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Harold Altman


“The art of Harold Altman, profoundly individualistic, gives us a vision of a world imbued with poetry, maturity, and compassion; and if a single theme prevails – the parks, as gardens of life – could one not quote in this connection these lines of Michel Seuphor on the subject of Mondrian: ‘Modern man in his search for himself fixes upon a theme, and in that theme, each artist discovers or conceals his own mystery, and in that sense that one theme constitutes his whole world.’”- Alma de Chantal, Vie Des Arts Magazine

Harold Altman was born in the Bronx on April 20, 1924.  He is known as an American printmaker who captured the subtle atmospheric conditions with his images of Central Park and the parks in Paris.  He primarily used lithography although he also produced a remarkable body of etchings and a fine group of paintings throughout his life.  He received numerous awards and fellowships.  He had many single-artist exhibitions, his first in 1951 in Galerie Huit, Paris.

Altman studied at the Art Students League, New York; Black Mountain College, North Carolina (closed in 1957); Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, Paris France; and Cooper Union Art School, New York.  In 1962 he moved to Lemont, Pennsylvania, setting up his studio in an abandoned nineteenth-century church.  He produced his first lithographs at the age of twelve and honed the craft of lithographs for the next sixty-five years, producing over 1,200 unique editions of lithographs and etchings.  

For many years he had his own printing press and printed his own work.  Altman then began a long association with Atelier DesJobert and Atelier George LeBlanc to print his work in Paris.  During those years the artist would spend extended periods of time in Paris, which resulted in wonderful images of Paris and other European cities.  

The artist had many single-artist exhibitions throughout his long career including the Martha Jackson Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Peter Deitsch Gallery, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Art; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Milwaukee Art Center; Wustum Museum of Art, Wisconsin; National Academy of Art, Turkey; Kunsthandlung Goyert, Germany; Galleria Prova, Japan, and others.

His work can be found in most museum collections around the world including the Museum of Modern Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Brooklyn Museum of Art; National Gallery of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam; Kunstmuseum, Switzerland; Victoria and Albert Museum, England, and others. 

“As in any creative work, one doesn’t just arrive at something instantaneously; it’s a struggle. On every one of these drawings, I’ve had to struggle. I want everything to work in an image. Everything I do is a carefully-choreographed, architecturally-correct piece of work. A tree branch is not just a tree branch; it’s a movement that takes the eye and introduces it to other elements in the composition.” - Harold Altman, 1987