Arnold Friedman


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Painter. A lifelong New Yorker, Arnold Aaron Friedman began working for the postal service at the age of seventeen and remained in that employment for more than forty years. As a young man he attended night classes at City College of New York, and between 1905 and 1908 he worked at the Art Students League, where Robert Henri ranked as his most influential teacher. In 1908 he left for six months in Paris, where the work of Georges Seurat and Camille Pissarro particularly caught his attention. It was not until he saw the Armory Show in 1913 that he became aware of cubism. For the next few years, in paintings related to synchromism, he combined glowing colors with planar forms derived from that style. By 1920 Friedman had returned to representation without rejecting modernism. Simplified form and compressed space continued. Isolated at the post office by day and painting at night, he produced intentionally naive work that bears little resemblance to major currents of the day. Even after he retired in 1933 and was able to paint full time, his art remained at arm's length from the mainstream. He developed a method of stippling to produce gentle color gradations in compositions that suggest Pierre Bonnard's work. These richly luminous and densely textured still lifes and landscapes combine modernist interest in structure with color drawn from his first love, late impressionism.

Subjects: Art.

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