* 1903 New York
† 1974 Easthampton, New York
Along with his friends Marc Rothko and Clifford Still, the painter, graphic artist and sculptor Adolph Gottlieb counts among the luminaries of Abstract Expressionism of the New York School.
Adolph Gottlieb was born in New York in 1903, where he also studied under Robert Henri and John Sloan at the Arts Students League between 1919 and 1921 and in 1923/24. His studies were interrupted by a sojourn in Paris at the Académie de la Grand Chaumière and the New York Parsons School of Design. From 1927 to 1929 Adolph Gottlieb gained additional experience at the Educational Alliance Art School.
Adolf Gottlieb became a close friend of Marc Rothko during his studies, who did not only accompany him on his journeys, but who also was a source of inspiration for his artistic development. From an early point on he would follow the path of abstraction: In 1935 Adolph Gottlieb was co-founder of "The Ten", a group with a respective common tendency.
But Adolf Gottlieb, who lived in the desert near Tucson/Arizona between 1937 and 1939, still stuck to figuration up until the end of the 1930s. His still lives eventually marked Adolph Gottlieb's rejection of representational painting.
In 1940 Adolph Gottlieb founded the "Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors". It was in those days that Adolph Gottlieb conceived his "Pictographs", which reference Paul Klee and Native American Art just as much as they incorporate ideas of the "Collective Unconscious" after Carl Gustav Jung: The image surface is parsed into individual fields with symbols. In the 1950s Adolf Gotlib developed this method and created the grid structures called "Labyrinths", soon he attained color field painting. The famous Color Fields by Adolph Gottlieb differ from works by Marc Rothko in terms of their associative symbolic imagery, the usage of "cosmic" circles is an example thereof.
In the late 1960s Adolph Gottlieb was also active as sculptor. His three-dimensional works, with the interplay of forms as their central theme, are equal to those by David Smith.
Among the numerous honors that Adolf Gottlieb has received, the Grand Prize of the 7th São Paulo Biennale (1963) must be mentioned just as Adolph Gottlieb's honorary membership of the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1972). His works are represented at renowned international museums like the London Tate Modern or the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
In 1974 Adolph Gottlieb died in Easthampton, where he settled in 1960.