Janice Biala

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Janice Biala
Janice Biala, 1956
Janice Biala, 1956
Born Schenehaia Tworkovska[1]
September 11, 1903[2]
Biała Podlaska[3][4]
Died September 23, 2000(2000-09-23) (aged 97)
Paris, France
Nationality Naturalized citizen of the United States
Alma mater National Academy of Design
Known for American artist
Website janicebiala.com
Memorial(s) Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College, City University of New York organized an exhibition of her work, entitled Biala: Vision and Memory

Janice Biala (September 11, 1903 – September 24, 2000) was an artist whose work, spanning seven decades, is well regarded both in France and the United States. Known for her "impeccable taste and remarkable intelligence", as well as her "intuitive feeling for composition and her orchestration of color",[5] she made paintings of intimate interiors, still lifes, portraits of her friends, and cityscapes of the places she traveled. Her work, which defies easy classification, lies between figuration and abstraction. One of the great modernists, she transformed her subjects into shape and color using "unexpected color relationships and a relaxed approach to interpreting realism."[6]

Jack Tworkov and his younger sister, Janice Biala, in a photo taken ca. 1918. Their father made the clothing they wear in this photo.
Edwin Dickinson, Portrait of Biala, née Janice Tworkov, 1924, oil on canvas, 30 × 25 inches
Janice Biala, untitled (self-portrait), 1925, ink on paper, 10¾ × 8½ inches
Biala's 1926 sketch of Shelby Shackelford
Janice Biala, Portrait of a Critic, 1932, oil on canvas
Janice Biala, Ville la Nuit, 1934-36, oil on panel, 21½ × 25½ inches
Janice Biala, portrait (untitled), 1943, oil on canvas, 18 × 15 inches
Janice Biala, The Studio, 1946, oil on canvas, 39½ × 33½ inches
Janice Biala, Pink Facade, oil on canvas, 39 × 32 inches
Janice Biala, White Still Life, 1951, oil on canvas, 25½ × 36 inches
The Bull (ArtNews Bull), 1956, oil on canvas, 43 × 55 inches
Janice Biala, Blackbird, 1956, collage, torn paper, and paint on paper, 61½ × 36¼ inches
Janice Biala, Blue Kitchen, 1969, oil and collage on canvas, 61⅞ × 44⅞ inches
Janice Biala, untitled (three pink tulips), 1973, oil on canvas, 10½ × 8¾ inches
Janice Biala, Jeune femme à la fenêtre II, 1982, oil on canvas, 39½ × 32 inches
Janice Biala, Le chat aux bords verts (Ebony), 1987, oil on canvas, 31½ × 31½ inches
Janice Biala, Open Window, 1989, oil on canvas, 66 × 40 inches

Early life and education[edit]

In 1903 Biala was born in Biała Podlaska, a small city in the Kingdom of Poland with an important Imperial Russian garrison. She immigrated to New York in 1913, arriving with her mother, Esther, and brother, Yakov (Jacob).[7][8] Her father, Hyman Tworkovsky, was a tailor who had emigrated New York earlier.[9] Biala's parents changed their surname to Bernstein because a relative whom they listed as sponsor on their immigration documents bore that name.[8][10][11][12] The family also Americanized its forenames. Biala, whose Hebrew name was Schenehaia,[13] became Janice and Yakov became Jack. Jack would later change his surname to a simplified form of the original family name and, using that name, Jack Tworkov, would establish himself as a highly regarded painter of the New York School.[14] Following her brother's lead, Janice Bernstein became Janice Tworkov and, in 1929, was naturalized as a U.S. citizen with that name.[15]

