Chronology

1941

Gottlieb begins his “pictograph” paintings.

1942

In May, Gottlieb exhibits his first “pictograph” in the second annual exhibition of the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, located at the Wildenstein Galleries in New York. Gottlieb’s first solo exhibition of pictographs “Adolph Gottlieb: Paintings” opens in December at the Artists Gallery, New York.

1943

Gottlieb becomes a founding member of the “New York Artists Painters”, a group of abstract painters including Mark Rothko, John Graham and George Constant. He co-authors a letter with Mark Rothko, published in the New York Times (June 13), which is the first formal statement of concerns of the Abstract Expressionist artists. In October, Gottlieb and Rothko present their views in a radio broadcast in “Art in New York” on WNYC.

1944

Gottlieb wins first prize at the Brooklyn Society of Artists Annual Exhibition for “Symbols and the Desert”. He becomes the president of the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors. Gottlieb is included in the Sidney Janis book “Abstract and Surrealist Art in America”. Two Pictographs are included in a touring exhibition of the same name which travels throughout the United States. Gottlieb exhibits for the first time at the Wakefield Gallery, New York.

1945

Gottlieb has a solo exhibition at Gallery 67 and later, at the Nierendorff Gallery in New York city.

1946

In the summer of 1946, the Gottlieb’s rent an apartment and studio in Provincetown, MA where they will return for the next 10 summers. In April Gottlieb joins the Kootz Gallery, a major showplace for several Abstract Expressionists. Gottlieb sells his first work to the Museum of Modern Art, ”Voyager’s Return”. He participates in the forum, “Problems of Art and Artists Today and Tomorrow” where Gottlieb chairs the forum “The Function of Art Criticism”. In November he is included in the exhibition “International Exhibition of Modern Art” at the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris.

1947

Gottlieb becomes a founding member of “The Graphic Circle”, a group of contemporary printmakers that exhibits at Seligmann Gallery, New York. In the Spring a group of Gottlieb’s paintings are exhibited at the Galerie Maeght in Paris.

1948

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, acquires several works by Gottlieb when it purchases the Estate of Karl Nierendorf. Gottlieb participates in the forum, “The Modern Artist Speaks” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His talk is titled “Unintelligibility”. At this time Gottlieb begins a series of paintings which he calls the “Unstill Life” paintings.

1949

In the Spring of 1949, Gottlieb chairs the forum “The Schism between Artist and Public” at the Art Students League. That summer he participates in the Forum 49, a series of symposia by and for artists in Provincetown and New York City.

1950

Gottlieb receives the purchase prize from the University of Illinois exhibition, Contemporary American Painting for his work “Romanesque Façade”. In March, Gottlieb pens the statement for the Kootz Gallery catalogue on Arshile Gorky. This is the first posthumous exhibition and statement on the artist who died in the summer of 1948. He also organizes a protest of an exhibition jury at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, through which Gottlieb and his colleagues became known as “The Irascibles”.

1951

Gottlieb begins his “Imaginary Landscape” paintings. In October, he is approached about a commission for the Millburn Synagogue, for which he designs the curtains for the sanctuary that contains the torah scrolls.

1952

In January, Gottlieb exhibits his “Imaginary Landscape” paintings at Kootz Gallery. Gottlieb is awarded the commission to design and supervise the fabrication of a 1300 square-foot stained glass façade for The Milton Steinberg Memorial Center, New York. The project is completed and dedicated in 1954.

1953

In 1953, Gottlieb designs the ark curtain for Congregation Beth El in Springfield, MA. The synagogue experiences a devastating fire in the 1960s when all works are destroyed.

1954

In January, Gottlieb gives a talk at the annual College Art Association of America (CAA) meeting, his talk is titled “Artist and Society, A Brief History”. In the Spring, a Gottlieb retrospective exhibition was organized by Clement Greenberg at Bennington College, Bennington, VT. In December, Gottlieb participates in the conference “Art Education and the Creative Process” which was sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His talk is titled “The Responsibility of Artist in Morals and Faith”.

1955

Gottlieb is commissioned to design and supervise a suite of stained glass windows at the Kingsway Jewish Center in Brooklyn which he completes within the year.

1956

Gottlieb paints his first “Burst” painting, “Black, Blue, Red”. Gottlieb works are now represented by the Martha Jackson Gallery, New York. Gottlieb establishes his studio on 23rd Street, Manhattan.

Eyes of Oedipus, 1941
Flotsam at Noon, 1952
Black, Blue, Red, 1956

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