Harold Shapinsky (1925 - 2004)
Untitled, c. 1949
Oil and ink on paper
7 1/4 x 9 inches
Initialed at lower right: HS
Modernist style frame
Estate of the artist
American abstract painter Harold Shapinsky was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1925. As a young man in his mid-teens he dropped out of school and moved to a cold-water flat in Manhattan to paint.
In 1948 he was invited to join the Subjects of the Artist, an informal studio school associated with Robert Motherwell, William Baziotes, Mark Rothko and other abstract expressionist painters. In 1950 Motherwell chose him for inclusion in the Kootz Gallery exhibition, Fifteen Unknowns (selected by the artists of the Kootz Gallery).
In 1985 Shapinsky's work came to the attention of Ronald Alley, then Keeper of the Modern Collection at the Tate Museum. Alley arranged for an exhibition at the Mayor Gallery in London, from which all twenty-two paintings were sold, including one that was acquired by the Tate.
In 1987 Helander Gallery, Palm Beach, gave the artist his first solo exhibition in the United States. The show was another financial and critical success. Shapinsky's work merited national reviews both in the art monthlies and the popular press, and The National Gallery of Art in Washington acquired a painting.
In 1989 Jeffrey Wechsler included several examples of Shapinsky's work in the exhibition, Abstract Expressionism: Other Dimensions, at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Helander Gallery gave Shapinsky his first one-man exhibition in New York in 1990, and in 1992 the National Arts Club, New York, mounted a 45-year retrospective.
Paintings by Harold Shapinsky are in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Tate Modern, London; the Zimmerli Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey; and the Tel Aviv Museum, Israel.