Biala was educated in New York's public school system. At an early age she decided to become a professional artist and, during her high school years, she and friends got together for informal sketching sessions.[10] When she was twenty she enrolled at the National Academy of Design's art course where Charles Hawthorne was teaching a life drawing class. At this time she also met Hawthorne's associate, Edwin Dickinson, who was teaching a class at the Art Students League.[16] and in the summer of 1923 she convinced her brother Jack to accompany her to the artist colony in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in order to study with Hawthorne and Dickinson.[10][17][18][19][20][21][22] During 1924 and 1925 she studied at Manhattan's Art Students League where Hawthorne was then teaching.[7][18] In 1924 Dickinson made a portrait of her which shows a serious young woman, somberly dressed.[23] Despite differences of medium and treatment, Biala's self-portrait of 1925 shows similarities of style.[24] From Dickinson, Biala learned to focus on the essential elements of a subject, to see these elements as abstract forms on the two-dimensional plane of the canvas, and to select the color values that would become the key to the finished work. Dickinson recognized that color relationships are more important to the artist than single colors in isolation. As he did, she painted figuratively but she believed color harmonies to be more important than accurate representation of a subject. Their compositions tended toward bold, simplified shapes and were more reductively abstract and spatially flat than those of many of their contemporaries.[25]

In 1929 and 1930 Biala participated in group shows at the G.R.D. Salon.[26] G.R.D. was one of a few New York galleries that showed modernist paintings of both women and men. It was a non-profit gallery named in honor of Gladys Roosevelt Dick by her sister, Jean S. Roosevelt.[27] Along with Biala's paintings, the 1929 show included works by E. Madeline Shiff, Virginia Parker, and E. Nottingham. In a review that appeared in The New York Times, Lloyd Goodrich noted her fine feeling for colors and commented that her work showed similarities to the fauvist paintings of André Derain. This remark shows prescience since it was Derain's fellow fauvist, Henri Matisse, about whom she would later write "I have always had Matisse in my belly."[1][28] The 1930 show, assembled by Agnes Weinrich, contained works by Provincetown artists, including Charles Demuth, Oliver Chaffee, Karl Knaths, William and Lucy L'Engle, Niles Spencer, Marguerite and William Zorach, as well as ones by Biala and her brother Jack.[29]

During the 1920s Biala had painted using the name Janice Tworkov. Soon after the close of the G.R.D. exhibition in February she changed her name to Biala. She adopted the new name on advice from her friend and fellow Provincetown painter, William Zorach, in order to avoid confusion with her brother Jack.[30] She had been supporting herself with a series of low paying jobs and when the G.R.D. shows had not produced sales of her work she accepted an invitation from her friend, Eileen Lake to accompany her on a trip to Paris. There, on May 1, she met the author, Ford Madox Ford. Although they did not marry, the two became inseparable, living and working together until Ford's death in 1939. Less than half Ford's age, she was vigorous, ambitious, and gradually becoming more confident in her ability as an artist. In contrast, he continued to write prolifically but his best work was behind him and his health was declining. The two of them endured dire financial straits, often raising their own vegetables in a kitchen garden attached to the villa they rented near Toulon. Biala made portraits of Ford and contributed artwork to his books. Ford incorporated versions of Biala in his writings, including a poem, "Coda," a late (1936) addition to the "buckshee" sequence of poems composed in 1932.[31] The poem is addressed to Haïchka, the diminutive form of her Hebrew name, Schenehaia, meaning "pretty creature."[32] It celebrates "all my past and all your promise" and it praises her for possessing a magnetic personality, always unpredictable, and for bringing vitality and productive energy to their relationship.[33] Despite their continual struggle against poverty, they managed to maintain close contacts with writers and artists, including Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Constantin Brâncuși.[34]

In 1931 Biala's work appeared in New York at Macy Galleries. In this exhibition of Provincetown artists she was identified, anachronistically, as "J. Tworkov."[35] A year later, as Janice Ford Biala, she contributed paintings to a show called "1940" at Parc des Expositions, Paris. Reporting on this show, a New York critic said "The things and figures in her painting gravely turn about as if in some slow and harmonious joy. Not a hilarious joy nor a country dance. Something much richer and more contemplative than hilarity."[36] At this time she wrote to her brother Jack "For the first time in my life I'm convinced that I am really an artist."[1]

In 1935 Biala was given her first solo exhibition when "Paintings of Provence by Biala" appeared at the Georgette Passedoit Gallery, New York, from April 25 to May 9. The paintings came from illustrations she prepared for Ford's book, Provence: From Minstrels to the Machine.[37][38][39]

