Michael Mazur

Michael Mazur was an American artist whose work is collected in The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MOMA, The Whitney Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum.


The work of Michael Mazur has been featured in numerous solo and group painting, print, and drawing exhibitions, nationally and internationally, since 1958. Only those exhibitions significant to Mazur’s career as a printmaker are documented here. The artist’s complete gallery and museum exhibition history is maintained by his current dealers, Barbara Krakow Gallery in Boston and Mary Ryan Gallery in New York. The Archives of American Art has 10 1/4 hours of taped interviews with Mazur, conducted by Robert Brown in sessions between 12 January 1993 and 3 February 1995. The Archives has also microfilmed thirteen bound work journals and one loose sketchbook kept by the artist between 1 May 1974 and 3 March 1998.

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Prepares for upcoming exhibits in NY, Boston and Provincetown. NY exhibit to be held in Mary Ryan’s Chelsea gallery opening May 2. Boston exhibit to be 6 large paintings from the “War:” series opening in the Fall. Finishing prints for Merola exhibit in the summer. Working on wood cuts, etchings and lithographs.


Finishes “Headless” the last in the “War” series begun in 2007. Begins Rain series in the fall, Completes work for “I’ll Tell What I Saw” A boxed set of 13 digital prints of selected images from Dante’s Divine Comedy with translations by Robert Pinsky.


Begins large paintings for “War series”. Uses magnetic surfaces for vertical spray painting in acrylic.

Shows a retrospective of works on paper at Mary Ryan’s in NY. It includes works from 1958-the present.


Exhibition at the USC Fisher Gallery in Los Angeles is planned for the fall of ’06. Dante exhibit, currently managed by CATE in Pasadena and also scheduled for University of Vermont and the Buck’s County Community College in Pennsylvania will be accompanied by a second show of recent paintings at USC.


During a summer workshop at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mazur begins experimentation with stencils in his monotypes. His success with this encourages him to take the process into painting and eventually collage. Completes over 160 paintings and collages during 2004/05. Exhibits these at Mary Ryan in the fall of ‘05. Mazur still effected by Dermato-Myositis and undergoes a new angioplasty procedure.


An exhibit Recent paintings and works on Paper, organized by the Springfield, Missouri Art Museum opened in the fall just before Mazur went into the hospital for quadruple by-pass and also finds out about his having Dermato-Myositis, a rare auto-immune disease of the trunk muscles. Spent three weeks at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Mazur then spent the rest of the year and the spring of 2004 in recovery. Exhibited works from the previous year and summer at the Mary Ryan Gallery. Works mostly on small drawings until the summer of 2004 when he starts to paint again.


Exhibits several paintings in a three-person show, “Looking East”, at Boston University Art Gallery with Pat Steir and Brice Marden. The show shows the influence of Chinese and Japanese art on the three artists.

2000-02“The Prints of Michael Mazur” a traveling exhibit organized by Rutgers University at its Zimmerli museum began at the MFA Boston along with an exhibit of recent paintings. The Print retrospective traveled to Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Cantor Center, Stamford University, and ended at Rutgers.


“The Inferno of Dante” a series of 41 etchings and Text translated by Robert Pinsky, is exhibited for the first time at Castelvecchio, the Public Museum of Verona, Italy. The exhibition is the inugural of a show, which also traveled to The American Academy of Rome later that year and in early ’01. In Verona, during this year of the 700th anniversary of Dante’s poem–he dedicated the “Paradiso” to the Scalieri family lord in Verona known as “Cangrande”(Big Dog)– Mazur spoke at the opening ceremony and Robert Pinsky read from the text in its courtyard later that month. The exhibition was held in the same building built in the first decades of the 1300’s as the family’s castle and later used by Napoleon’s troops in the Veneto as an armory in the 19th Century and by Nazi armaments during the later part of WWII. It was bombed by the British and restored in the 1960’s by the famous Italian architect Carlo Scarpa into one of the most striking museums in Italy.

1998-99Collaborates on a set design for a staged adaptation of Dante’s Inferno, with script by Pinsky, performed at the Unterberg Poetry Center, 92nd Street YMCA, New York; completes commissions for large-scale digital prints on canvas for the Federal Reserve Bank, Boston, and the Swiss Bank Warburg Dillon Read, Stamford, Connecticut.


