Wonderful color on this large abstract painting by the Woodstock artist Alexander MINEWSKI . The painting on artist board is signed at lower right ~ oil or casein ? . SIGHT size is approx. 19" x 24" EXCELLENT condition.
Alexander Minewski ( born: Detroit, Michigan 1917; died: Kingston, New York 1979)
Alexander Minewski left home at the age of 14 to work in the circus, helping set up and take down the equipment. He always aspired to be ringmaster but never got that far in his entertainment career. After this adventure, he worked as a sign painter and a logger, where he constantly kept his sketchbook nearby. Eventually, he received scholarships so that he had the opportunity to study at the Art Students League in New York City. There, great artists such as Jean Charlot, Ernest Fiene, George Grosz and Vaclav Vytlacil influenced his work.
When the United States entered World War II, Minewski joined the army and fought as a combat engineer. He was wounded in Burma while fighting with Merrill's Marauders, where he ironically received weather reports from another future Monhegan painter, Ted Davis. Minewski had to spend two years in a hospital in Burma recovering from his wounds. After this, he studied for two years on the G.I. Bill in Paris and completed two more years of training in New York City, one of which was with the great abstract painter, Hans Hofmann. Hofmann made Minewski's works much more abstract and expressionistic. Minewski's early works are characterized by their realistic yet moody quality, while his later works are examples of expressionistic realism. Later, Minewski appreciated the eclectic experiences of his young life because he felt that, "Painting should be an expression of life's experiences."
In 1966, Minewski was appointed Professor of Art at State University of New York at New Paltz. In 1954 Minewski began visiting Monhegan Island to work and collaborate with other artists and friends such as Ted Davis. Minewski received a grant to study and paint sea life while working in Monhegan and, therefore, fish often served as the subjects of his paintings. Every day he received a cod or wolf-fish head from the fishermen, which would provide the inspiration for his next painting. However, Minewski not only painted fish from Monhegan, but landscapes and seascapes as well. While working on Monhegan Island, he met his future wife, Natalie, who was a graphic designer, a book designer and an etcher.
Minewski received a number of prestigious awards during his lifetime including the Purchase Prize, 1939, the Tiffany Fellowship, 1960, honorable mention in the American Society of Casein Painters, 1964, and the Ball State Drawing Show, 1969. His most recent honor came from the selection of one of his pieces to be used on the poster advertising the Sam Dorskey Museum in New York. However, one of the most special rewards he received from his students at the State University College, New Paltz, New York. The students there organized a circus, and knowing that Minewski had always wanted to be the ringmaster as a young boy working in the circus, they nominated him to be the ringmaster of their circus. Minewski's widow, Natalie, currently lives in New Paltz, New York, and advocates for her husband's work.
Exhibited: Audubon Artists, 1947-48; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art Annual, 1949; Butler Institute of American Art, 1957; Columbia Museum of Art, 1957; National Academy of Design; Michigan Artists, 1937-39, 1945-47; National Society of Painters in Casein, 1955, 1956; Detroit, 1946 (solo); Contemporary Art Gallery, 1947; Washington Irving Gallery, 1957; New Paltz, 1979 (retrospective). Awards: prizes, Ball State Teachers College, 1956 (purchase); Michigan Artists, 1938 (purchase). Member: Woodstock Art Association. Work: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art; Detroit Institute of Art.
Minewski, Natalie. Personal Interview. March 2001.
Alexander Minewski Retrospective. New Paltz, New York: College Art Gallery, State University College, 1979.
Curtis, June and Will, and Frank Liberman. Monhegan: The Artists' Island. Camden, Maine: Down East Books, 1995.
Peter Hastings Falk (editor), Who Was Who in American Art
Information provided by Ronald Wells