Painter and sculptor Adolph Gottlieb (American, 1903–1974) was a prominent member of the abstract artists from the New York School. As a teenager, he attended the Art Students League of New York, and, at the age of 18, decided to travel to Europe, taking classes at the famously progressive Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris.

When Gottlieb returned to New York City in the 1930s, he became a member of a group of New York painters called The Ten. This group was formed in 1935, and many of its members would later be known as Abstract Expressionist or Color Field painters. When Gottlieb moved to the Arizona desert in the late 1930s, he began incorporating symbolic elements into uniform landscapes, influenced by Surrealism. In the 1940s, Gottlieb returned to New York City, and remained in contact with Surrealist artists, working with universal symbols throughout the 1940s and 1950s in his Pictographs, viewing these visual symbols as a parallel to written language. In the 1950s, Gottlieb worked on Imaginary Landscapes, a series of paintings representing a general sense of foreground and background rather than a particular landscape. Gottlieb’s later works include his Burst Paintings, in which the artist explored the relationships between two opposite forms, a motif he explored in sculptures at the same time, such as in the work Petaloid from the late 1960s.

Gottlieb continued painting after having a stroke in 1970, and, two years later, was named a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. His work has been exhibited internationally since the 1950s, including exhibitions at documenta II in 1959 in Kassel, Germany, as well as two 1968 retrospectives, at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Gottlieb was also known as a political figure, and participated in protests questioning political decisions in the contemporary art world.


Born in New York, NY
Enrolled at the Art Students League, where he studied painting with John Sloan, New York, NY
Attended sketch classes at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and visited the Louvre Museum daily, Paris, France
Studied at Parsons School of Design, Art Students League, Cooper Union and the Educational Alliance Art School
Awarded joint prize in the Dudensing National Competition
Became a founding member of "The Ten," a group devoted to expressionist and abstract painting
Worked in the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project’s easel painting division
Lived in the Arizona desert, near Tucson, AZ
Won U.S. Treasury sponsored nationwide mural competition
Returned to New York, NY
Awarded First Prize, Brooklyn Society of Artists, Annual Exhibition
President of the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors
Received purchase prize, University of Illinois, Contemporary American Painting
Taught at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn and at the University of California, Los Angeles, CA
Awarded Third Prize, Pittsburg International Exhibition, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA
Awarded Grand Premio, VII Bienal de Sao Paolo, Brazil
Received the the American Academy of Achievement award, Dallas, TX
Studio and contents destroyed by fire
Appointed to Art Commission, New York, NY
Suffered a stroke; confined to wheel-chair, left side paralyzed, continued painting
Elected member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters
Died in New York, NY


Le Grand Geste, Sammlung Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany
Artists of the Gallery, Adolph Gottlieb, Charles Pollock, Richard Pousette-Dart, American Contemporary Art Gallery, Munich, Germany
Adolph Gottlieb Retrospective, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy
Adolph Gottlieb, Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern, Germany (solo)
Peggy Guggenheim e la nuova pittura Americana, ARCA, Ex-Chiesa di San Marco, Vercelli, Italy
Adolph Gottlieb, Musée d´Art Moderne et d`Art Contemporain Nice, Nice, France (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb, PaceWildenstein, New York, USA (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb, American Contemporary Art Gallery, Munich, Germany (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb: Early Prints, Art Museum of the University of Memphis, Memphis, USA (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb: Prints 1933–1946, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, USA (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb: Early Prints from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, USA (solo)
Gottlieb Escultor, Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, Palma de Mallorca, Spain (solo)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Fifty Years of American Art, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco
Ecole de New York, Le Musée d'art moderne et d'art contemporain, Nice, France
Adolph Gottlieb, American Contemporary Art Gallery, Munich, Germany (solo)
Action Painting-Arte Americana 1940-1970, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, Modena, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy
Adolph Gottlieb: Pictographs 1941-1951 PaceWildenstein, New York, USA (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb 1960s paintings, Galería Elvira González, Madrid, Spain (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Stanford, USA (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb: Early Paintings and Works on Paper, Valerie Carberry Gallery, Chicago, USA (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb: A Survey Exhibition, Jewish Museum, New York, USA (solo)
Vertical Moves: The Paintings of Adolph Gottlieb, PaceWildenstein, New York, USA (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb, American Contemporary Art Gallery, Munich, Germany (solo)
Gottlieb - Monotipos, Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, Cuenca, Spain; Museu d´Art Espanyol Contemporani (Fundación Juan March), Palma de Mallorca, Spain (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb: Retrospektive, Von der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal, Germany (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb, Fundación Juan March, Madrid, Spain (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb: A Survey of Prints, 1940-1974, Greenfield Sacks Gallery, Santa Monica, USA (solo)
Conrad Marca-Relli, Institut Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt, Germany
Adolph Gottlieb: Works on Paper, 1966 - 1973, Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb: A Retrospective, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (solo)
Adolph Gottlieb: 1903-1974, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (solo)
Retrospective, Whitney Museum of American Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (solo)
Works: 1895-1932, Zabriskie Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
A Decade of American Cubist Painting, 1913-1923, Zabriskie Gallery, New York, USA
The City: 1900-1930, Zabriskie Gallery, New York, USA
Introduction a la Peintures Moderne Americaine, Galerie Maeght, Paris, France
One Hundred Artists and Walkowitz, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, USA
Adolph Gottlieb: Paintings, Artists Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
Paintings, Drawings and Prints, 1900-’34, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, USA
Newark Museum, Newark, USA (solo)
New York Public Library, New York, USA (solo)
Exhibition Commemorative des Dessins: Isadora Duncan par A. Walkowitz, Galerie Brummer, Paris, France
Dudensing Galleries, New York, USA
Galleries of Societe Anonyme, Paris, France
The Armory Show, second exhibition, Gallery 291, New York, USA
Gallery 291, New York, USA

Public Collections

UAM - University Art Museum, Long Beach, CA
MOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, WI
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, NY
Grey Art Gallery, NYU, New York, NY
MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, MO
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
Boise Art Museum BAM, Boise, ID
MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA
Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA
Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX
Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell, IA
Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, TX
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO
Musée d´art contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada
Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran, Iran
Irish Museum of Modern Art - IMMA, Dublin, Ireland
Museum of Art, Ein Harod, Ein Harod, Israel
Berardo Museum - Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art, Lisbon, Portugal
Tate Britain, London, UK
Tate Modern, London, UK
Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX


Adolph Gottlieb. New York: Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, 2006
Adolph Gottlieb, Pictographs. New York: Knoedler & Company, 1998 (catalogue)
Alloway, Lawrence. Adolph Gottlieb: A Retrospective. Manchester, VT: Hudson Hills Press, 1995 (catalogue)