Fine Art

Michael Loew

New York, 1907 - 1985

Yellow on Yellow

Acrylic on canvas
54 x 60 inches (137 x 152 cm)
Signed, dated and titled on verso: M Loew March 67 Yellow on Yellow.


The artist and then by descent
Estate of the Artist

This painting is sold with a Certificate of Authenticity from the Estate of Michael Loew.


Michael Loew was apprenticed to a stained-glass maker from 1926-29 when he studied at the Art Students League. After traveling in Europe, he returned to NY in 1931 when the Depression was in full bloom and the artist paid for his rent via artwork. He was longtime friends with Wilem de Kooning who introduced Loew to the woman he would later marry.

After Pearl Harbor, Loew joined the Navy and served as the battalion artist for the "Seabees" in the Pacific. When he returned in 1946, his painting moved quickly toward abstraction. From 1947-49, he studied post-Cubism at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts. In 1948, he joined the Spiral Group, an organization of artists devoted to the exhibition of experimental art. The Artists Gallery in New York hosted his first one-man show in 1949, and one year later, he enrolled at the Atelier Leger in Paris.

In 1956, he began teaching in the United States. By 1985 he had been an instructor at the Portland Museum School, University of California at Berkeley, and the School of the Visual Arts, NYC.

As a major proponent of Abstract Expressionism and influenced by Neo-Plasticism in the 1940s, it was the 1950s that brought the full development of his mature style. He studied with Hans Hoffman and cultivated his sensibility for color effects. He used the grid-structure of Mondrian as a base to experiment with possibilities of palette and to focus on the subtle transitions of tone or harmony of color relationships. He changed subjects into unique patterns of rectangles or color fields, naming the final composition according to color as with our example, Yellow on Yellow.

His works are in the collections of prominent institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.