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 Sacha Kolin  (1911 - 1981)

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Lived/Active: New York / France/Austria      Known for: Indian motif abstract form painting, sculpture

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Ad Code: 3
Sacha  Kolin
"Smile over Black"
Copyright protected and may not be reproduced without the consent of Lisa Thaler
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biographical information, submitted by Adam Tamsky, has been excerpted from the website for the artist created by Lisa Thaler with her express permission.  Lisa Thaler is the author of a book entitled Look Up: The Life and Art of Sacha Kolin.

Sacha Kolin  was born in Paris in 1911, the daughter of a mechanical engineering student who was in Paris to test his airplane propeller designs under the supervision of Gustave Eiffel. Sacha grew up in Vienna and studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule (architectural rendering with Oskar Strnad) and at the Academy of Fine Arts (sculpture and drawing).  She was one of a handful of women to exhibit in the annuals of the Secession and the Kunstlerhaus.
In 1933, Sacha returned to Paris to study in the atelier of Naum Aronson, formerly a stone carver for Auguste Rodin.  Here sculptures were traditional expressive busts of men, women and children, and likened to those of Charles Despiau.  In her drawings, she endeavored to apply Rodin’s method of preserving spontaneity, the first impression, with well-formed figuration.  This facility for spare yet full gestural drawing, saying the most with the least, is a hallmark of Kolin’s graphic work at this time.

She exhibited at several annual Paris Salons and in 1935, was elected “Societaire”, the youngest full member, of the Nationale Societe des Beaux Arts.
In December 1936, Sacha, age 25, immigrated with her parents to the United States settling in Manhattan. Three months later, the artist held her first one-person exhibition “Modern Sculptures and Sketches” at Rockefeller Center’s P.E.D.A.C. Galleries. At the 1940 New York World’s Fair, she was one of 42 émigré artists (including Josef Albers, Werner Drewes, Laszlo-Moholy-Nagy, and Amedee Ozenfant) represented in “New Americans of Friendship House.”
From the 1940’s, Sacha was inspired by American Indian lore and iconography.  She began to incorporate native dance imagery and create flat-plane abstract compositions in a native palette of bold primary colors on black or grey ground.  In the 1950’s, she hosted a color workshop in her New York studio with Bauhaus-trained  Hannes Beckmann and developed further in a non-objective style.
Music was another passion, and Sacha sought to convey  a lyrical expressiveness in her canvases.  She participated in art exhibitions with a musical theme and organized concerts in conjunction with art shows.  Her work of this time, and in particular her watercolors, has been likened to that of Kandinsky and Paul Klee.  Her later calligraphic drawings and painted sculpture bare similarities to the work of Arp, Calder and Miro.
In the 1960’s, Sacha exhibited Op Art paintings, some created in series of four canvases of up to 3’ X 3’ which could be hung either vertically or horizontally.  Although proficient in numerous media, she considered herself primarily a sculptor.  Her three-dimensional works became increasingly geometric, often monochromatic, and based on the triangle.  The triangle as a leitmotif and titled references to flight recalls Sacha’s paternal legacy in aeronautics and her experiences as a war-era refugee.  Variations on interlocking and leaning triangles and other elemental forms address ideas of weight and balance, tension and grace.
To heighten the illusion of a precarious balance, the artist began to work with reflective materials and highly polished metal finishes.  Kolin experimented with machine-tooled sculpture techniques and was among the first members of Experiments in Art and Technology which arranges collaborations between artists and engineers.  In 1973, Sacha’s monumental aluminum sculpture Drawing in the Sky #1 was installed during her one-person exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY.
Sacha Kolin, who died in 1981, was a member of Artists Equity Association and the National Association of Women Artists.   Her career includes 19 one-person exhibitions and over 125 group shows. Sacha Kolin is represented in over 100 museum and private collections in the United States and abroad, some of which are listed below:
Burliuk Gallery
Condon Riley Gallery, NY
East Hampton Gallery, Easthampton, NY
Southampton College
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University
Colgate University
Pace University Art Gallery, NY
ACA Gallery, New York
Adelphi College
Artists Equity House
Ball State University
Berner Kunstmuseum, Berne Switzerland
Brooklyn Museum
Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, Nashville, TN
Dayton Art Institute
Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York
Gallery 256, Provincetown, NY
Guild Hall, Easthampton, NY
IBM Gallery, NY
Maison des Arts, Brussels, Belgium
MFA, Boston
National Academy Galleries, NY
National Arts Club, NY
National Museum of Natural History,Washington, DC
New Orleans Museum of Art
New School for Social Research, NY
Parish House, NY
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Riverside Museum, NY
Paris Salons
Vienna Secession
Stedelihjik Museum, Amsterdam
Wadsworth Athaneum, Hartford, CT
Whitney Museum of American Art, NY
1939 World’s Fair (1940 American Art of Today Building)
Yeshiva University

Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, CT
Avampato Discovery Museum, Charleston, WV
Archives of American Art, Wash.,DC
Berry College Art Department Collection, Mt. Berry GA
Chazen Museum of Art, Univ. of Wisconsin
Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk,VA
Cooper-Hewitt, NY
Dayton Art Institute,Dayton, OH
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
Fordham University Art Collection, NY
UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles,CA
Hirshhorn Museum, Wash., DC
Herbert F. Johnson Museum,Cornell University
Miami University Art Museum, Oxford, OH
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX
Neuberger Museum of Art, SUNY Purchase, NY
Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University
Print Club of Albany,NY
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University
Southampton College, Southampton, NY
State Art Museum of Florida, Sarasota, Fla
Trinity College Art Collection, Hartford, CT
Tyler Art Gallery, SUNY Oswego, NY
University Gallery, UMASS, Amherst, MA
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT

The contents of the Sacha Kolin website are for personal use only. Text and images may not be reproduced in any form without the prior consent of Lisa Thaler.

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