Lawrence Edward Kupferman, ANA

(American, 1909-1982)

Abstract Biopic Drip Composition
Watercolor Painting

Lawrence Kupferman Biopic Drip Watercolor Painting

Watercolor on Paper

21 x 29
Signed (lower right)
Kupferman and Tailed and dated on reverse: "Of the Sea, August 10, 1949.

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Artist Information

(American, 1909-1982)

Lawrence Kupferman (1909–1982) was born in the Boston area, and he became one of the most important abstract artists to emerge from there in the early 1940s. Kupferman worked as an artist for the WPA in the 1930s, developing a strictly realist style that depicted Victorian houses and other detailed architectural images. Around 1943 Kupferman began to integrate more expressionistic forms into his works. He soon moved completely away from recognizable subject matter and definitively became an abstract painter. In 1946 he studied with the influential German-born artist Karl Zerbe at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Kupferman later attended the Massachusetts College of Art, where he would become a professor and retire as its Head of Painting in 1969. His focus, as it would remain until the late 1960s, was on abstract, marinelike amoeboid forms—the imagery intimated, rather than strictly described.

Kupferman was an active participant in a huge thrust in Boston art in the 1940s to create a vibrant art scene that rivaled New York. He has been appropriately credited with bringing Abstract Expressionism to Boston, serving as a critical artistic conduit to New York painters such as Mark Rothko and Hans Hofmann, contacts he made in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he spent his summers beginning in 1946. Kupferman's unique brand of abstraction integrated with the already burgeoning figurative expressionism in Boston, and he showed at the Boris Mirksi Gallery, arguably the most important Boston gallery at the time. He served as the Chair of the Modern Artists Group and is considered one of the major Boston artists whose numerous exhibitions throughout the world helped establish that city as a vital art scene.

Kupferman continued to paint until he died in 1982 in the Boston area. His work received a retrospective at the Brockton Art Center, Fuller Museum of Art, in Brockton, Massachusetts in 1974.

Art Information

Abstract Biopic Composition
Titled: "Of the Sea"

Mixed Media on Paper, 21 x 29 inches, Signed (lower right): Kupferman. Titled “OF THE SEA” on reverse, and signed again Lawrence Kupferman and dated August 10, 1949. An artist inventory number was included as well: DG #195H.


An Abstract Vision of the Sea:

While summering on Cape Cod in 1946, Kupferman became fascinated by the abundant life along the beach. He filled sketchbooks with images of sea creatures and invented zoomorphic forms. He borrowed a microscope and began to examine organisms in drops of sea water. Rather than depicting what he observed, the artist strove to capture the spark of life and the cosmic nature of this unfamiliar realm. Kupferman wrote, "I try to suggest, at least, the wonderful dense complexity of matter, or indeed of being; the miracle of being…. I try to allude to the atomic structure, to the ceaseless spinning movements, the endless pulsations inherent in all beings."
Microscopic Creatures from the Ocean Deep depicts the world of cold and darkness at the bottom of the sea.

"Recent abstract canvases by Lawrence Kupferman at the Levitt Gallery also derive their inspiration from the sea. Employing amoebic antennnaed forms and a blurred, runny technique of oil and watercolor, these painting suggest a world or submarine flora and fuana caught in a swirling lava-like flow of brilliant flame color. Individual forms cary poetic suggestion in their gem-like luster and mysteriousness that comes of their minute, fascinating particularization."
-The New York Times, April 9, 1948

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