Morris Kantor

born Minsk, Russia (now Belarus) 1896-died Nyack, NY 1974
Media - J0001756_1b.jpg - 89290
Morris Kantor, © Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0001756
Minsk, Russia
Nyack, New York, United States
Active in
  • New York, New York, United States

Born in Russia, brought to the United States in 1906, lived in New York City. Painter who explored futurism, Cubism, and other styles as alternatives to the realism that characterizes his best-known work.

Charles Sullivan, ed American Beauties: Women in Art and Literature (New York: Henry N. Abrams, Inc., in association with National Museum of American Art, 1993)

Luce Artist Biography
Russian-born Morris Kantor learned to support himself at a very young age when he came to the United States, in 1906. By the time he was twenty, he had saved enough money working in the garment district to enroll at the Independent School of Art in New York. Kantor went on to become a prominent artist and teacher in New York City, where he taught at the Art Students League for thirty years. He continued to travel and study, and in 1928 married fellow artist Martha Ryther, a recognized master of the difficult medium of painting on glass. A prolific artist, Kantor produced a diverse body of work. He explored many different styles, ranging from abstraction to realism, as seen in Synthetic Arrangement (1922) and Baseball at Night (1934), both in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Related Books

1934: A New Deal for Artists
During the Great Depression, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a “new deal for the American people,” initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt’s pledge to help “the forgotten man” also embraced America’s artists. The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) enlisted artists to capture “the American Scene” in works of art that would embellish public buildings across the country. Although it lasted less than one year, from December 1933 to June 1934, the PWAP provided employment for thousands of artists, giving them an important role in the country’s recovery. Their legacy, captured in more than fifteen thousand artworks, helped “the American Scene” become America seen.