Mama, You Know I Never Paid Matisse No Never Mind

Artist Details

Name: Sigmund M. Abeles
Birth: 1934
Nationality: American

Artwork Details

Date of Work: 2000
Medium: pastel on handmade paper
Dimensions: 41 x 31 inches
Credit: Museum Purchase with partial funds provided by The Richard Florsheim Art Fund

Born in Brooklyn, New York,  Sigmund Abeles moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as a child. He began studying printmaking at the University of South Carolina, having abandoned the medical career that his parents had wished for him. After receiving his degree from the University of South Carolina and his M.A. from Columbia University, Abeles settled in Massachusetts where he taught first at the Swain School of Design, then at Wellesley College. His early work in printmaking and etchings often expressed a sense of social justice, and he acknowledges the formative influence of artists such as Leonard Baskin, Ben Shahn and Raphael Soyer.

In the late 1960s, Abeles’ subjects changed and over the years he has challenged himself with various themes, including Jungian and symbolist dream-images, the human figure in domestic settings, the animals and charm of rural life, and his family. His outstanding skill as a draughtsman is well known as is his study of the human figure.  In this portrait of his mother, Abeles captures the very essence of old age.  Shown seated in a nursing home setting, the portrait was painted from a photograph shortly after the sitter’s death.

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