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 Benjamin Hoffman Abramowitz  (1917 - 2011)

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Lived/Active: Maryland/New York      Known for: abstract painting, sculpture, figurative drawing

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Benjamin Hoffman is primarily known as Benjamin Hoffman Abramowitz

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Benjamin Abramowitz is known for his diverse aesthetic styles by art critics, curators, and collectors.  A "senior artist" at age 19 in the New York City WPA* program, he is one of the small number of surviving artists of the WPA era.
 
Named Benjamin Abramowitz, he also created work under the name Benjamin Hoffman.  He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1917 to Russian immigrants.  He became fascinated by different art forms as a young child, although his family did not approve of his interest in art. From an interview with collector and Amity Art Foundation head John Stewart at Juniata College Museum of Art, Abramowitz said: “I’ve been an artist all my life.  When I was about four or five years old, I saw a little crayon drawing of my father’s; it was a love letter he sent to my mother.  It just grabbed me.  I just went bananas.  From then on, I was in love with everything in art: it could be handwriting, it could be printing, it could be illustration, it could be landscape, it could be portraits, it could be still life, it could be anything."
 
During his career, he lived in New York, Washington, DC, Greenbelt and Rockville, MD when he worked in Baltimore.
 
Working in pencil, watercolor, acrylics, oil, plaster, and wood, he does artwork that includes paintings, sculpture, and works on paper in drawing and watercolor.  He was inspired by the avant-garde* artistic style common in Europe.  His desire for visual statement drew him at a young age to the social and political chaos of the Depression era, the tragedies of the poor and legends from the Old Testament.  Also common in his work are portraits of his family in a variety of media, and sketches from family trips to Europe.
 
His education and art training included the Brooklyn Museum School, New York, 1933; and the National Academy of Design*, New York, 1936.  His subject matter is social and political statements, The Great Depression, Old Testament, family portraits, landscapes and jazz.
His styles were realism*, abstract expressionism*, post-painterly abstraction, and hard – edged minimalism*
 
GROUP EXHIBITIONS:
"Wilson Building Art Collection," Washington, D.C., 2007
Washington D.C.,1982
“International Sculpture Conference,” District Building Mayor Barry’s Office, Washington, D.C., June 1980
Washington Project for the Arts Benefit Gala and Auction, Washington, D.C. , 1980
 “Eminent Washington Artists: 3rd Annual Invitational Exhibit,” The Art Barn, Washington, D.C., 1980
World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1971
“Washington: Twenty Years,” The Baltimore Museum of Art, 1970
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1970
Southampton College, Long Island University, New York, 1967
“The Drawing Society Eastern Central Regional Drawing Exhibition,” The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, 1965
“Benjamin Abramowitz,” The Brownsville Art League, 1965
“Washington Artists Exhibition No. 20: Benjamin Abramowitz,” The Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1963
 Solo exhibition, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD, 1959
 “3 Maryland Artists: Benjamin Abramowitz, Jane Frank & Lowell Nesbitt,” The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD, 1958

SOLO EXHIBITION
Washington Hebrew Congregation, Washington, D.C., 1955
“Abramowitz: Paintings and Drawings,” 1955
“Paintings by Benjamin Abramowitz,” Dupont Theatre Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1954
 “Regional Artist Exhibit,” The Baltimore Museum of Art, 1953
“Eighteen Washington Artists: 10th Anniversary, “The Eighth Annual Area Exhibition,” The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.,1953
“Trio: One-man shows by prominent Washington artists,” Watkins Gallery, American University, Washington, D.C., 1953
“Trends in American Drawing,” Howard University”, Washington, D.C., 1952
“The Seventh Annual Area Exhibition,” The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.,
1952
“Maryland Artists 20th Annual Exhibition,” The Baltimore Museum of Art, 1952
One-man Show, The Whyte Gallery, Washington, D.C., April 1952
“Painters of Expressionistic Abstraction,” The Phillips Gallery, Washington, D.C., March 1952

AWARDS
“V.I.P. In the Jewish World, ”1982-1983
“Who’s Who in the America, Eastern Region,” 1978
Judge, Rockville Art Show, Rockville, MD, April 1967
Ford Foundation Grant Artist in Residence, Brownsville, Texas, March 1965
The 19th Annual Maryland Artist’s Exhibition Award for “Good Sound Work in a Modern Direction,” The Baltimore Museum of Art, February 1951
Southern States Finalist - “Competitive Nationwide Exhibit,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, 1950
?Muth Drawing Prize, Tenth Annual Times-Herald Outdoor Art Fair, Washington, D.C., 1947.
Honorable Mention, American Artists’ Congress Fifth Annual Competitive Exhibition,” ACA Gallery, New York, NY, June 1940
 
Collections:
Amity Art Foundation
Brownsville Art League
Howard University
Collection of Graphic Art?,Metropolitan Museum of Art
Newark Art Museum
The Phillips Collection
Phoenix Security
Smithsonian Institution
St. Louis Art Museum
District of Columbia Government, Wilson Building Art Collection
Whyte Gallery

Submitted June, 2010 by Susan Rosenbaum and Brooke Miller

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