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Lorser Feitelson

Theme/Style – Post-Surrealism, figurative art

Media – Oils, murals, drawings

Artistic Focus – One of Southern California’s most influential pioneers of Modern Art and a pivotal figure in the development of American abstract painting in the mid-20th Century, Lorser Feitelson’s works grafted neoclassicism onto the metaphysical element seen in paintings of de Chirico. He often worked in a pale, cool palette, creating a calm, contemplative effect that sought a reasoned response in those viewing his works.

Career Highlights –

• Lorser Feitelson became intrigued by the burgeoning Modern Art movement during a 1913 visit to the New York Armory Show.
• In the 1920s, Feitelson chose to settle in Southern California rather than join the San Francisco Bay Area’s cozy, established art circle, maintaining that serious artists could do their best work in the south “because...[they] didn’t look in the art columns to see what is fashionable...”
• Along with his wife, fellow artist Helen Lundeberg, Feitelson developed the Post-Surrealist movement in a search for a style of Modern Art that was uniquely American, and also as a way to “return to the more philosophical concerns of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, while at the same time reflecting modern developments in science and technology.”
• By 1950, Feitelson had become a proponent of hard-edge abstraction, although he was considered to have “the softest edges among the hard-edged painters,” thanks to his sensuous color choices and a lyrical, rather than shocking, tension to his compositions.