Oil on canvas
20" x 24" x 1.5"
Copyright © Howard Daum Estate
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HOWARD DAUM (1918 – 1988)
Born in Lodz, Poland in 1918, Daum and his family moved to Montreal when he was 14. Upon graduation from high school, he enrolled in the Art Students League under a scholarship. There he studied under Will Barnet and Vaclav Vytlacil, a former student of Hans Hofmann and founder of the American Abstract Artists group in 1936. After military service, Daum himself studied under Hofmann in New York.
Influenced by Barnet, Daum and several other students, including Robert Barrell, Peter Busa, and Steve Wheeler, were drawn to Native American art and moved away from the gestural abstraction taught by Hofmann. Daum’s work is characterized by flat planes of color, shaped by an overall patterning influenced by the ideographs of the Pacific Northwest Native Americans. Barnett Newman described these ideographs as “A shape that was a living thing; a vehicle for an abstract thought-complex.” Daum termed his new style ‘Indian Space’ and it would continue to be a hallmark of his work throughout his career.
Moving into a studio off Union Square in 1945, where he would remain for the rest of his life, Daum met a number of fellow artists, including Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Kenneth Hayes Miller and Harry Sternberg. His first solo exhibition was at Ashby Gallery in 1946, run by his friend Carl Ashby. Until his death in 1988 Daum would remain a fixture on the New York art scene. His work can be found in the collection of the Art Students League, the Smithsonian Institution, the Walker Art Center and the Arkansas Art Center.
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