Abraham Walkowitz in his studio with paintings

Abraham Walkowitz

United States 1878 - 1965

Painting, Drawing, Modernism

Abraham Walkowitz
Abraham Walkowitz
United States
February 7, 2016

Abraham Walkowitz was a Russian-American Modernist painter, best-known for his series of watercolors depicting Isadora Duncan, a pioneer of modern dance. Apart for his drawings of Duncan, the artist is also known for his other watercolors depicting contemporary settings like city streets and beaches. Walkowitz managed to transpose the distinctive features of his Dance series – dynamic energy and movement – onto his other works.

Freedom of movement is shown in Isadora Duncan watercolors

Abraham Walkowitz - Isadora Duncan, ca. 1910
Abraham Walkowitz – Isadora Duncan, ca. 1910

Born in 1878 in Siberia, Russia to Jewish parents, Walkowitz immigrated with his mother to the US in his early childhood. Raised in the States, Abraham studied at the National Academy of Design in New York City. He went on with his education, attending the Académie Julian in Paris. He stayed in Europe for a year, in 1906-1907.

During this period, Walkowitz met Isadora Duncan in Auguste Rodin’s studio. Duncan, who was credited as the inventor of modern dance, captured Abraham’s attention soon afterwards, when he saw her dance dressed in free-flowing costumes with her hair loose and her feet bare. The artist was captivated by her naturalism and her sense of rhythm.

This encounter marked the beginning of a relationship spanning the next three decades in which Walkowitz made a series of more than 5,000 drawings of the famous dancer. Duncan is credited with launching modern dance at the same time that visual artists on both sides of the Atlantic were seeking new directions.

Abraham Walkowitz - Isadora Duncan, ca. 1915
Abraham Walkowitz – Isadora Duncan, ca. 1915

Upon his return to New York, Walkowitz became associated with other artist and joined photographer Alfred Stieglitz’s avant-garde 291 Gallery. Originally named the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession, the 291 Gallery was a place where the forerunners of modern art in America gathered.

Apart from Isadora Duncan watercolors, Walkowitz also painted everyday scenes

Abraham Walkowitz - Coney Island, monotype, 1908
Abraham Walkowitz – Coney Island, 1908

He was a part of the ground-breaking 1913 Armory Show, and his works have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art – MOMA in New York and many galleries, art venues and museums internationally.

His works are now represented by Puccio Fine Art.

Abraham Walkowitz died in New York in 1965, aged 86.

All images copyright © the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
1959Works: 1895-1932Zabriskie Gallery, NYSolo
1958A Decade of American Cubist Painting, 1913-1923Zabriskie Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1957The City: 1900-1930Zabriskie Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1944One Hundred Artists and WalkowitzBrooklyn MuseumGroup
1939Paintings, Drawings and Prints, 1900-1934Brooklyn MuseumSolo
1930Isadora Duncan par A. WalkowitzGalerie Brummer, ParisSolo
1920Group ShowGalleries of Societe AnonymeGroup
1917Interpretation of the Dances of Isadora DuncanDaniel Gallery, NYSolo
1917Group Show291 Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1916Group ShowAnderson GalleriesGroup
1916Group Show291 Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1915Group Show291 Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1914Group Show291 Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1913Group Show291 Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1913The Armory ShowNew York, NYGroup
1912Abraham Walkowitz291 Gallery, New York, NYSolo
1911Group Show291 Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1909Group Show291 Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1907Abraham WalkowitzJulius Haas’s frame shopSolo