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Michael Mazur

Michael Mazur (b. 1935, New York, NY – d. 2009, Cambridge, MA) is internationally recognized for his paintings, drawings, and prints and for his fluidity between media. Mazur is unusual among artists in that he worked successfully in both abstract and representational imagery, influenced by elements of Impressionism, Abstract Expressionism, and early Chinese paintings. He was instrumental in the revival of the monotype in 20th-century art and renowned for his pastels, as well.

Heralded by the Boston Globe as one of the greatest painters and printmakers that New England produced in the last half of the 20th century, Mazur was actually born and raised in New York City. He moved to Massachusetts in 1953, receiving a BA from Amherst College. He later received his BFA and MFA from Yale University in 1959 and 1961, respectively. Mazur first exhibited in 1960, while teaching at RISD. His subsequent teaching job at Brandeis University, which began in 1965, lasted a decade.

His major prints series include Pond Edge, Wakeby Day/Night, The Inferno of Dante, and Closed Ward. His attention turned to sculpture briefly before his introduction to Edgar Degas’ monotypes at Harvard University’s Fogg Art Museum, which changed his focus to the medium he’s well known for today. Some of Mazur’s lyrical monotypes, which illustrated American poet laureate Robert Pinksy’s acclaimed 1994 translation of The Inferno of Dante, toured museums in the US in the latter half of the 1990s. The Inferno monotypes were exhibited at the Castelevecchio in Verona, Italy and at the American Academy in Rome in 2000. His later work shows the dominant role his personal expression played in rendering nature.

Mazur quickly gained notoriety in the early 1960s, receiving a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation award, and an American Academy of Arts and Letters fellowship in just two years. He was invited to represent the US in the 1975 Venice Biennale, but declined to participate in protest of the country’s foreign policy.

Mazur’s work is in numerous prominent museum collections, including the British Museum, UK; Cincinnati Art Museum, OH; Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; de Cordova Museum, Lincoln, MA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Art Institute of Chicago, IL; McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Museum of Modern Art, NY; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; Smith College, MA; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Yale University Art Gallery, CT; and Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, NJ.

Mazur has been included in solo and group exhibitions at RYAN LEE (2018), Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts (2018), de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara University (2017), Mead Art Museum, Amherst College (2017), deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum (2016), The Print Center, Philadelphia (2015), International Print Center of New York (2015) and the Boston Museum of Fine Art (2006). In 2000, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston held a retrospective, which later traveled to Stanford University Art Museum, the Jane Vorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. An accompanying catalogue was published by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Mary Ryan Gallery has held 14 solo exhibitions featuring Mazur’s work between 1990 and 2010.

Mazur’s paintings and original works are represented by RYAN LEE Gallery, New York.
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