Joseph Wolins (American, 1915–1999)
Born in 1915 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Joseph Wolins initially studied art at New York City’s National Academy of Design in 1935 under Leon Kroll. However, his greatest artistic influences came from the opportunity to study in Europe in 1937. There he became particularly influenced by the works of the Italian Renaissance painters Piero della Francesca and Giotto. That travel also afforded him the unique opportunity to study the then-contemporary European art exhibited at Paris’s 1937 Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (International Exposition Dedicated to Art and Technology in Modern Life). Among the modern works being exhibited, for the first time, at that Paris exposition were Picasso’s Guernica, Calder’s Mercury Fountain, and Fernand Léger’s The Transfer of Forces.
Upon returning home to the New York area, Wolins became associated with the Works Progress Administration Federal Arts Project of 1935–1941 (WPA). While the art of the WPA era is frequently associated with traditional regional views and social realist imagery, such as the shantytowns of the Great Depression, Wolins’s approach typically involved experimentation with aspects of Cubism, Impressionism, and Modernism, obviously inspired by his time abroad. In the following years Wolins had numerous one-man shows and participated in many group shows, receiving honors and awards along the way.
Joseph Wolins died on November 3, 1999, in New York. His paintings and drawings appear frequently at auction, and his work is well represented in the permanent collections of museums worldwide, including the Smithsonian, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum, and the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio.
This portrait was acquired by the owner through a family member and is more figurative than most of his known body of work. This calm beauty would carry an estimate of $200 to $300 at auction.
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