“Unknown (Woman Series)”, 1955, Oil on Canvas, 30″ x 36″
“Warm Rain II”, 1959, Oil on Canvas, 50″ x 40″

Ethel Schwabacher

(1903-1984)

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 50’s, 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 the personal traumas, remembered experiences and fear of isolation.

 

Selected Collections

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Whitney Museum of American Art, NY

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY

Jewish Museum, NY

Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY

Rockefeller University, NY

Miskin Gallery, NY