Herbert Ferber

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Herbert Ferber
Born (1906-04-30)April 30, 1906
New York City, NY
Died August 20, 1991(1991-08-20) (aged 85)
North Egremont, MA
Nationality American
Known for Abstract expressionist sculptor and painter
Herbert Ferber, Homage to Piranesi V, copper, 1965-6, National Gallery of Art (Washington, D. C.)
Herbert Ferber, Untitled, lithograph 1959, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Herbert Ferber (born Herbert Ferber Silvers, April 30, 1906 – August 20, 1991) was an American sculptor and painter, born in New York City. He began his independent artistic studies in New York in 1926 at evening classes at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, while attending Columbia University Dental School. In 1930, he attended the National Academy of Design, and that summer he was awarded a scholarship to work at The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation in Oyster Bay, New York. He also began part-time work as a dentist. Impressed by African sculpture, he purchased his first piece of African art in 1931. Ferber received his dentistry degree in 1930, and, until the 1950s, he maintained two careers, as Abstract expressionist sculptor and dentist.

Ferber's best-known sculptures are open, hollow forms in soldered and welded metal. While abstract, their titles and spiky forms often suggest forces in conflict. ('Labors of Hercules' is an example). By the mid-1950s, he began to create, what he called, roofed sculptures―some parts of which hung from the ceiling while other parts rose from the floor. These were followed by so-called cage works―large, boxy forms within which other forms were set. With Sculpture as Environment exhibition (1961), Ferber created an installation executed in fiberglass for a room at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, opening up the interior space of the work for the viewer to enter. In the 1970s, Ferber continued his exploration of abstract form, mostly in large-scale outdoor pieces. He died in 1991 in North Egremont, Massachusetts.

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, New York), the Cantor Arts Center (Stanford University, Palo Alto, California), the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas, Texas), the Honolulu Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D. C.), the Neuberger Museum of Art (Purchase College, Purchase, New York), The Empire State Collection (Empire State Building, New York City), the Newark Museum (Newark, New Jersey), the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Saint Louis Art Museum (St. Louis, Missouri), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York City), the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Connecticut) and The Jewish Museum (New York) are among the public collections holding works by Herbert Ferber.


  • Agee, William C., Herbert Ferber: Sculpture, Painting, Drawing, 1945-1980, Houston, Texas, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1983.
  • Andersen, Wayne V., The sculpture of Herbert Ferber, Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, 1962.
  • Balken, Debra Bricker, Herbert Ferber, Sculpture & Drawings, 1932-1983, Pittsfield, Mass., Berkshire Museum, 1984.
  • Dreishpoon, Douglas, Between Transcendence and Brutality: American Sculptural Drawings from the 1940s and 1950s: Louise Bourgeois, Dorothy Dehner, Herbert Ferber, Seymour Lipton, Isamu Noguchi, Theodore Roszak, David Smith, Tampa, Florida, Tampa Museum of Art, 1994.
  • Goossen, E. C., Herbert Ferber, New York, Abbeville Press, 1981.
  • Verderame, Lori, The Founder of Sculpture as Environment, Herbert Ferber (1906–1991), Hamilton, New York, The Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University, 1998.


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