Al Held
Al Held was born on October 12, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in New York City during the Great Depression. His first introduction to art did not occur until 1947 when he was convinced by a friend to join the Art Students League of New York. Soon after, he enrolled at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris to professionally study art and returned to New York following his graduation. Held’s career grew quickly as several early solo and group exhibitions were highly praised by critics such as Irving Sandler. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1966 taught at the Yale College of Art from 1963 to 1980. Al Held’s style changed repeatedly throughout his career. After initially returning to New York, Held fell under the sway of abstract expressionism, which was the dominate style of the time. However, the artist quickly grew tired of this movement and developed his most iconic style, often referred to as Hard Edge paintings, which dominated his art during the 1960s. In addition to painting, Held also created prints and completed several public commissions in New York, Orlando, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia. Solo exhibitions of his work were held at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1966); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC (1968); ICA, Philadelphia (1968); Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (1969); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1974); and ICA, Boston (1978). A trip to Rome during the 1980s had a deep impact on the artist, and the city’s eclectic mix of architectural styles informed the art of Held’s later years. Held died in Todi, Italy in 2005. Al Held’s style changed repeatedly throughout his career. After initially returning to New York, Held fell under the sway of abstract expressionism, which was the dominate style of the time. However, the artist quickly grew tired of this movement and developed his most iconic style, often referred to as Hard Edge paintings, which dominated his art during the 1960s. In addition to painting, Held also created prints and completed several public commissions in New York, Orlando, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia. Solo exhibitions of his work were held at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1966); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC (1968); ICA, Philadelphia (1968); Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (1969); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1974); and ICA, Boston (1978). A trip to Rome during the 1980s had a deep impact on the artist, and the city’s eclectic mix of architectural styles informed the art of Held’s later years. Held died in Todi, Italy in 2005.