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 Samuel Halpert  (1884 - 1930)

About: Samuel Halpert
 

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Lived/Active: New York/Michigan / France      Known for: painting-landscape, cityscape, interiors

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BIOGRAPHY for Samuel Halpert
Facts/Data
Birth
1884 (Bialystok, Russia)
 
Death
1930 (Detroit, Michigan)

Lived/Active
New York/Michigan / France

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painting-landscape, cityscape, interiors

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New York Armory Show of 1913
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Bialystok, Russia, (now northeastern Poland) Samuel Halpert emigrated to the United States in 1890 with his parents when he was age five.  He was raised in the Lower East Side tenement area with other East European Jewish immigrants. One of his adult friends at that time was sculptor Jacob Epstein who took him to art museums, and encouraged his artistic talents and interests.

During the 1890s, he lived on and off in Paris.  He studied at the National Academy of Design in New York with J Carroll Beckwith, who raised funds to send Halpert to Paris where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts with Leon Bonnat.  He also studied at the Academie Julian with Jean Paul Laurens, but left the school to "learn on the streets of Paris" and from the Old Masters in the Louvre.

He exhibited at the Salon d'Automne, a venue for modernist works.  However, at this point in his career, he considered himself an impressionist combining influences of French Impressionism, James Whistler, Childe Hassam, and John Twachtmann.

Halpert became a pioneer of modern art in America, having been in Paris at a revolutionary time in the art world during the first decade of the 20th century.  His painting was influenced by Paul Cezanne and the French avant-garde, and in adapting the French culture, he had an edge in that he, unlike most American artists, spoke and wrote French fluently.  He formed close friendships with modernists Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Fernand Leger, Jean Metsinger, and some of the older artists including Henri Rousseau and Henri Matisse.

After about three years in Paris, he returned to New York, where he met Alfred Stieglitz and became exposed to the avant-garde activities of Stieglitz's Little Galleries of the Succession (291).  He stayed in New York for less than a year before returning to Paris where he developed his own style that embodied Post-Impressionism and Fauvism.

He returned to New York City during 1911 to 1914, the time of the 1913 Armory Show that had such a profound modernist impact on American art.  Although he lived and painted in the city, he also painted extensively in the countryside.  He exhibited in the Armory Show and encouraged other artists towards modernism including Marsden Hartley.  He became close friends and mentor with Man Ray, whose work went towards Dadaism, something Halpert did not embrace.

From 1914 to 1916, he was in Paris and then returned to New York.  In 1918, he married Edith Fein, an art student and very adept businesswoman.  They lived both in and out of the city, with him painting both landscapes and city scenes.  He also painted numerous interior scenes, often with Edith posed as a figure subject. However, his income was minimal, and to supplement, he did mural painting.

The marriage became strained, major factors being that Halpert had constant ringing in his ears and that he felt diminished by her ability to earn much more money than he.  It was thought that the ringing in his ears was psychosomatic, but towards the end of his life, they learned it was the result of childhood meningitis.

They spent time in France trying to maintain their relationship, and then returned to New York.  In 1926, Edith founded the Downtown Gallery, a very successful venture.  In 1927, he became head of the painting department at the Society of Arts and crafts in Detroit, having been recommended by John Sloan.  This position brought him some financial success.  He stayed in touch with New York family and friends; Edith's Gallery represented him, and although the marriage broke up, he and Edith remained friends with her as his art dealer.

Just as his finances were strengthening as well as his reputation, the stock market crash of 1929 hit.  Halpert died the next year in Detroit at age 45.

Source:
Diane Tepfer, "Samuel Halpert: Art & Life 1884-1930", American Art Review, June 2002

Note to AskART from Diane Tepfer of Washington DC:

During WWI, Halpert traveled in Spain and Portugal with his friends Robert and Sonia Delaunay.  There they experimented "in the antique method of painting in wax as a medium."


Biography from Blake Benton Fine Art, Artists G - K:
Samuel Halpert was born in Russia, December 25th, 1884, and was brought to the United States as a young child.  His early artistic talent was recognized and encouraged by teachers Jacob Epstein and Henry McBride at the Educational Alliance in New York City.  After three years of traditional study at the National Academy of Design, he traveled to Paris to work with Leon Bonnat (1883 -1922) at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.  While in France, Halpert was strongly influenced by his exposure to the works of the French modernists, especially Paul Cézanne (1839 -1906) and Henri Matisse (1869 -1954), and by his colleagues Fernand Léger (1881 -1955) and Jean Metzinger (1883 -1957).

From 1905, which coincided with the first favorable review of the Fauvists' daring use of color, until 1911, Halpert participated in the annual Salon d'Automne in Paris, one of few Americans to be so recognized.

His signature use of solid, thickly outlined block-like forms, as evidenced in this composition, reflects his Paris experiences.  He was known for genre, landscapes, farms, citys, Paris, interiors, lakes and coast.  Halpert was also influenced by the bright colors of Ogunquit Maine where he took up summer residence for many years.

He was a member of the New Society of Artists; (pres.) Society of Independent Artists of Detroit; Societare Salon d'Automne, Paris.

He died in 1930.



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