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Abstraction, c. 1914

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While living in New York City in the mid-1910s, Abraham Walkowitz began a series of experimental abstractions he called New York Improvisations. Many of these drawings presented aspects of the city in an angular style inspired by the Cubist works of Picasso and Braque. Others, like this drawing, featured organic patterns of billowing, curvilinear forms. “Art has its own life,” he once stated. “One receives impressions from contacts or objects and then new forms are born in equivalents of line or color improvisations . . . the artist creates a new form of life.” This drawing represents an emotional response to the rhythm and energy of the urban experience itself.

Artist Life
American (born Russia), 1880–1965
Accession Number
The artist, c. 1914-65; Estate of the artist, 1965; [Zabriskie Gallerie, New York, until 1969 (sold to Hillstrom)]; Rev. Richard Lewis Hillstrom, St. Paul, 1969-93; given to MIA.
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Copyright of the artist, artist's estate, or assignees