Miriam Laufer (1918-1980) – Selections from the Artist’s Estate

  • HUDSON, New York
  • /
  • October 11, 2018

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Caldwell Gallery Hudson is pleased to present an exhibition of Miriam Laufer artworks created from the mid-1950’s until her unexpected passing in 1980. Born Miriam Ickowitz in Poland in 1918, the artist spent her youth in Berlin, relocated to Palestine in 1934 at age sixteen to escape the rising threat of fascism, and finally moved with husband Sigmund Laufer to New York City in 1947. In New York she began a multifaceted career as a painter, designer, illustrator and calligraphy artist.

Laufer and her husband, also an artist, were active participants in both the New York and Provincetown art scenes. This ongoing immersion in forward-thinking intellectual and creative circles provided inspiration for the artist’s bold landscapes, abstractions, and, most notably, her depictions of the female form. Laufer’s signature work – lush, expressive female nudes – were notably ahead of their time.

Laufer’s work was exhibited in more than ten solo and a dozen group shows during her lifetime, most notably at Phoenix Gallery – a leading 10th Street gallery collective space – starting in 1962 and ending with a posthumous retrospective in 1981. In 2016, a major retrospective exhibition – “Views and Vignettes: The Work of Miriam Laufer” – was held at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. The show was curated by Johanna Drucker, and the accompanying 58-page monograph featured essays by art historian Maika Pollack Ph.D., both of the artist’s daughters, and collector Robert Speiser.

The works selected for this exhibition provide a survey of Laufer’s regrettably foreshortened career, with special focus being paid to the artist’s female nudes. These unabashedly voluptuous, piquant works – many with the artist herself as both subject and protagonist – helped pave the way for the generation of female artists who continue to grapple with their roles as both artists and women. Laufer addressed gender issues, feminist concerns, and sex-positivity, while also touching upon parallel concerns including politics, war, and race. This fearless weaving of complex and controversial themes into her deftly realized paintings and works on paper stands in testament to this underappreciated artist’s lasting legacy.

Jay Caldwell
Caldwell Gallery Hudson

Caldwell Gallery Hudson
355 Warren Street
Hudson, New York
(518) 828-7087
About Caldwell Gallery Hudson

Joe and Marcy Caldwell founded The Caldwell Gallery in 1973. The principles they learned and applied as passionate collectors of early American art and antiques were ones they incorporated into the daily goal of their new enterprise - bringing great art, backed by exceptional value, to the homes of their clients. Joined by their son Jay Caldwell in 1985, The Caldwell Gallery expanded to include a focus on American modernist movements, including Post-War and Abstract Expressionist works. After 41 years in business, the Caldwell family decided to expand their activities in the art world with this new enterprise in the historic city of Hudson, NY.

Tags: american art

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