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Elias Friedensohn

Born:
New York, New York 1924

Died:
Leonia, New Jersey 1991

Biography

Although Friedensohn passed through several stylistic phases during the thirty years after his first mature works were shown in New York, he never relinquished human themes as his primary subject matter. In the late 1950s he cloaked biblical and mythological motifs in abstract, thickly impastoed surfaces appropriate to his Abstract Expressionist bent. After a brief foray into Pop imagery during the early 1960s, Friedensohn renewed his appreciation for classical form and combined sixteenth-century Mannerist prototypes —Tintorettoesque flying figures, for example—with such unlikely modern paraphernalia as motorcycles in compositions that attack the hypocrisy and hubris of the modern era. A native New Yorker, Friedensohn studied at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, and privately in Paris with Gabriel Zendel, before completing a B.A. degree at Queens College, where he began teaching in 1959.

Virginia M. Mecklenburg Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1987)