Michael Mazur

born New York City 1935-died Cambridge, MA 2009
Media - 1994.47.2 - SAAM-1994.47.2_1 - 64581
Michael Mazur, Self Portrait, 1986, trace monotype on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase 1994.47.2.
Also known as
  • Michael B. Mazur
New York, New York, United States
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • American

Michael Mazur received a B.A. from Amherst College in 1957, studying in his senior year at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. He went on to earn both a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Art and Architecture in 1961. Mazur's first teaching job was at the Rhode Island School of Design from 1961 to 1964. He was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship for 1964–65. From 1965 to 1976, he taught at Brandeis University, and from 1976 to 1978 at Harvard University. As an artist, teacher, and writer, Mazur has been active in reviving the monotype process. He contributed an essay to the pioneering exhibition catalogue The Painterly Print, published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1980. Mazur recently chaired the New Provincetown Print Project , which encourages artists to create monotypes at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He has had several exhibitions of his work and has served on the Massachusetts Council for the Arts and Humanities. He currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Joann Moser Singular Impressions: The Monotype in America (Washington, D.C. and London: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1997)

Artist Biography

A humanist concerned with social and environmental issues, Mazur has experimented with nonrepresentational imagery, but has consistently remained apart from avant-garde movements. He studied at Amherst and with Leonard Baskin in Northampton, Massachusetts, and did graduate work with Gabor Peterdi and Bernard Chaet at Yale. Following three years as a teacher at the Rhode Island School of Design he joined the faculty at Brandeis University in 1965. From 1961 to 1966 he worked on a series of prints based on visits to a mental facility in Providence—many of which comment on humanity robbed of history, age, clothes, and social standing. The influence of Rembrandt, Goya, Daumier, Munch, and Kollwitz can be discerned in Mazur's early work, although during the late 1960s thematic concerns gave way to experimentation with graphic media. Highly expressionistic in handling and color, and ambiguous in thematic relationships, Mazur's recent paintings explore disturbing narrative images of implied violence and its emotional residue.

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)