Mature style[edit]

Along with Dickinson, Ford helped shape Biala's aesthetic vision by encouraging her spirit of experimentation, devotion to creative freedom, and the seeking of poetic truth in preference to literal facts. From both men she absorbed a passion for eliminating unnecessary detail.[1] Dickinson emphasized areas of color, which he called "spots," as the starting point for a painting. He spoke of "two spots being pulled up together, which is, of course, necessary because there's no such thing as one color. They all exist in harmonious common relationships."[25] In 1937 Biala enlarged upon this thought in a rare public statement on art. She said "The very first spot of paint you put on your canvas sets the note for everything that must follow. Just as in writing a novel ... no word or phrase must be there just because you happen to like it, so each spot of paint in your picture must lead up to some definite movement and must connect with every other spot of paint in the picture. Because red is not red itself, its full quality of redness only becomes apparent when it has green beside it or the full quality of green is brought out only when it has purple beside it and so forth. Then against the color you play your forms, lines, and texture."[1] The occasion for the lecture was a visit to Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan, where Ford had been appointed writer and critic in residence. In January 1937 Biala had exhibited paintings and drawings at the Georgette Passedoit Gallery in New York. In August the show was mounted at the Denver Art Museum in Colorado, and in November she brought it to Olivet when Ford began his residency there.[32]

She and Ford were back in France the following year where Biala was given her first French solo exhibition at Galerie Zack. That gallery presented Biala's paintings in a second one-person show in 1939. Ford died at Deauville, France, in 1939 and Biala became his literary executrix. With the outbreak of World War II she returned to New York where she spent the next five years. In 1943 she married a fellow artist, Daniel Brustlein, an illustrator who, using the pen name "Alain," made covers for the New Yorker magazine.[30]

In successive years between 1941 and 1945 Biala was given solo exhibitions at the Bignou Gallery in New York and by that time there could be little doubt that she had succeeded in establishing herself as a professional artist.[30][40] In 1947 she and Brustlein returned to live in France where she exhibited regularly at the Galerie Jeanne Bucher.[41] While continuing to live in France she and Brustlein returned periodically to New York. She remained close to her brother Jack and, in consequence, became one of the few female artists associated with the New York School.[42][43] While not herself an abstract expressionist, Biala fostered the movement, particularly through the support she gave Willem de Kooning. In the early 1940s she convinced her New York dealer to show some of de Kooning's paintings, Biala cared for him when he was ill, and Biala joined him in discussions at the abstract expressionist discussion group called Studio 35. Like Lee Krasner, Louise Bourgeois, Joan Mitchell, and others, Biala was not treated as an equal by the male artists of the New York School or by critics such as Harold Rosenberg.[44] Despite her friendship with abstract expressionist artists, Biala retained a unique approach to her art in which no art movement showed dominance. As one critic put it, "she continued to paint exquisitely crafted canvases in a personal style that, even now, resists classification."[45]

In the 1950s her work appeared frequently in solo and group exhibitions at New York's Stable Gallery and the Galerie Jeanne Bucher in Paris.[30] Regarding a one-person show held in 1953, a critic praised the "harmonies of tone" and quality of draftsmanship in her work and said "the show is one of the most exhilarating and satisfying events of the whole season.... Miss Biala's art strikes me as the happiest result of an abstract training governed by a humane concern with the values of the world about us."[46] Describing shows held in 1955 and 1959, critics said her paintings showed a greater freedom than they had before and one said, "Where before Miss Biala constructed with clearly organized planes—using both color and form to create recession—now her brush moves out in freedom, allowing intrinsic rhythms to spring up and subside."[47][48]

Later life and work[edit]

During the 1960s and for the rest of her life, Biala's work was frequently exhibited in solo and group shows. Through the 1980s many of these shows appeared in Paris at Galerie Jacob and the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Salles Wilson. Others appeared in New York at the Grüenebaum Gallery. In the 1990s she was given frequent solo exhibitions at the Kouros Gallery and after 2000 at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, both in New York.

