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Don EdelmanUntitled Portrait of a Woman
Untitled portrait of a woman by Don Edelman. Oil on board, circa 1980. Dimensions are of painting itself without frame. Artist Biography: DON EDELMAN (1925–2011) Don Edelman was born in Bowie, Texas. Spending most of his childhood in Amarillo, he began creating art at a young age. Starting out by copying Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Edelman learned that drawing was an approved and fun activity, incorporating that joy into much of his artistic process. Edelman studied art at Washington University in St. Louis where he finished at the top of his graduating class. Reflecting on his studies, Edelman attributed his subsequent successes to the talent of Washington University’s staff, which included Fred Connelly and the famed German Expressionist Max Beckmann. Edelman mentioned that he had a very diverse faculty who instructed him in the ways of abstract art, traditional Renaissance-type art, and spectacular training in color. Edelman went on to study at the University of Illinois but, after graduating, discovered that prospects for a career artist were quite grim. In his spare time, he made frames and sold encyclopedias, eventually receiving a position with Cameron Iron Works in Houston to create their industrial advertising. Though a steady job, it did not prove agreeable to him and Edelman eventually quit, later recalling that if he wanted to be an artist, he better get on with it. He began painting professionally and gained a following in the Houston area. Edelman explained that his art was a way of sharing with other people what he has seen, pointing out things that are interesting to him. He was essentially a realist who enhanced his compositions with subtle strangeness, aiming for something he himself dubbed “whimsical Surrealism.” Challenging to classify, his works were always different from the imitative productions of contemporary Surrealists. Edelman mentioned that to him, each painting was a rebellion against the previous one, that he could never tell where he would get an idea from. The creation of his art was, at its core, a process of endless revision and experimentation.
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