Michael Rosenfeld Gallery to Represent the Estate of Michael Goldberg

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • July 08, 2013

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1955, Photograph by Marvin P. Lazarus
Courtesy of the Estate of Michael Goldberg and ...

(New York—July 8, 2013) Michael Rosenfeld Gallery proudly announces its representation of Michael Goldberg (American, 1924-2007).

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery has been an energetic champion of the abstract expressionist and the Michael Goldberg Estate is a welcomed addition to the family of artists represented by the gallery.

Described by nearly everyone who knew him as “larger than life,” Michael Goldberg was a vital presence in the history of American art, with a career that spanned five decades. Labeled a “second generation abstract expressionist” early on with Alfred Leslie, Joan Mitchell and Norman Bluhm, Goldberg refused to be defined by categorization. Instead, he directed his considerable energy to creating large-scale dynamic compositions, and providing generous support to peers and students alike. As evidenced in the longevity and vitality of his career, Goldberg was the type of artist who thought deeply and constantly about painting and the place of abstraction within art history. In an interview with Saul Ostrow in 2001 for BOMB Magazine (where he was also a long-time contributing editor) he stated, “I've always felt that art comes out of art. It doesn't spring from Zeus's fore-head. Art requires looking, and a little bit of selective thievery, too. You take a little bit from here and a little from there without being conscious of it. But you need a big, big art vocabulary. . .”

Born Sylvan Irwin Goldberg in 1924 and raised in the Bronx, Goldberg began taking Saturday art classes at the Art Students League in 1938. A gifted student who read Lautréamont, Baudelaire, and Nerval, in 1939 Goldberg finished high school at the age of fourteen and enrolled in City College. He soon found New York’s jazz scene to be a far more compelling environment, and he began skipping classes to frequent the Harlem jazz clubs near campus. Goldberg’s love of jazz would become a lifelong passion and a key component to his approach to composition in his paintings. From 1940 to 1942, like many of the leading artists of the New York School, Goldberg studied with Hans Hofmann. In 1943, he put his pursuit of painting on hold and enlisted in the US Army. Serving in North Africa, Burma, and India, Goldberg received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star before being discharged in 1946. After his service, he traveled and worked in Venezuela before returning to the United States, settling back into New York City, and resuming studies at the Art Students League and Hofmann’s school.

Michael Goldberg (1924-2007), Adorazione Dei Magi (Adoration of the Magi), 1992, oil, pastel and paper collage with string on canvas, 89 5/8" x 61 1/2", signed and dated
Courtesy of the Estate of Michael Goldberg and ...

Living downtown and frequenting the Cedar Bar, Goldberg befriended many of the artists of the New York School. In 1951, his work was included in the groundbreaking Ninth Street Show, co-organized by Leo Castelli, Conrad Marca-Relli, and the Eighth Street Club, and featuring the work of—among others—Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline. In 1953, the Tibor de Nagy Gallery gave Goldberg his first solo exhibition, but it was not until the late 1950s, when Martha Jackson Gallery began representing him, that his work gained widespread recognition. In 1960, he collaborated with close friend and poet Frank O’Hara on Odes, a book of poems and prints; in 1961, he spent time as a visiting artist at the University of California Berkeley; and in 1962, Mark Rothko gave Goldberg his spacious studio on the Lower Eastside at 222 Bowery, which Goldberg later bought. In 1969, he met artist Lynn Umlauf; they married ten years later, and both began teaching shortly thereafter at the School of Visual Arts. Goldberg remained on staff at SVA until his death. In the 1980s, he and Umlauf began spending long periods of time in Tuscany, during which Goldberg would frequently drive to Siena and spend part of an afternoon looking at the frescoes and paintings that dominate the city. These excursions were vital to Goldberg, who conceived of painting as a dialogue—with artists who had come before him as well as with contemporary artists and viewers. Like the artist himself, Goldberg’s paintings continue to invite anyone interested to share the boundless passion their creator had for art and conversation.

Michael Goldberg died of a heart attack on December 31, 2007 in Manhattan, amid a resurgent interest in his work.

With international prominence, his work appears in the permanent collections of numerous museums including the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, Jerusalem; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

His work will soon be the subject of a major exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, Florida (September 21, 2013 - January 5, 2014). Abstraction Over Time: The Paintings of Michael Goldberg is curated by Marcelle Polednik and will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue with essays by Marcelle Polednik, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, Karen Wilkin and a statement by Irving Sandler.

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is proud to share representation of the Michael Goldberg Estate with Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles.

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is located in Chelsea, at 100 Eleventh Avenue, New York, NY, 10011. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00AM – 6:00PM.  For visuals and additional information, please contact Marjorie Van Cura at (212) 247-0082 or mv@michaelrosenfeldart.com.

Marjorie Van Cura
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery
100 Eleventh Ave @ 19th Street
New York, New York
About Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

After twenty four years on West 57 Street, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery moved to Chelsea in the fall of 2012. The gallery is now located on the ground floor of the exquisite Jean Nouvel residential tower, 100 Eleventh Avenue (at 19th Street), in a 6500 sqaure-foot space designed by Richard Gluckman of Gluckman Mayner. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century American art. Established in 1989 by Michael Rosenfeld, the gallery opened its doors to promote the breadth of American art and those artists – known or unknown – that contributed to the establishment of surrealism, social realism, abstract expressionism, figurative expressionism and geometric abstraction. In 1992, halley k harrisburg joined the gallery and together they have worked to expand the canon of American art. Regarded as art historians with multi-faceted interests, Michael Rosenfeld and halley k harrisburg have developed a diverse and challenging exhibition program.

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