Esphyr Slobodkina

Esphyr Slobodkina
American, 1908-2002
The Madly Scrambling Circles of Upward Mobility, 1987
Painted metal construction, deconstructed fan
15 1/4 H. × 13 1/4 W. × 11 1/2 D. inches
Provenance: Sid Deutsch Gallery

Artist Description

Born in Chelyabinsk, Siberia in 1908, and having moved to New York in 1928, Esphyr Slobodkina was a prominent Russian-American Abstract Artist.

Over the course of her career, she worked in a range of mediums to produce garments, portraits, pamphlets, sculptures, collages, and architectural designs. Additionally, she was an author and children’s book illustrator.

She attended the National Academy of Design in New York, though found it too conservative – however, she was inspired by the instructor and famous muralist Arthur Sinclair Covey. In 1933, Slobodkina was able to join the Artists’ Union, which provided her with an outlet to depict abstract forms, subjects, and compositions. Leaving the National Academy in 1933, she went on to study and incorporate into her own works the styles and themes of Post-Impressionism and Cubism.

She was a founding member and President of the American Abstract Artists Group, which still exists today and has included other notable artists such as Josef Albers, Robert Smithson, and Lee Krasner.

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