Saul Baizerman


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Sculptor. Figural works formed from sheets of hammered metal constitute his most characteristic pieces. Born in Vitebsk, Russia (now Belarus), he began his art training as a young teenager in Odessa. In 1909 he traveled through Europe to England before settling permanently in New York in 1910. There he studied at the National Academy of Design and elsewhere. Gutzon Borglum numbered among his principal teachers. About 1920 Baizerman abandoned both bronze-casting and the academic tradition in which he had been trained. At this time he turned his attention to a series he called The City and Its People, a thirty-some-year procession of small hammered-metal genre subjects observed from life in New York. Although modern in their simplified, analytical forms, in their humanitarian subject matter these bridge the concerns earlier inaugurated by the Ashcan painters and reinvigorated by artists of the American Scene movement, particularly the social realists, in the 1930s. A 1931 studio fire destroyed many works from the series. By the early 1930s Baizerman had expanded his technique to include a method of hammering large sheets of metal on both sides, giving the material a hand-worked sensuousness. He then formed these into figures or figural fragments, often on a monumental scale. The life-size torso Slumber (Whitney Museum, 1948) invokes the classical tradition as it floats lightly above its pedestal, supported only at one point. His wife, painter Eugenie Silverman Baizerman (1899–1949), was born in Warsaw but lived as a youngster in Russia. After settling in New York as a teenager, she studied at the National Academy of Design and elsewhere. Her work evolved from its origins in French impressionism to a personal style emphasizing color harmonies.

Subjects: Art.

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