Born on October 12, 1928 in Brooklyn New York, Al Held was a vibrant abstract expressionist painter known for his large-scale colorful paintings. Al Held passed away at his home in Italy in 2005 at the age of 76.
A child of the Great Depression, Held grew up in a poor Jewish family in the Bronx. Held did not show any interest in art until he 1945 when he returned from the Navy. Upon his return to New York, Held enrolled himself in The Art Students League of New York. He went to Paris in the the early 1950’s where he attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and studied under Ossip Zadkine. After returning to New York in 1959, Held’s artwork began to receive positive attention. In 1962, Held became an associate professor of art at Yale University where he taught until 1980.
Beginning in 1981, Held spent part of each year at his home in Tuscany where he established a studio. The artist’s work underwent a metamorphosis in the 1980’s incorporating interlocking arcs and circular forms influenced by Renaissance and Baroque architecture in Italy.
The two color etchings by the artist that are in The Escalette Collection of Art were both painted in 1983. These similar works on white canvases are painted with blocks of color and overlapping geometrical shapes.
More about the artist: Archives of American Art – Interview
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Text revised 07-05-2014