Media File
William Zorach
Date: American sculptor, painter, and lithographer, born in Lithuania, 1889–1966
Biography: Born Zorach Gorfinkel in Lithuania in 1889 (though his birth year is frequently published as 1887), Zorach emigrated to the United States with his family as a child. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and studied art at the Cleveland School of Art. In 1908, he moved to New York to study at the National Academy of Design. In 1910 he traveled to Paris to continue his artistic study at La Palette art school. While there he met another American art student, Marguerite Thompson (1887-1968), who introduced him to the latest in European modern art. They returned to New York, were married in 1912, and exhibited in the groundbreaking Armory Show in 1913. In the teens, the two artists--both primarily painters at this point--were among the most progressive American artists, exhibiting paintings that combined intense color and abstract forms influenced by cubism. In 1916, William Zorach began to experiment with sculpture, the medium for which he is most famous. By the 1920s he was at the forefront of the direct carving movement, producing stylized sculptures carved directly out of stone and wood.