Michael Loew (1907-1985) was one of the major proponents of Abstract Expressionism and influenced by the Neo-Plasticism of Mondrian.Despite their opposing approaches to abstraction, he became a longtime friend of Willem de Kooning, whom he met completing WPA projects during the 1930s. Although Loew began his Neo-Plasticist mode during the 1940s, it was the 1950s that brought the full development of his mature style. After World War II, Loew studied with Hans Hofmann and cultivated his sensibility for color effects. He used the grid-structure of Mondrian as a base from which to experiment with the possibilities of the palette; to focus on subtle transitions of tone or harmony of color relationships. Drawing inspiration from life, he transformed subjects into unique patterns of rectangles or color fields, naming the final composition according to the dominant colors. He exhibited these works at the Stable Gallery annuals, beginning a full and successful exhibition career.
In 1957, Loew participated in the International Association of Plastic Arts Touring Exhibition, Contemporary American Painting as juror and exhibitor. Here he exhibited alongside Milton Avery, Samuel Adler, Josef Albers, de Kooning, Reinhardt, Walkowitz and others. The same year he gained representation at Zabriskie Gallery, next to Johns, Motherwell, and Rauschenberg. A recognized pillar of American Modernism, Loew maintained an active teaching and exhibition schedule until his death in 1985.
Signature: Signed and dated lower right, "Loew '52".
About Michael Loew
Though the painter Michael Loew is today best known for his colorful and gestural Abstract Expressionist paintings, his style culminated from a multitude of influences. Loew first trained in a stained-glass workshop and with the Ashcan School, and produced figural murals with his like-minded friend Willem de Kooning as part of the WPA initiatives. During his time spent in the tutelage of Hans Hofmann, Loew turned his interest towards abstraction, and his works became influenced by both Post-Cubism and Neo-Plasticism. His radical experiments with color and geometry came to define his mature style. Loew was also passionate about artists’ rights and activism, and led a number of demonstrations. He was part of the Spiral Group, an artist organization devoted to exhibiting experimental art.
American, 1907-1985, New York, New York