months.

During his first decade in America, Meyerowitz used his singing talent as a chorus member at the Metropolitan Opera and his drawing skills in an architectural firm to earn a living, while pursuing his passion for art. From 1912 to 1916, he took classes at the National Academy of Design. His instructors at the Academy included painter William Merritt Chase and etcher Charles Mielatz. He also took "a full curriculum of drawing and painting courses" at the school. (2) In 1917, he won an honorable mention in the Prix de Rome and the same year Meyerowitz also became involved in the New York art scene as one of the founders of the People's Art Guild, an organization that arranged exhibitions of contemporary art in neighborhood settlement houses around Manhattan. Through this group, he met fellow painter Theresa Bernstein and the two married in 1919.

Throughout the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, Meyerowitz exhibited regularly across the United States and was also a teacher. Through shows at the Whitney Studio Club he met other modernists such as Charles Sheeler, Niles Spencer, and Stuart Davis. He also participated in the annual exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Carnegie Institute, the Salons of America, and the Society of Independent Artists (SIA). It was through the SIA that he met Marcel Duchamp, who became a close confidante and with whom Meyerowitz played chess. Duchamp admired and championed Meyerowitz's art. Between 1930 and 1945, Meyerowitz taught art at several settlement houses in New York and at the Modern School of Self Expression.(3)

It was through Bernstein that Meyerowitz was introduced to the artists' colony of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and the couple became permanent fixtures of the summer art scene there for over six decades. They became friends with many of the other artists who summered in Gloucester and the surrounding area including Childe Hassam, John Sloan, William Glackens, Ellen Day Hale, and Gabrielle de Vaux Clements. The Meyerowitzs became especially close with Hale and Clements, artists with whom William shared a passion for experimental printmaking. Their pioneering efforts in this field attracted the attention of their colleagues, but it was Meyerowitz's innovative techniques that became the subject of a film, "The Magic Needle," produced in 1925 by the Fox Film Company.(4)

During their stays in Massachusetts, the couple exhibited their work at the Gallery on the Moors, the Gloucester Society of Artists, and the North Shore Arts Association. Meyerowitz was a founder of the North Shore Art Association and served as vice-president of the organization for a few years. He was also a member of the NAD, the SIA, and the Allied Artists of America, for which he was a director. Meyerowitz's earliest paintings and prints were realistic; however, he soon began absorbing and adapting modernistic aesthetics to create his own abstracted pictorial language of colors and forms. He is regarded as one of America's foremost printmakers and "at several stages [in his career], his printmaking seems to have been more creative and significant than his etching."(5) His explorations in this arena often led to new developments in his paintings and watercolors. While Meyerowitz experimented with abstraction in both his prints and paintings, he never completely abandoned the representational mode and often oscillated between traditional and modern approaches in his work throughout his career. His subjects included Jewish life on New York's Lower East Side, the Gloucester harbor and fisherman, beach scenes of New England, still lifes, nudes, animals, and portraits—such as his likenesses of Oliver Wendell Holmes and Albert Einstein. Because of his background in music and opera, Meyerowitz also had a great interested in the performing arts and often chose subjects such as dancers and musicians for his paintings and prints. In all of his art Meyerowitz was most interested in the expressive use of form and color. "Art" he wrote "expressed for us the fundamental rhythms and harmonies that are craved by our souls. A work of art is a creation more in harmony with the essence of nature than the haphazard array of things actually about us."(6)

William Meyerowitz had a heart attack in 1961, but continued to create paintings and prints for two more decades, until his death May 28, 1981. His work is represented in collections including the Phillips Collection, Washington; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Brooklyn Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the Columbus Museum, Georgia; the Montgomery Museum of Art; the Corcoran Gallery of Art; the Library of Congress; the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

 

Biography from the Archives of AskART and Artprice

 

Birth place: Eksterinoslav, Ukraine
Death place: NYC

Addresses: NYC, 1908-on

Profession: Painter, etcher

Studied: NAD, 1914-18

Exhibited: AIC, 1916-42; S. Indp. A., 1917-44 (except 1932); PAFA Ann., 1917-18, 1923-41; Whitney Studio Club, NYC, 1920s; Salons of Am., 1923-26, 1928, 1931-32; Corcoran Gal. biennials, 1923-47 (8 times); CAFA, 1923 (prize); North Shore AA, 1932 (prize), 1939 (prize); WMA, 1935, 1937, 1939, 1945; WMAA, 1936; Currier Gal. Art, 1942; LOC, 1943-44; Am. Contemp. Artists New England, 1944; TMA; NAD, 1965 (Speyer Prize for painting); MMA; CI; Dayton AI; Am. Acad. Arts & Letters; BMFA; BMA; Audubon Soc. Artists, 1958 ( Clair Layton Prize for painting); Rockport (MA) Art Assn., 1970 (gold medal of honor for painting); "NYC WPA Art" at Parsons Sch. Design, 1977; NY Hist. Soc., 1984; LOC, 1987 (prints); Chase Gal. Art, NYC, 1970s.
Member: NA, 1959; SAE; CAFA; People"s Art Gld.; Salons of Am.; Phila. Pr. Club; Am. Artists Congress; Am. Color Print Soc.; Soc. Indep. Artists; North Shore AA, Gloucester (hon. life mem.; vice pres., 1968-69); Rockport AA; Audubon Soc. Artists (dir., 1960-67); Gloucester SA; Allied Artists Am. (dir., 1973).

Work: PMG; MMA; BM; Smithsonian Inst.; Duncan Phillips Mus., Wash., DC; Columbus (GA) Mus. Arts & Crafts; U.S. Nat. Mus.; BMFA; Concord Mus. Art; Bibliothèque Nat., Paris; Harvard Univ. Law Sch.; NYPL; Yale Univ.; CCNY; Univ. Penn.; J.B. Speed Mem. Mus.; Boston Univ.; Herron AI; Univ. Kentucky; Harvard Club; Albany Inst. History & Art; LOC; Currier Gal. Art; USPO, Clinton, MA.

Comments: WPA artist. Came to U. S. in 1908. He painted the portraits of Einstein and many other notables. He was also an innovator in color etching techniques. His wife and biographer was the painter, Theresa Bernstein. Positions: mem., Arts Council, Gloucester, MA, 1967-70. Teaching: E. 105th St. Settlement House, New York, 1930-40; Modern Sch. Self-Expression, 1940-45, dir., summer art course, 1945-68. Publications: contrib., College AA, 1937; Menoran Journal, 1944; auth., "On the Need of Art," Menoran Journal, 1955; contrib., Encyclopedia Am. Art, 1970-71.
Sources: WW73; Royal Cortissoz, Contemporary American Art (Am. Art Dealers Assn., 1931); Susan Hutchinson, American Fine Prints of the Year, (London Minton Balchulo, 1933); Duncan Phillips, auth., A Collection in the Making," (Phillips PUb., no. 5, 1936); New York City WPA Art, 64 (w/repros.); Falk, Exh. Record Series; addl. info courtesy North Shore AA."