Is elected chair of the board of the Fine Arts Work Center; returns to Florence and Rome in the company of Dimitri and Cynthia Hadzi; collaborates on monotypes at Smith Andersen Editions, Palo Alto. Solo exhibition: Branching: The Art of Michael Mazur, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Massachusetts (travels to DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1998); group exhibition: Singular Impressions: The Monotype in America, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.


Is invited to join the Longpoint Gallery, a cooperative gallery in Provincetown founded by Robert Motherwell, Leo Manso, Sidney Simon, and others.


Is visiting critic, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, returning in 1996; begins teaching a summer workshop in monotype at the Fine Arts Work Center; group exhibition: The Herbert W. Plimpton Collection of Realist Art: 18th Annual Patrons and Friends Exhibition, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University.


In January, addresses the Massachusetts Board of Education at the statehouse to request increased support for arts in the public school system and to propose several approaches to arts in the core curriculum; during summer, collaborates with Townsend and guest artists Richard Rosenblum, Richard Baker, Paul Bowen, James Balla, George Marsh, and Varujan Baghosian at the New Provincetown Print Project; solo exhibition: Monotypes by Michael Mazur for the Inferno, University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City (travels through 1997 with Mazur and Pinsky giving lectures on their collaboration at eight venues).


In January, after coronary catheterization reveals heart disease, undergoes ballon angioplasty procedure; during the summer months, collaborates with Townsend and guest artists Eric Avery, Sue Coe, Sam Messer, and Joan Snyder at the New Provincetown Print Project; the resulting portfolio is published to jointly benefit the Fine Arts Work Center and the Provincetown AIDS Support Group; joins U.F.O. Gallery in Provincetown; granddaughter Rebecca is born to son Daniel and his wife Susan Chasen.


Begins collaboration with poet/translator Robert Pinsky, resulting in a series of monotype illustrations to accompany Pinsky’s translation of The Inferno of Dante (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994); in June and July, collaborates with Townsend and guest artists Jacqueline Humphries, Nathan Oliveira, Therese Oulton, and John Walker at the New Provincetown Print Project; is appointed to the board of trustees of the Fine Arts Work Center.


In June and July, collaborates with Townsend and guest artists Yvonne Jacquette, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Roberto Juarez,, and David True at the New Provincetown Print Project; solo exhibition: Reflected Self: Mazur Prints, Kansas City Art Institute, Missouri.


Founds the New Provincetown Print Project in conjunction with the Fine Arts Work Center; during summer, collaborates with master printer Robert Townsend and guest artists Mary Frank, George McNeil, Fred Sandback, and Gregory Gillespie on monoprint and monotype projects; at Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, attends weekly drawing and printmaking sessions with fellow faculty and teaching assistants, resulting in the continuing Harvard Evenings print series; solo exhibition: Michael Mazur: Color Prints, Mary Ryan Gallery, New York (also has solo exhibitions there in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999).


Spends winter and spring in Houston, where Gail is visiting associate professor in the Graduate Writing Program at the University of Houston; purchases summer house in Provincetown.


Mazur’s mother dies; travels to San Francisco to work at the Experimental Workshop on a series of silk monotype screens (colorplate); solo exhibitions: Michael Mazur: Paintings, Prints, Drawings, Monotypes, 1962-1988, Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota; Joe Fawbush Gallery, New York.


Begins collaboration with New York master printer Judith Solodkin on Wakeby Night edition; in May and June, travels to Suchow, Shanghai, and Beijing in China with Gail and artist friends, including Catherine Murphy, Harry Roseman, Marianna Pineda, and Richard Rosenblum; visits Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, and other cities and sites to study landscape and Chinese garden traditions; solo exhibition: Michael Mazur’s Self-Portraits, Joe Fawbush Gallery, New York; group exhibitions: The Monumental Image: Prints by Jennifer Bartlett, Chuck Close, Michael Mazur, Susan Rothenberg, Donald Sultan, Terry Winters, California State University, Northridge; Modern American Realism, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.


Designs screenprint poster for a Russell Sherman concert to benefit the nuclear weapons freeze campaign; begins spending part of each summer in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he and Gail Mazur are visiting critics at the Fine Arts Work Center.


Organizes Art for a Nuclear Weapons Freeze, a national traveling exhibition and benefit auction for the antinuclear campaign; his “Art for Arm’s Sake” satire is published by the New York Times on the Op-Ed page.


