American, 1925 – 2019
Untitled East End Landscape, 1977
Oil on board
20 H. x 15 1/4 W. inches
Signed Lower Right: Stan Brodsky ‘ 77
Stan Brodsky was born in 1925, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He was the son of a truck driver with a 5th grade education. The family lived in two rooms and endured extreme poverty during the depression. At 18, he was drafted to fight on the Western front and he served in the 100th Infantry Division, Company F. He carried artillery — mortars — and became nearly deaf later in life as a result of his proximity to gunfire. Once, during a farmhouse raid when other soldiers looted silver and china and other spoils, he found a small watercolor box. He carried this box in his gas mask for the remainder of the war and began to paint what he saw around him — mainly in letters home to family. These letter were eventually collected and published as a book.
After the war and with the American GI bill, Brodsky was able to attend college — earning a BJ, then MFA, and later a doctorate, an EDD from Columbia Teachers College. He studied painting in earnest while a student at University of Iowa and then in Paris at Académie Julian. He returned to a post-war New York City to discover the abstract expressionist movement in full force. Despite a very conservative art education, he embraced modernism fully and developed a personal vocabulary to include abstract landscape as well as figurative-based painting.
Having painted continuously for nearly six decades, Brodsky saw fashions in the art world come and go. His steadfastness and depth stand as an increasing rarity in a current culture that often celebrate the disposable, the brash and ever more extravagant. His work stands as an antithesis of this trajectory — that is the skill and the conviction in the power of art to give life its deepest meaning.