Arthur Polonsky

Arthur Polonsky (June 6, 1925 – April 4, 2019) was a symbolic painter, draughtsman and educator, known for his explorations of light, water, flight and similarly lyrical motifs that, in esoteric and unsettling ways, alluded to myth, fantasy, music, the Bible, or the poetry of Symbolist and Modernist poets following Rimbaud and Rilke. "The dialogue in the company of color, texture and subject is always alive" the late artiste Barbara Swan Fink says of his work. His drawings, in particular, "have the objection of a direct confession to a subject, a thrill-seeking use of extraction or tone, a wisdom of charged intensity. His portrait drawings not solitary have kinship but aerate a tone that is portion artist, part model.

Polonsky was furthermore a key participant in Boston Expressionism and, in a outstretched oral history interview for the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art, an important witness. The roots of the pursuit link to two separate, but overlapping, circles of mid-Century artists, and Polonsky was committed with both. The first was associated to Boston's School of the Museum of Fine Arts where Polonsky, a Museum School graduate, later taught. The second was joined to Boston's Boris Mirski Gallery where Polonsky exhibited. Artists within these circles started interacting more, in the late 1940s, when many of them, including Polonsky, Karl Zerbe and Hyman Bloom, began meeting to residence fears that major Boston museums were shutting out contemporary artists. The meetings inspired more activism, including the formation of the New England Chapter of Artists Equity and the Boston Arts Festival, with the former advocating for artists' rights and representation, and the latter providing a democratic Good arts forum in the middle of Boston's Public Garden. This community organizing led not only to extra arts organizations, but then a more tightly organized community of artists. The exchange of ideas and influences that resulted developed a figurative style of Expressionism specific to New England.

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