In 1981, after six decades of painting, the quality of her work was as good as ever. A critic said as much regarding her one-person show at the Grüenebaum Gallery that year. He wrote, "The Structure of her pictures often looks quite simple, ... but is not simple at all. The difficulty and complexity have been refined into lean, direct gestures and a lyrical, concentrated economy of form."[49] Of a solo exhibition in 1989, when she was 85 years old, a critic wrote that her work showed the vigor of a person 30 years younger. "Her painting," he wrote, "is a blend of realism and fancy. In her interiors, cityscapes, landscapes and portraits, some colors and shapes hover and run; others asset themselves suddenly and then stay put, fixing space in a way that is reminiscent of Bonnard and Hofmann."[50]

Following her death in 2000, another critic said, "All of Biala's paintings seem touched by a tough ingenuousness — never sentimental or naïve, but slightly nostalgic in their playful intimacy. Suffusing them is the outlook of a painter who has found what she needs and knows what she wants to do. The results glow with a wondrous candor."[36] Finally, in connection with a retrospective exhibition in 2013, the show's curator told an interviewer that "Biala was a painter of impeccable taste and remarkable intelligence, She had an intuitive feeling for composition and her orchestration of color was, at times, breathtaking."[5]

Family life[edit]

In 1903 Biala was born in Biała Podlaska, a small city in eastern Poland located near the border with Russia. At that time Biała Podlaska was within the Russian Empire. Long a trading center, the town's population then numbered about 13,000 people, half of whom—including Biala's family—were Jewish.[9] With one exception resources do not give the month or day of her birth. The exception is the Biala web site which gives September 11 but does not indicate the source of this information.[30]

Her father's name was Hyman and her mother's Esther. He was the son of Benjamin Tworkovsky and his wife Celia. In addition to Biala and Jack, their children were Celia, Aaron, Abraham, and Morris.[11]

Hyman Tworkovsky was a tailor who worked for the Russian Army. He emigrated to New York some years before his wife and younger children and he worked in a tailor shop in New York's Lower East Side.[9] The surname was changed to Bernstein to conform with the name of the sponsor. Although Biala and Jack changed their names from Bernstein to Tworkov when they became adults, Hyman and Esther retained the name Bernstein. Jack said his family's sponsor was his father's brother. He did not explain why his brother's surname was Bernstein.[10][51]

During her life Biala went by quite a few names. Her birth name in Hebrew was Schenehaia Tworkovska. After immigration this became Janice Bernstein. As a young adult she became Janice Tworkov (as mentioned). During the 1920s she painted under this name or J. Tworkov. In the early 1920s she married a friend of Jack's, the painter, Lee Gatch.[10] The marriage, which was not successful, ended in first in separation and, in 1935, divorce. She did not use the names Mrs. Janice Gatch or Mrs. Lee Gatch, and was infrequently called by either name. In 1930, at the suggestion of fellow painter, William Zorach, she chose a new name so as to avoid confusion with her brother, the other J. Tworkov. She chose Biala, the name of her birthplace.[22] In the 1930s, while living with Ford Madox Ford, she was sometimes referred to as Mrs. Ford (though they were not married) or Janice Ford Biala. After her marriage in 1942 to Daniel Brustlein, she retained Biala as her name but was occasionally called Mrs. Brustlein. At least on one occasion she used his professional name, calling herself Janice ("Alain") Biala.[52] In one news account she was called Janice Tworkov Ford Brustlein.[53] She most frequently called herself Janice Biala or simply Biala but was also sometimes referred to as Janice T. Biala.[30]

Until the 1940s Biala did not enjoy a steady income from any source. She worked odd jobs in the 1920s and her life with Ford Madox Ford was hand-to-mouth. After marrying Brustlein, however, his success in selling drawings to the New Yorker (for which he frequently produced cover art) and her growing reputation as a painter brought in a gradually increasing funds and by 1953 they were able to buy a small farmhouse in Peapack, New Jersey, for their use on their return to the United States from their residence in Paris.[42][54] For both of them, Paris was "home." In the 1980s Biala told an interviewer that she fell in love with France when she first travelled there in 1930: "In some ways, it reminded me of the place I was born in. And when I came to France I felt as if I had come home. I smelled the same smells of bread baking and dogs going around in a very busy way, you know, as if they knew what they were about. It really was extraordinarily human."[50] Having been naturalized in 1929, she never gave up her U.S. citizenship and maintained that she did not "have the feeling of nationality or roots," but "always had the feeling that I belong where my easel is."[53]

The Chronology section of the Biala web site gives a full chronology of events in Biala's life.[30]


This selected list of solo and group exhibitions from 1929 to 1945 comes from news accounts and internet sources.