Serves as a member of the Pennell Committee at the Library of Congress until 1993, replacing Jim Dine; works first with Donald Saff and then with Yvonne Jacquette to select prints for the Library of Congress Pennell Print Collection; is guest teacher at Cornell University, SUNY Purchase, and University of Southern California, Los Angeles; sings in and designs a set based on Goya’s prisoner figures for the “El Salvador” oratorio concert by the Back Bay Chorale under the direction of conductor Larry Hill, which takes place at Harvard’s Sanders Theater on 18 May; exhibition Wakeby Day/Wakeby Night: Monumental Monotypes by Michael Mazur opens 11 March at the Hayden Gallery, MIT (colorplate 18), in conjunction with installation of Wakeby monotypes at the 500 Memorial Drive dormitory building.


Begins the Wakeby Day, Wakeby Night series of monumental monotypes, commissioned by MIT; creates monotype series to illustrate Richard Howard’s translation of Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire (Boston: David R. Godine, 1982); in spring semester, is guest teacher at Cornell University and at SUNY Purchase; in fall semester, teaches a class in the Graduate School of Art, Boston University; begins planning for the Artists for a Nuclear Weapons Freeze project that he co-directs with his Boston dealer Barbara Krakow; solo exhibitions: Smith Andersen Gallery, Palo Alto, California; The Cyclamen Dance Series (fig), Janus Gallery, Los Angeles; Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota; group exhibitions: Perspectives on Contemporary American Realism: Works on Paper from the Collection of Jalane and Richard Davidson, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; A Private Vision: Contemporary Art from the Graham Gund Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; A Close Look at the Human Figure in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans


Travels to Washington on 3 May for march to the Pentagon in protest of Reagan foreign policy; teaches at Yale Summer School of Music and Art; Mazurs build a summer home overlooking Wakeby Pond in Mashpee on Cape Cod after Gail Mazur’s family summer home there is destroyed by fire (1979); after dissolution of the Harcus-Krakow Gallery, continues regular exhibitions at the Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston (also 1984, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, and 1998); solo exhibitions: Rutgers University Art Gallery (now the Jane Vorhees Zimmerli Art Museum), New Brunswick, New Jersey (in conjunction with a large acquisition of the artist’s work); John Stoller Gallery, Minneapolis; Greenberg Gallery, St. Louis; Andrews Gallery, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia; group exhibition: American Prints: Process and Proofs, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


Meets Jim Dine and introduces him to monotype techniques; writes catalogue essay for The Painterly Print: Monotypes from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (travels to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1981); the monotype Window Sequence (Fire) (fig) is included in that exhibition; solo exhibition: Pace Editions, New York; group exhibitions: Aspects of the ’70’s: Directions in Realism, Danforth Museum, Framingham, Massachusetts; Three Decades, DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, Massachusetts; Realist Works on Paper, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.


Curates exhibition at MIT’s Hayden Gallery titled The Narrative Impulse, which opens on 16 November and includes the work of Mazur, Mary Frank, Robert Birmelin, and Irving Petlin; joins the Robert Miller Gallery, New York (exhibits the Stoneham Zoo series of paintings, drawings, monotypes, and pastels); group exhibitions: Grafica Contemporanea Americana, Galleria Bevilacqua, La Massa, Venice, Italy; Nouvelle Sujectivité, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Fifty American Works on Paper from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen D. Paine, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts.


In January, testifies before Senator John Brademas’s congressional committee regarding government support for individual artists; travels to France and Barcelona; at the request of the Gabo estate, documents and organizes ten portfolios of Gabo’s wood-engraving monoprints and writes article on Gabo’s monoprints for the Print Collector’s Newsletter special issue on monotype; on 11 December, is sworn in as a member of the Massachusetts State Art Council for a three-year term; is active in establishing the state’s “New Works” program and artists’ rights legislation.


Begins guest teaching printmaking classes at Harvard University, which continue regularly through 1997; works for the first time with master printer Robert Townsend, a relationship that continues today; group exhibitions: Print Biennial, National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C.; Wellesley Greenhouse: Janowitz, Kumler, Mazur, Wellesley College Museum of Art, Massachusetts; New England Works on Paper, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


In April, with Museum of Fine Arts print curators, visits Naum Gabo to view Gabo’s wood-engraving monoprints; solo exhibitions: Michael Mazur: Vision of a Draughtsman: A Twenty-Year Retrospective of Works on Paper, Brockton Art Center, Massachusetts (organized by Marylin Hoffman; travels to Middlebury College, Vermont; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington; and the jane Haslem Gallery, Washington, D.C.); Michael Mazur: Prints and Drawings, Widener Gallery, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut; group exhibitions: American Prints, 1913-1963, Museum of Modern Art, New York (travels); Thirty Years of American Printmaking, Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Figurative Tradition: Nine Artists and Their Prints, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts; America 1976: A Bicentennial Exhibition Sponsored by the Department of the Interior, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (travels through 1978).


