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Herbert Ferber

American, 1906-1991


Herbert Ferber

Caligraph, 1966

9 1/4 x 4 x 3 in
23.5 x 10.2 x 7.6 cm


Herbert Ferber was born Herbert Ferber Silvers in New York City in 1906. He began his independent artistic studies in New York in 1926 at evening classes at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, while attending Columbia University Dental School. In 1930, he attended the National Academy of Design, and that summer he was awarded a scholarship to work at The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation in Oyster Bay, NY. Herbert Ferber was friendly with Adolph Gottlieb, Mark Rothko, and David Smith; Ferber was influenced early on in his art career by Henry Moore. Ferber received his dentistry degree in 1930 and he maintained two careers until the 1950s as An Abstract Expressionist sculptor and dentist. Herbert Ferber frequented Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of this Century Gallery, Kootz Gallery, Betty Parsons Gallery, and Stable Gallery; he was a Charter member of the Club. Ferber made open, airy forms that, as he put it, "pierced" space rather than displaced it. Herbert Ferber also created one of the first environmental sculptures intended for people to walk through. Ferber was also influenced by Surrealism. His works were full of expressive movement, suggesting figures in flight, plant and animal life, the shapes of bones and fossils. Often, Ferber’s forms were confined in cage-like constructions. Ferber was also an accomplished painter, his canvases taking the form of sculpture-like reliefs on which he painted abstract motifs. Ferber later taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, Yale, and Rice. Herbert Ferber’s works are collected and exhibited by MoMA, Whitney, Guggenheim, Smithsonian, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan.