(b Montreal, 27 June 1913; d Woodstock, NY, 7 June 1980). American painter. He was born in Canada, the son of Russian immigrant parents, and grew up in Los Angeles, where he was a schoolfriend of Jackson Pollock. After travelling in Mexico in 1934, studying the work of Orozco and Rivera in particular, he settled in New York and from 1934 to 1941 worked as a muralist on the Federal Art Project. In 1941 he moved to Iowa City to teach at the State University there, and from 1945 to 1947 he was artist-in-residence at Washington University, St Louis. After leaving New York he switched from mural to easel painting, and during the 1940s his work changed in another fundamental way, moving from social and political subjects to abstraction; by 1950 (when, after travels in Europe, he settled in New York again) he had eliminated all figurative elements from his work.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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