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Walter S. Feldman (American 1925 – 2017)

Bridge Lights (Untitled), 1947, oil on canvas, 22 ½ x 17 inches, Labeled verso “Brown University, Trustee, The Walter Feldman Trust for Artwork”; Feldman’s business card verso


About the Painting

Walter Feldman painted Bridge Lights (Untitled) early in his career. Unlike his later expressionist and abstract expressionist paintings, Bridge Lights (Unititled) draws on recognizable, but abstracted and streamlined hard-edged forms. We look down the roadbed of a bridge with the steel girders surrounding us and the traffic lights above. The perspective puts us in mind of Joseph Stella’s futurist paintings of the Brooklyn Bridge. Bridge Lights (Untitled) also owes a debt to the precisionist artists of the prior two decades, particularly the paintings of Ralston Crawford and Niles Spencer, both of whom explored bridges and their superstructures. Here, Feldman has simplified and flattened the key components of the painting - the bridge structure and surrounding landscape – and adopted a palette that employs broad expanses of saturated colors.

About the Artist

Walter S. Feldman was an established artist and teacher who spent nearly seven decades in his creative pursuits. Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, he received both a BFA and MFA from the Yale University School of Fine Arts and studied with de Kooning, Stuart Davis and Josef Albers. He taught at Yale from 1950 to 1953, when he joined the faculty of Brown University where he taught for more than the next five decades. During his long career, Feldman exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, and the Corcoran Gallery, as well as at other institutions in the United States and internationally. He had one-man shows at Pace Gallery and Kraushaar Galleries. Feldman earned a Fulbright Fellowship and Eliza Gardner Howard Fellowship. His other awards include the gold medal at Milan’s Mostra International, the Childe Hassam Purchase Prize from the National Academy of Design, the Print Prize at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Tonner Prize from the American Color Print Society. Feldman’s works are in the collections of over 150 public institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Smithsonian Institute, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. In 2014, his work was the subject of a mini retrospective at The Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston. He is listed in Who was Who in American Art and other standard references.

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