Janet Sobel


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(1894–1968). Painter. She achieved brief acclaim for her abstract expressionist work in the mid-1940s but soon faded into obscurity. Born Jennie Lechovsky in Ekaterinoslav, Russia (now Dnipropetrovsk in central Ukraine), in 1908 she arrived with her family in New York. Two years later she married Max Sobel, who ran a jewelry business. For the next twenty-seven years, she lived as a mother and housewife in Brooklyn but took up painting in her early forties. Remaining self-taught, she produced colorful figurative works in an imaginative, unacademic, and decorative style. By 1944 she was dripping and pouring paint while employing automatist methods to create dynamic all-over paintings. Traces of figuration remain in early examples, but by the time she described herself as a surrealist in 1946, much of her work was entirely abstract. In 1947 she moved permanently to the northern New Jersey suburb of Plainfield, where she continued to work in seclusion for some time, reverting again to figural fantasies.

From The Oxford Dictionary of American Art and Artists in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.

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