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Herman Cherry

American, 1909-1992


Herman Cherry

Cutoff, 1985-86

Oil on canvas
34 x 32 in
86.4 x 81.3 cm


Herman Cherry was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1909, and grew up in Philadelphia, where he studied art in a local settlement house. At the age of 15, he moved with his family to Los Angeles and dropped out of high school to work for 20th Century-Fox, designing blueprints for sets. In Los Angeles, he studied at the Otis Art Institute, and under Stanton MacDonald-Wright, and Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League. He also gave art lessons in Hollywood. In 1930, after working his way to Europe, Cherry hitchhiked to New York and studied at the Art Students League with Thomas Hart Benton. Cherry migrated back to Los Angeles by 1931 where he set up a gallery at the Stanley Rose Bookstore, and gave shows to Philip Guston, Reuben Kadish, Lorser Feitelson, and others. Cherry also did murals under the aegis of the WPA. Cherry was also a founder of the Artists' Union in Los Angeles. Moving more toward Abstraction, Cherry left the West Coast in 1945 and settled in Woodstock, NY. Two years later, he won acclaim with a show at the Weyhe Gallery in Manhattan. In the 1950's, Cherry’s painting took a decisive step toward total abstraction, and he showed at an array of New York galleries, including the Stable, the Poindexter and the Tanager. Cherry is most known for his Abstract Expressionist paintings that explore color fields and abstract, geometric forms. His works are in the collections of Guggenheim, Parish Art Museum, Walker Art Center, Brooklyn Museum, and in many corporate collections.