Harold Garde

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Harold Garde
Harold Garde.jpg
Born (1923-06-07) June 7, 1923 (age 94)
New York, NY
Nationality American
Education University of Wyoming (BFA, 1949)
Columbia University (MFA, 1951)
Known for Painting, printmaking
Movement Abstract expressionism
Strappo printmaking
Spouse(s) Mimi Rosenberg (1946-77)
Barbara Kramer (1982-98)
Website haroldgarde.com
Acrylic on board, 8' x 22', 1972-76
Museum of Florida Art
Strappo, 7" x 5", 2007
Private collection

Harold Garde (born June 7, 1923)[1][2] is an American abstract expressionist painter and the originator and namer of the Strappo technique.

Early life and education[edit]

Garde was born and raised in New York City to immigrant Eastern European Jewish parents. After graduating from Stuyvesant High School, he attended City College of New York for three years, where he majored in science. Before completing his undergraduate studies, he joined the United States Air Force, serving in the Philippines and in World War II from 1943 to 1945. Post-war, he switched his focus and completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, where he studied under surrealist Leon Kelly, abstract expressionist George McNeil and geometric abstractionist Ilya Bolotowsky. He earned a master's degree in fine arts and art education from Columbia University in New York in 1951.[1][3][4]



After graduating from Columbia, Garde worked for 15 years in New York City's commercial interior design industry. In 1968, now married with four children, he began teaching art at Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York, and at a secondary school in Port Washington, New York, while continuing to paint professionally. In an effort to produce art full-time, Garde retired from teaching in 1984.[4][5]


Abstract expressionist art mixed with surrealist and figurative elements defined Garde's early work.[1] In the early 1980s, his subjects transitioned from rounded human figures to structural shapes, segueing to series of objects, such as chairs, vases and kimonos.[6][7] Some of his paintings focus on a sequence of letters or numbers.[1] Garde's work in Maine incorporates colors far more vibrant than those from his earlier years in New York. He has attributed this transformation to Maine's natural light, and wanting his paintings to be brighter and fresher in his advanced age.[1] Some mediums include acrylics on canvases of various size, ceramic and clay sculptures, and Strappo prints.[8]

Garde had his first solo exhibition in 1970 in Huntington, New York.[4] Over 40 years later, the Museum of Florida Art added his 8x24-foot, 16-panel mural Iconoclass (c. 1970s) to its permanent collection. Original pieces are displayed inside, with a reproduction installed on the building's exterior façade since the 2012 acquisition.[5][8] His Rendered Kimonos series (c. 1995-2005) conveys a variety of sizes and forms.[6] In 2001, the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, showcased the Japanese garb-inspired kimono paintings in a solo exhibition.[9] Garde's work is on display as part of the permanent collections of the Portland Museum of Art, Farnsworth Art Museum, New Mexico Museum of Art, University of Wyoming Art Museum, Museum of Florida Art and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, among others.[10]

Strappo printmaking[edit]

In the mid-1980s, Garde invented, developed and named Strappo printmaking, an artistic technique combining painting and printmaking that he teaches in workshops nationwide.[1] Transferring dried acrylic paint layers from glass or another smooth surface onto paper or canvas produces a layered image's reversal and Strappo monotype.[8] In celebration of his 90th birthday and as a New Year's challenge, Garde created one new Strappo print each day for the first 90 days of 2013.[5]

Personal life[edit]

In 1984, Garde and his second wife, writer Barbara Kramer, moved to Belfast, Maine, where he set up a waterfront studio.[1][4][5] In 1993, they purchased an additional home in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.[11] Garde splits his time between his art studios in Maine and Florida.[3][8] Kramer died in 1998.[12]

Exhibitions (selected)[edit]


Garde was the subject of a 30-minute film about his life and art as part of the Union of Maine Visual Arts' nine-film series Maine Masters. He was also the subject of the hour-long film Harold Garde, Working Artist, directed by Dale Schierholt, about his life and work.[1] The latter premiered at the Museum of Florida Art in 2009, presented in conjunction with the museum's retrospective touring exhibit, Harold Garde. Painting. 50 Years.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Aislinn Sarnacki, “Belfast artist finds inspiration in Maine’s coast,” Bangor Daily News, September 6, 2010.
  2. ^ Garde, Harold M. "United States Public Records, 1970-2009". familysearch. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Harold Garde, Courthouse Gallery of Fine Art. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Jennifer Coolidge, “New documentary film spotlights artist Harold Garde,” West Volusia Beacon, January 6, 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d Nancy Davidson, “Avant Garde,” Portland Monthly, September 2013.
  6. ^ a b Jeanne M. Dowis, “Lexicon,” Harold Garde. Painting. 50 Years., Museum of Florida Art: DeLand, Florida, 2008, pp. 92-95.
  7. ^ Suzette Lane McAvoy, “Work in Maine,” Harold Garde. Painting. 50 Years., Museum of Florida Art: DeLand, Florida, 2008, pp. 10-15, 52-57.
  8. ^ a b c d e Matthew J. Palm, “Harold Garde exhibits masterworks at Orlando’s Jai Gallery,” Orlando Sentinel, March 28, 2014.
  9. ^ Kristen Andresen, “Rising from the East,” Bangor Daily News, March 15, 2001.
  10. ^ a b c d Britta Konau, “A Dialogue with Harold Garde Part 1,” The Free Press, December 18, 2013.
  11. ^ “Author Lists New Smyrna In ‘Best Small Art Towns’,” Orlando Sentinel, March 8, 1996.
  12. ^ “Belfast library to expand,” Bangor Daily News, November 29, 1999.
  13. ^ Malcolm Preston, "Artist of Passion," Newsday, September 3, 1970.
  14. ^ a b “Selected Recent Solo Exhibitions,” Harold Garde. Painting. 50 Years., Museum of Florida Art: DeLand, Florida, 2008, p. 100.
  15. ^ Josh Garrick, “Harold Garde. Painting. 50 Years.,” Wandering Educators, January 19, 2009.
  16. ^ “Maine Jewish Museum shows Harold Garde,” Portland Press Herald, August 25, 2013.

External links[edit]