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Ethel Schwabacher

American, 1903-1984


Ethel Schwabacher

Untitled, 1947

Oil on canvas
9 x 12 in
22.9 x 30.5 cm


Ethel Kremer Schwabacher was born in New York in 1903 to Jewish attorney parents. She madeher first paintings in the garden of her parent’s home at the early age of five. After attending the prestigious Horace Mann School, she enrolled in the Art Students League at the age of 15. She also studied sculpture for a year at the National Academy of Design. Schwabacher turned to painting in the late 1920s after a series of traumas transformed her life. She studied with Max Weber and had her first encounter with Arshile Gorky. Ethel met and married Wolf Schwabacher, an attorney whose clients included important creative and literary figures. Schwabacher renewed her friendship with Gorky in the mid-1930s as they became close friends. Schwabacher had four shows in the 1950s at Betty Parsons Gallery. She was also friends with many of the top Abstract Expressionist painters including Willem de Kooning, Richard Pousette-Dart, and Kenzo Okada. Her work is in the collections of Metropolitan, Whitney,Guggenheim Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and Jewish Museum.