7. Circus Performer (Untitled), c. 1930s
Wood sculpture, 10 ½ x 3 ¾ x 2 ½ inches, signed CH Gross lower right base, carved cipher on bottom of the base
About the Artist
Born in 1904 in Austria, Chaim Gross is a Jewish-American sculptor and pioneer in direct wood carving. His father was a lumber merchant. After receiving his education in Budapest and Vienna after the end of World War I, Gross immigrated to New York in 1921 where he studied under Russian-American artist Abbo Ostrowsky at the Educational Alliance Art School on the Lower East Side and at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design with Elie Nadelman, who became his most influential teacher. Gross also became close friends and associates with the Soyer brothers. From his early days in New York, Gross centered his artistic practice on the human form. In 1933, Gross joined the Public Works of Art Project and later the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture, where he was awarded several commissions. He not only did created works for the Federal Trade Commission Building, the United States Post Office Headquarters, and the 1939 New York World’s Fair, but he also taught sculpture in schools and public colleges. Gross primarily worked with wood until he switched to bronze casting in the 1950s. Gross is listed in Who Was Who in American Art and all other standard references.