Ethel Schwabacher

Ethel Schwabacher

Presented by Anita Shapolsky Gallery

Schwabacher started her art education in sculpture. In 1923, after her apprenticeship in stone carving with the sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, Schwabacher abandoned sculpture in 1927 and enrolled in Max Weber's painting class at the Art Students League. That year she met Arshile Gorky, with whom she developed a life lasting friendship. Gorky's surrealistic-inspired imaginary, biomorphic abstractions and erotic forms drawn from his unconsciousness fascinated Schwabacher and she became interested in exploring her own psyche. The paintings from this period combine automatism with abstract forms, referring to nature. Through the '50s, Schwabacher developed the interconnected themes of womanhood, childbirth, and children. Following the death of her husband, Wolf, in 1951, the topics of loss, anxiety, loneliness, and separation infiltrated her work. During those painful years Schwabacher's abstract paintings were searching through personal traumas, remembered experiences, and fear of isolation.

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