  • 1929 Group show at the G.R.D. Studio, New York
  • 1930 Group show at the G.R.D. Studio, New York
  • 1931 Group show at the Macy Galleries, New York
  • 1932 Group show, "1940" at Parc des Expositions, Paris
  • 1935 Solo show, Georgette Passedoit Gallery, New York
  • 1937 Solo show, Georgette Passedoit Gallery, New York
  • 1937 Solo show, Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
  • 1937 Olivet College, Olivet, Michigan
  • 1938 Solo show, Galerie Zack, Paris
  • 1939 Solo show, Galerie Zack, Paris
  • 1941 Solo show, Bignou Gallery, New York
  • 1942 Solo show, Bignou Gallery, New York
  • 1943 Solo show, Bignou Gallery, New York
  • 1943 Group show, Bignou Gallery, New York
  • 1944 Solo show, Bignou Gallery, New York
  • 1944 Group show, City Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri
  • 1945 Solo show, Bignou Gallery, New York
  • 1945 Solo show, Bertha Schaefer, New York

This list of solo and group exhibitions from 1945 onward comes from the Biala web site.[30]

  • 1946 American Painting: 39th Annual Exhibition, City Art Museum, St. Louis, MO (catalogue) Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Sculpture, Watercolors, and Drawings, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (catalogue) A Selection of Contemporary Paintings, Bignou Gallery, New York
  • 1947 Twentieth Biennial Exhibition, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (catalogue)
  • 1948 Les Surindépendants, Paris, France
  • 1949 Le Prix de la Critique, Galerie Saint-Placide, Paris, France Les Surindépendants, Paris, France
  • 1950 Les Surindépendants, Paris, France (catalogue) Buffet, Lorjou, Minaux, Biala, Galerie Saint-Placide, Paris, France
  • 1951 Le Prix de la Critique, Galerie Saint-Placide, Paris, France Les Surindépendants, Paris, France American Fortnight, Festival at Knokke le Zoute, Belgium Salon de Mai, Paris, France Group Exhibition, Galerie Jeanne Boucher, Paris, France
  • 1952 Biala, Viera da Silva and Vera Pagava, National Museum, Oslo, Norway Formes et Couleurs, Musée Cantonal de Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland Salon VIII des Artistes Indépendants de Pacardie, Paris, France Salon de Mai, Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris, France Recent Paintings, Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris, France
  • 1953 Le Mouvement dans l’Art Contemporain, Musée Cantonal de Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland (catalogue) Group Exhibition, Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris, France French and American Painting, Grand Central Modern Gallery, New York
  • 1955 Group Exhibition, Bertha Schaefer, New York. Exhibition of Modern Paintings, Bignou Gallery, New York
  • 1956 New Approaches to the Figure in Contemporary Painting, Watkins Gallery, American University, Washington, D.C.
  • 1957 Gouaches et Aquarelles, Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris, France. Peintres Américains Contemporains, Musée Galeria, Paris, France
  • 1958 École de Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, France (catalogue). Group Exhibition, Galerie Seine, Paris France. Les Partenaires Artistiques, La Main Gauche, Paris, France. Group Exhibition, Galerie A, Paris, France. Retour à la Peinture, Galerie Hautefeuille, Paris, France
  • 1959 Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1959 – 1960) (catalogue). Janice Biala, Edwin Dickinson and Jack Tworkov, HCE Gallery, Provincetown, MA. Contemporary Americans, The Spook Farm Gallery, Far Hills, NJ
  • 1960 École de Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, France. Retrospective de l’Activité Entre 1925 et 1960 de la Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Galerie Bucher, Paris, France. Constances de la Peinture, Galerie Hautefeuille, Paris, France
  • 1961 La Peinture Française d’Aujourd’hui, Association des Musée d’Israel: Musée de Tel-Aviv; Musée National Bezalel, Jerusalem; Musée de l’Art Moderne, Haifa (1960 – 1961) (catalogue)
