BOSTON, MA.- David Aronson: A Retrospective will showcase the life's work of David Aronson, an artist and teacher who has remained an influential force in the development of the arts in Boston for over fifty years. A leader in the nationally recognized Boston Expressionist group of the 1940s-1950s, Aronson has spent a lifetime producing monumental narrative works and has won international acclaim for his visual interpretation of themes from the Hebrew Talmud and Cabala.
Often using the ancient encaustic technique of painting with molten wax, Aronson's luminous paintings explore subjects derived from Old Testament, New Testament, and mystical religious and humanist themes. He brings these figures to life, animating them with a combination of fervor and wit. In the 1960s, when he was already a mature artist in his late thirties, Aronson began sculpting figures in bronze. This exhibition features the artist's early encaustics, bronze sculptures, as well as pastels, oil pastels, and oil paintings on canvas.
Born in Shilova, Lithuania in 1923, Aronson immigrated to the United States when he was six years old. As a youth, he studied at the Beth-El Hebrew School in Dorchester, and later at the Hebrew College in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Aronson formalized his art training at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where he studied with an impressive group of students under the innovative, German-born artist and teacher Karl Zerbe. Aronson received his diploma from the Museum School in 1946, and taught there until 1955, when he was invited by Boston University to direct the emerging visual arts program for their School of Fine and Applied Arts (now the College of Fine Arts). He developed a foundation program that emphasized draftsmanship and technique. In 1958, he established the Boston University Art Gallery, and in 1962, Aronson was appointed a full Professor of Art. He remained on faculty at Boston University until 1989, and currently holds the distinction of Professor Emeritus of Art. David Aronson: A Retrospective opens during the College of Fine Arts' 50 th Anniversary celebration.
Aronson's first solo exhibition was in 1945 at the Niveau Gallery in New York, followed in 1946 by a one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. That same year he won the Purchase Prize at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Biennial and exhibited his work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Despite his national success, Aronson initially found it difficult to gain acceptance for his work in Boston. It was not until 1951, six years after his first solo show in New York, that he was given a solo exhibition in Boston at the Boris Mirski Gallery on Newbury Street. He was awarded First Prize at the Boston Arts Festival in 1952 and Grand Prize in 1954.
His reputation as an internationally recognized painter and sculptor was quickly established and his work has continued to be exhibited with numerous solo exhibitions at the Boris Mirski Gallery and the Pucker Gallery in Boston, as well as exhibitions in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Aronson has received numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1960, election as Academician at the National Academy of Design in New York in 1970, and more recently an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hebrew College in 1993. His work is represented in over forty museums worldwide. Most recently, the Museo Sefardi in Toledo, Spain acquired a pastel and several sculptures and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem added a large early charcoal drawing to its collection. David Aronson resides with his wife, the painter Georgianna Nyman, in Sudbury, Massachusetts, and is represented by the Pucker Gallery in Boston and Galerie Yoram Gil in Los Angeles.