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Artists Adolph Gottlieb
Adolph Gottlieb Photo

Adolph Gottlieb

American Painter

Movement: Abstract Expressionism

Born: March 14, 1903 - New York, New York

Died: March 4, 1974 - New York, New York

Adolph Gottlieb Timeline

Quotes

"Right now I am sick of the idea of all the pretty good pictures and want a picture that is either damn good or no good."
Adolph Gottlieb
"I never use nature as a starting point. I never abstract from nature; I never consciously think of nature when I paint."
Adolph Gottlieb
"I want to express the utmost intensity of the color, bring out the quality, make it expressive."
Adolph Gottlieb
"I use color in terms of emotional quality, as a vehicle for feeling.. feeling is everything I have experience or thought."
Adolph Gottlieb
"We favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal. We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth."
Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb
"For roughly a hundred years, only advanced art has made any consequential contribution to civilization." - letter to Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1950.
Adolph Gottlieb

"Different times require different images. Today when our aspirations have been reduced to a desperate attempt to escape from evil, and times are out of joint, our obsessive, subterranean and pictographic images are the expression of the neurosis which is our reality. To my mind certain so-called abstraction is not abstraction at all. On the contrary, it is the realism of our time."

Adolph Gottlieb Signature

Synopsis

Growing up during the Depression and maturing throughout the interwar period and the rise of Hitler, American painter Adolph Gottlieb staunchly defended the art of the avant-garde -- Abstract Expressionism in particular -- for its ability to express authentic feeling in the face of the trauma of World War II. The themes of Gottlieb's paintings over the course of more than three decades still help us come to terms with both the difficulties -- such as evil, war, violence, and ignorance -- that we as humans encounter, as well as moments of the sublime aspiration and realization.

Key Ideas

Gottlieb's art employed universal symbols of his own invention that transcended time, place, and language to appeal to the level of the unconscious mind and to offer a pathway of release from a trouble-ridden period in history.
As is demonstrated in his groundbreaking Pictographs, Gottlieb believed that new imagery was required in order to respond to the contemporary and subjective experience of the viewer. Rejecting traditional narratives, Gottlieb drew images and materials from many diverse sources, discretely arranging each image in individual compartments on the canvas. Without a clear syntax or narrative, Gottlieb intended for the arrangement of the images and their meaning to communicate and connect with an idea or feeling that already resided within the viewer.
Gottlieb employed increasingly abstract symbols and continued to work toward universal meaning during his mature period. The goal of his later works was to use the simplest form in order to convey the complexity of life, exploring the emotional effects of colors and of space directly on the canvas.

Biography

Adolph Gottlieb Photo

Childhood

Adolph Gottlieb considered himself "a born New Yorker," and spent his entire life in the city. Gottlieb was born in the East Village in 1903 to the children of Czech immigrants and moved to the Bronx soon after his birth, where he was raised in a Jewish household. His father inherited a successful stationery business, and intended for his son to follow in his footsteps. To his parent's chagrin, Gottlieb developed a passion for painting and began attending weekend art courses while in high school. In 1919 Gottlieb dropped out of school and began working as an artist.

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Adolph Gottlieb Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Adolph Gottlieb
Interactive chart with Adolph Gottlieb's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Milton AveryMilton Avery
John GrahamJohn Graham
Giorgio de ChiricoGiorgio de Chirico

Personal Contacts

Mark RothkoMark Rothko
Barnett NewmanBarnett Newman
Clement GreenbergClement Greenberg

Movements

SurrealismSurrealism
Geometric AbstractionGeometric Abstraction
African ArtAfrican Art

Influences on Artist
Adolph Gottlieb
Adolph Gottlieb
Years Worked: 1920 - 1974
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Mark RothkoMark Rothko
Jackson PollockJackson Pollock
Barnett NewmanBarnett Newman

Personal Contacts

Lawrence AllowayLawrence Alloway

Movements

Color Field PaintingColor Field Painting
MinimalismMinimalism

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by David Kupperberg

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by David Kupperberg
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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