Receives commission from the U.S. Department of the Interior to participate in a project and subsequent bicentennial-year traveling exhibition, America 1976, and in January goes to Ossabaw Island off the coast of Georgia to create a series of landscape oils, pastels, and monotypes (fig); in April is guest teacher at the College of Creative Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara; in July, teaches at the Yale Summer School of Music and Art; in November, travels in France, Austria, East Germany, and Holland, with particular interest in studying the landscape drawings of Pieter Brueghel; resigns from Brandeis University to devote full time to art; joins the Harcus-Krakow Gallery, Boston, and has regular solo exhibitions there; group exhibition: 60 Prints from 60 Years, Philadelphia Print Club.


Meets the artist Mary Frank and begins a long friendship that often includes joint work sessions; is appointed to the board of the Artists’ Foundation in Boston; joins the Terry Dintenfass Gallery, New York, and has regular solo exhibitions there; group exhibition: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


In spring semester, is visiting professor, Queens College, Flushing, New York; solo exhibition: Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York (paintings, prints, drawings, and sculpture); group exhibitions: Michael Mazur and Robert Birmelin, State University of New York, Cortlandt; Segundo Bienal Americana de Artes Graficas, Museo La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia.


Returns to Cambridge and purchases house on Walnut Avenue in the Porter Square neighborhood; converts carriage house into a studio (fig); in spring semester, is visiting professor at Yale University School of Art and Architecture; solo exhibition: “The Studio” and Other Works, 1969-70, Finch College Museum of Art, New York (a revised and expanded version of the 1970 show); group exhibition: Phases of New Realism, Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Florida


Group exhibition: Two Aspects of Illusion: Paul Gedeohn/Michael Mazur, Finch College Museum of Art, New York.


Mazur’s father dies; he moves family to New York City and rents living and studio space (figs) in the old Lord and Taylor Building at 901 Broadway that had formerly belonged to the sculptor Paul Manship; while in New York becomes active in the Arts Workers Coalition; is selected as one of the American artists to exhibit at the Venice Biennale, but subsequently withdraws in protest with several other artists as part of an antiwar boycott of American foreign policy; solo exhibition: “The Studio” and Other Works, 1969-70, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (environmental installations); group exhibition: Human Concerns, Personal Torment, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


Master printer and good friend George Lockwood dies in Boston; solo exhibition: Prints by Michael Mazur, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University; group exhibitions: Homage to Tamarind, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Prints of the 1960s, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Primero Biennale, Cali, Colombia; Big Prints, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Annual, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.


The Artist and the Model, a portfolio of twelve intaglio prints, is published by Sylvan Cole at Associated American Artists, New York; receives a Tamarind Artist Fellowship and travels to the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles, where he produces thirty-four editions of primarily black-and-white lithographs that continue the Artist and the Model theme; begins using the airbrush, which he had learned from the artist Billy Al Bengston while at Tamarind; sees the exhibition Edgar Degas: Monotypes at the Fogg Art Museum and subsequently begins making monotypes; in Boston co-founds Artists against Racism and the War and collaborates with Fred Stone on The American Way Room (fig), an antiwar installation piece that is shown throughout the Boston area and subsequently travels to New York, Atlanta, Syracuse, and Philadelphia; solo exhibitions: Associated American Artists, New York (The Artist and the Model); Comsky Gallery, Los Angeles; group exhibitions: Contemporary American Graphic Artists, Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (travels); New Expressions in Fine Printmaking, National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C. (travels in Germany and Belgium); 16th National Print Exhibition, Brooklyn Museum, New York; Annual Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Graphics ’68: Recent American Prints, University of Lexington, Kentucky.


Group exhibitions: Prints of Two Countries, Italy-America, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia; The Helen W. and Robert M. Benjamin Collection, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven.


