Abstract Saturday: Adolph Gottlieb

Born in New York in 1903, his first home was on 10th street in New York City, opposite Tompkins Square Park, a neighborhood I used to wander daily when I was a freelance illustrator In the city. He was a contemporary and friend of Milton Avery and Mark Rothko. He changed the spelling of his first name from "Adolf" to "Adolph" in response to the election of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor in Germany and painted for the WPA in the thirties. My particular favorites of his paintings are the "pictographs" from the 1940s. They're all based on symbols or motifs from random human and natural forms, separated into compartments of a grid. Gottlieb didn't sketch out his ideas but tried to be spontaneous so as to draw from his subconscious.  There are so many that I love, that it was hard to choose.

Pictogenic Fragments by Adolph Gottlieb

Adolph Gottlieb: Night Voyage, 1946 - Oil on canvas (Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966 Art © Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation

Alkahest Of Paracelsus, * 1945 * Adolph Gottlieb, American, 1903–1974. MFA, Boston via

 Sentinel, 1951 Adolph Gottlieb (American, 1903-1974) 

Pictograph, 1942, oil on canvas by Adolph Gottlieb via

Pictograph, Adolph Gottlieb, 1946, oil on canvas

Night Forms, 1950

Mood Indigo 1946,  Adolph Gottlieb. Gouache, watercolor and graphite on paper . 25½ x 19½ in. (64.7 x 49.5 cm.)