Chaim Gross Catalogue
Chaim Gross
Biography
1904
Born on March 17th in the village of Wolowa, Galicia, East Austria, tenth child Moses Gross, lumber merchant, and wife, Leah (Sperber).
1911
Family moves to Kolomyia.
1915-1918
After escaping from Kolomyia, is briefly conscripted by the Austrian army with brother Avrom-Leib as a laborer. They later escape and rejoin their family. The family are refugees with thousands of others.
1919-1920
In 1919 Gross goes to Vienna, then Budapest, where he wins a scholarship to art school. In Budapest Gross studies with Bela Uitz. In 1920 the new Romanian government orders all foreigners deported. Imprisoned and then deported to Austria. Attends Kunstgewerbeschule (now known as the University of Applied Art) in Vienna.
1921
Arrives in New York City with his brother Avrom-Leib.
1921-1927
Attends Educational Alliance Art School on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Becomes friends with Moses and Raphael Soyer, Peter Blume, Adolph Gottlieb, Ben Shahn and Barnett Newman.
1922-1925
Attends classes at Beaux-Arts Institute of Design at Lexington and 76th St. where Elie Nadelman is his teacher occasionally. Works for a grocer delivering groceries during the day in return for room, board and a small salary. Attends Beaux-Arts classes in the afternoon and Educational Alliance classes in the evening.
1927
Concentrates on direct carving of stone and wood sculpture. Enrolls at The Art Students League where he studies under Robert Laurent. Begins teaching at Educational Alliance Art School, where he continues to teach for more than 50 years.
1928
Two sculptures, Rabbits and Acrobats, are included in the First Annual Sculpture Exhibition of the Whitney Studio Club. Robert Laurent, John Flannagan and Gertrude Whitney are among others in the show.
1930
Gross moves from his small E. 14th St. studio to a larger one at 63 E. 9th St., New York City.
1932
First solo exhibition, Gallery 144. The exhibition consisted of 31 sculptures, some on loan. They are Gross' agents, as well as agents for Milton Avery, Ben Benn, Moses Soyer and Ahron Ben-Shmuel and others. Marries Renee Nechin.
1933
Awarded Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship. Works in their studios on Long Island, carves in wood and makes athletic figures in plaster.
Included in the first Whitney Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Sculpture, Watercolors and Prints at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City. Shows sculpture Tight Rope Dancer.
1934
Becomes an American citizen and joins the New Deal's Federal Arts Project.
1935
Handlebar Riders acquired by The Museum of Modern Art, New York City.
Son Yehudah Gross born.
1939
For two months, works in public, carving Ballerina at the American Art Today pavilion at the New York World's Fair, arranged by New York City WPA Art Project. Eleanor Roosevelt attends the opening day of the carving exhibition. Around 80,000 people see him carving during the two months. After the demonstration, it is allocated by the WPA to the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
1940
Brother Pincus (Pinie) killed by Nazis in Vienna. Sister Sarah and her family are killed sometime in 1943.
Daughter Mimi Gross born.
1941
Metropolitan Museum of Art purchases Girl on Wheel.
1942
Gross wins the Second Prize for Sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Artists for Victory exhibition. The $3,000 prize was for the ebony sculpture Lillian Leitzel, a portrait of the famous circus performer. It is later acquired by the Met.
1948
Begins teaching at the New School for Social Research, New York City.
1949
One of five finalists in competition sponsored by the Jewish Museum, New York City for a work In Memoriam to Six Million Jews in Europe. Sketches by finalists are exhibited at the museum.
Makes first trip to Israel and attends the opening exhibition of the Tel Aviv Museum displaying the work by American artists he helped solicit. Gross makes the trip to attempt to sketch Israeli President Weizmann, but is not able to meet with him. Buys African art in Paris and sends some of it to the U.S. with a friend in July. Also visits Istanbul, Paris, Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Book Chaim Gross, Sculptor by Josef Lombardo of Queens College published by Dalton House. The book includes a catalog raisonné of Gross' sculpture up to that point.
1951-1953
Museum of Modern Art, New York City, organizes through their Education Program a traveling exhibition of 30 larger than life sized photographs of Gross carving sculpture which travels to colleges and universities around the country.
1953
With 44 other artists forms The Group, an artists' association. They publish a newsletter called "Reality." Other members were Milton Avery, Philip Evergood, Edward Hopper, Henry Varnum Poor and the Soyers.
A dinner is held at the Educational Alliance to honor Gross' 25 years of teaching.
1957
Works in Rome for four months at a studio on Via Margutta. Pieces are later cast in bronze by Nicci art foundry and the Seta Foundry. Work is commissioned by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. While casting is taking place Gross travels to Amsterdam, Paris and London. In London visits Jacob Epstein.
1959
Whitney Museum exhibition Four American Expressionists: Doris Caesar, Chaim Gross, Karl Knaths, Abraham Rattner. The exhibition travels to New Hampshire, Colorado, Ohio and Texas.
Lives in Rome, sculpting, meeting Italian artists. Spends time with de Kooning, who is also in Rome and gives Gross a painting. Also travels to France, Holland and Israel. Visits with his old teacher Robert Laurent at the American Academy in Rome. Laurent is working on a monumental fountain sculpture for the University of Indiana at the time. Travels around Italy with Renee and daughter Mimi. They spend Christmas in Sicily.
1963
Receives Award of Merit for Sculpture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, given only once every five years. Peter Blume presents the award. There is a prize of $1,000 with award.
1964
Renee and Chaim Gross have a reception for the wedding of Mimi Gross and Red Grooms at their home on LaGuardia Place.
1969
Travels through West Africa and Spain.
1973
The Ten Commandments, bronze plaques mounted on wood panels (made between 1970-72) are installed in the International Synagogue of the John F. Kennedy Airport. A book is published with commentary on the commandments by Dr. Israel Mowshowitz.
1976
October 27th is proclaimed Chaim Gross Day by Manhattan Borough President Percy E. Sutton and receives a certificate of appreciation from Mayor Abraham D. Beame at a ceremonial dinner in his honor at the Educational Alliance.
The Sculptor's Eye: The African Art Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Chaim Gross is at the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA. Afterwards it travels to the Cincinnati Museum of Art and the University of Georgia Museum.
Donates 38 items of African Art to the Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C.
1978
Attends reception in honor of Meyer Schapiro, the art historian, at Columbia University. In 1974 Gross contributed a sculpture to help establish the Meyer Schapiro chair at Columbia.
1981
Is inducted as a member of the Jewish Academy of Arts and Sciences at the annual Convocation held at the New York Academy of Medicine.
1982
Donates 59 items of Ndebele Art to the National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C.
1983
Receives the Ateret Tiferet Award from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, based in New York City.
1991
Dies on May 5th at Beth Israel Hospital, New York City. Buried at Mount Lebanon Cemetery, Queens, New York.
1992
The Family is placed in the Bleecker Street Sitting Area in a dedication in honor of outgoing Mayor Edward Koch.
1994
Memorial Exhibition of sculpture and drawings at Forum Gallery.
Official opening reception of the Chaim Gross Studio Museum, 526 Laguardia Place, New York City.
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