Group exhibitions: 15th National Print Exhibition, Brooklyn Museum, New York; Annual Exhibition: Sculpture and Prints, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


Moves to Fuller Place in Cambridge; completes the Images from a Locked Ward portfolio of fourteen lithographs (figs), which are printed at Impressions Workshop in Boston with images based on the Closed Ward etching series; begins teaching at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, where he remains for the next ten years, except for a two-year leave to work in New York in 1970-71; is active in university politics and in the peace movement; solo exhibitions: Alpha Gallery, Boston (also 1969 and 1974); group exhibitions: A Decade of American Drawings, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Young Americans: 35 Artists under 35, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Print Biennial of the Americas, Santiago, Chile.


Receives a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation; moves family to Arlington Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for the year of his Guggenheim grant; though still drawing and experimenting with printmaking, his main activity is in making sculpture (fig); receives an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and subsequently has a small solo exhibition in New York in conjunction with the award; solo exhibitions: Boris Mirski Gallery, Boston (also 1966); Philadelphia Print Club; Silvermine Guild of Artists, New Canaan, Connecticut; group exhibitions: Painters and Sculptors as Printmakers, Museum of Modern Art, New York; 14th National Print Exhibition, Brooklyn Museum, New York.


Teaches at the Yale summer school of Music and Art; exhibits first Closed Ward prints and drawings at the Providence Art Club, where several works are purchased by the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, Cambridge, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; group exhibitions: 19th Annual Print Exhibition, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; National Print Exhibition, Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Memphis, Tennessee.


Receives Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant; group exhibitions: 13th National Print Exhibition, Brooklyn Museum, New York; Boston Printmakers, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


In spring of his last semester at Yale, assists sculptor Naum Gabo for three months in printing two editions of etchings; Gabo shows Mazur the wood-engraved monoprints he is printing by hand; receives M.F.A., School of Art and Architecture, Yale University; begins teaching printmaking, life drawing, and anatomy at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; daughter Kathe is born in Providence; solo exhibition: Jill Kornblee Gallery, New York (also 1963 and 1966).


First solo exhibition: Barone Gallery, New York (prints, drawings, and sculpture [fig. 68]); group exhibitions: 18th National Print Exhibition, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; 12th National Print Exhibition, Brooklyn Museum, New York.


Receives B.F.A. from Yale University; son Daniel is born in New Haven.


B.A., Amherst College; creates An Image of Salomé for his senior thesis project, which is published by the artist and printed at Apiary Press, run by Baskin’s students at Smith College; meets and becomes good friends with Baskin’s assistant George Lockwood, who would later found Impressions Workshop in Boston; marries Gail Beckwith (later, the poet Gail Mazur), who was then a student at Smith College; begins graduate study at School of Art and Architecture, Yale University, New Haven; studies with Gabor Peterdi, Bernard Chaet, William Bailey, Rico Lebrun, Sewell Sillman, Neil Welliver, art historian Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann, and Asian-art historian Nelson Wu, as well as with visiting artists Fairfield Porter and John Scheuler; makes regular Thursday trips with other students to Peterdi’s home/studio; works as a teaching assistant for both Peterdi and Bailey.


Takes a year off from studies at Amherst to live in Italy; takes drawing classes at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence; studies the work of Renzo Vespignani and other Italian neorealists as well as the Italian old masters; learns Italian; while in Florence, visits the studio of American sculptor Bernard Reder; buys his first prints, which include works by Georges Rouault, Käthe Kollwitz, Rodolphe Bresdin, and illustrations from the German periodical Die Stürm; on his return to the U.S., reads Dante’s Divine Comedy in the original Italian.


Under reciprocal arrangement between Amherst and Smith College, takes classes from Smith faculty member Leonard Baskin; in the summer of his sophomore year, works as an intern in the New York architectural offices of Ely Jacques Kahn and Robert Jacobs and also attends Yale Summer School of Music and Art, Norfolk, Connecticut.


Born Michael Burton Mazur on 2 November 1935 at Doctor’s Hospital in New York, the only child of Burton and Helen (Isaacs) Mazur; spends summers at boys’ camps in Maine; attends the Lincoln School in Manhattan and the Horace Mann School, located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx; while still in high school, spends Saturdays in 1949-50 assisting the artist Alan Ullman in his Greenwich Village studio and taking painting classes with Morris Davidson; high school art club friends include the art critic Henry Geldzahler and the artist/cartoonist Ed Koren, with whom Mazur worked on the school literary magazine, Manuscript.