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Lorser Feitelson
(1898-1978)


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"The Return from the Country"
1924
Oil on canvas
20 x 24 inches







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Born in Savannah, Georgia on February 11, 1898, Lorser Feitelson was a painter and muralist. He came to Los Angeles in 1927, bringing with him Modernist ideas he had adopted while living in New York and Paris. Highly influential as a leader and teacher in the art community, Feitelson helped to establish Los Angeles as the important art center it is today.

With Helen Lundeberg in 1934, Feitelson founded Subjective Classicism, better known as Post Surrealism. In this movement, Feitelson rejected the unconscious and dream inspired works of European Surrealism. Instead, he focused upon conscious, carefully selected subjects pertaining to universal themes such as love, life and death. From roughly 1940-1960, Feitelson embarked upon a remarkable exploration of abstract forms. Rooted in the figurative world, Feitelsonís compositions evolved from the organic into the geometric. Known as Abstract Classicism, this period of Feitelsonís work offers unique imagery that maintains the profound sense of space and form associated with traditional Classicism. As time went on, Feitelson began reducing his compositions, focusing on just the essentials. From the mid-1960s, he ventured into Minimalism, creating sleek paintings comprised of sensuous lines set against solid backgrounds of color. These works were a culmination of Feitelsonís experience and represent decades of artistic development. He died in Los Angeles on May 24, 1978.

Selected exhibitions:"A Group of Modern Painters", The Daniel Gallery, NY; "Conrad Buff, Lorser Feitelson, Nathalie Newking, Hanson Puthuff", Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1929; "Progressive Painters of Southern California", Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 1933; "Post Surrealist Exhibition", San Francisco Museum of Art, 1935; "Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism", Museum of Modern Art, NY, 1936; "Southern California Art Project", Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1939; "Abstract and Surrealist American Art", The Art Institute of Chicago, IL, 1947; "Fourteenth Artists West of the Mississippi", Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado, 1953; "III Bienal de S„o Paulo", Museu de Arte Moderna de S„o Paulo, Brazil, 1955; "Four Abstract Classicists", Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1959; "Fifty Paintings by Thirty Seven Painters of Los Angeles Area", San Francisco Museum of Art, 1959; "Geometric Abstraction in America", Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, 1962; "The Responsive Eye", The Museum of Modern Art, NY; "New Modes in California Painting and Sculpture", La Jolla Museum of Art, 1966, "Color in Control", Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL, 1969; "American Contemporary Art", International Council at the Museum of Modern Art, NY, 1970; "West Coast Art from the Permanent Collection", Pasadena Art Museum, 1972; "Avant-Garde Painting and Sculpture in America 1910-1925", Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE, 1975; "Painting and Sculpture in California: The Modern Era", San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1976; "Lorser Feitelson: A Memorial Tribute", Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, 1978; "Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg: A Retrospective Exhibition", San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1980; "Turning the Tide: Early Los Angeles Modernists 1920-1956", Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1990; "Lorser Feitelson and the Invention of Hard Edge Painting 1945-1965", Louis Stern Fine Arts, Los Angeles, 2003.

Works held: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and numerous other public and private collections.

Source: Hughes, Edan M. Artists In California 1786-1940. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. Sacramento: Crocker, Art Museum, 2002. N. pag. 2 vols. Print.