Harry Holtzman and American Abstraction Exhibition

Harry Holtzman and American Abstraction


October 4, 2013–January 26, 2014

at the


96 Lyme Street
Old Lyme, CT 06371
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Harry Holtzman, Red, Orange, Green and Yellow. Oil on canvas, Museum purchase, Alice Talcott Enders Purchase Fund


The Florence Griswold Museum presents the first retrospective of abstract painter, teacher, and writer Harry Holtzman (1912–1987).

Drawing primarily from the holdings of the Holtzman Trust, the exhibition brings new attention to the role he played in shaping abstract art in America from the 1920s to the 1980s.

Holtzman matured during the early years of American abstraction in the late 1920s at the Art Students League in New York, and thrived under Hans Hofmann's tutelage starting in 1932.

In 1934 he traveled to Paris and developed a friendship with Dutch painter Piet Mondrian that would inform the rest of his career. Adopting a Neoplastic style inspired by Mondrian, Holtzman went on to produced an extensive body of work that explored pure geometric form in drawings, paintings, and sculptures.

Featuring many works not exhibited since the artist's death, the exhibition highlights the many facets of Holtzman's work as an artist and thinker.

He was a stalwart of the New York avant garde, and stayed on the cutting edge through generations of new ideas and new faces.

In 1936 he was a founding member ofAmerican Abstract Artists, a group dedicated to promoting abstraction to a reluctant American audience.

He was involved with the Eighth Street Artists Club in the 1950s, which served as an incubator for Abstract Expressionism.

He taught for three decades at Brooklyn College alongside an impressive roster of abstract and conceptual artists.

At every stage of his career Holtzman pursued new ideas and philosophies through the language of abstraction.


Ethnoflorence 2013

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