  • 1961 Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (*1961 – *1962) (catalogue) Formes et Couleurs, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, France (catalogue)
  • 1962 The collage and gouaches of Biala, Galerie Point Cardinal, Paris, France, May. Biala: Oils, Rina Gallery, Jerusalem, Israel, June. Biala, Musee de beaux-arts, Rennes, France, June *20-July 22.
  • 1962 Three American Painters, Musée de Rennes, France
  • 1963 Biala, Stable Gallery, New York, NY, January 8–26.
  • 1963 Janice Biala, Andrew Dickson White Museum, Cornell University, NY. Landscape in Recent American Painting, The Art Center, New School for Social Research, New York. Provincetown: A Painter’s Place, The American Federation of Art’s, New York (1962 – 1963) (catalogue)
  • 1964 Collectors Graphics, Paridot Gallery, New York. La Peau de l’Ours, Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (catalogue)
  • 1965 Portraits from the American Art World, New School Art Center, New York (catalogue). 50 Artistes: Exposition Inaugurale, Galerie Lutèce, Paris, France
  • 1966 10 Américains de Paris, American Cultural Center, Berlin, Germany (catalogue). Art Contemporain: Hommage à Marquet, Salon de Montrouge, France (catalogue). USA Arte Vivante, Musée des Augustins de Toulouse, France (catalogue). Six Peintres Américains, American Cultural Services, France Salon de Surindépendants, Paris, France
  • 1967 Biala, Galerie Jacob, Paris, France, May
  • 1967 Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Salles Wilson, Paris, France (catalogue). Les Attractions Attentives, Galerie Jacob, Paris France. USA: Group 67, Group Exhibition touring France (catalogue)
  • 1968 Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Salles Wilson, Paris, France (catalogue). Salon IX: Grands et Jeunes D’Aujourd’hui, Salles Wilson, Paris, France (catalogue). Contemporary Portraits, Museum of Modern Art, New York. La Galerie Jacob, Galerie Jacob, Paris, New York (1967 – 1968)
  • 1969 Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Salles Wilson, Paris, France (catalogue)
  • 1970 Portraits de L’Oiseau-Qui-N’Existe-Pas, Musee des Beaux Arts, January 17-February 22
  • 1971 Le Prix Paul-Louis Weiller, Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris, France. Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris Parc Floral de Vincennes, France (catalogue). Art from the Chase Manhattan Bank Collection, New York. Les Cinq Ans de la Galerie Jacob, Galerie Jacob, Paris, France
  • 1973 Inaugural Exhibition, Galerie Jacob, Paris, France
  • 1974 Great Dames in Small Size, Iris Clert-Christolfe, Paris, France. Six American Painters, travels to: École supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Tours; Palais des Arts de Vannes; Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéologie de Besançon; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tourcoing; Le Musée Fabre, Montpellier; Palais des Congrès de Perpignan; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Orange; Musée des Beaux Arts de Bordeaux; as well as The American Library, Brussels, Belgium; French Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1972 – 1974)
  • 1975 Libres Chemins, Galerie Jacob, Paris, France. Color, Light and Image: An International Women’s Art Show, Women’s InterArt Center, New York. Femme Peintres et Sculpteurs, Union des Femmes Peintres et Sculpteurs, Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris, France (catalogue)
  • 1976 4 Pintoires de Paris en Galerie Ponce, Galerie Ponce, Madrid, Spain (catalogue). Les Dix ans de la Galerie Jacob, Pairs, Galerie Jacob, Paris, France. Les Dix ans de la Galerie Jacob, Pairs, Galerie Ponce, Madrid, Spain
  • 1977 Américains in Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, France
  • 1977 Livingston-Learmonth Gallery, New York, NY, January 22-February 12
  • 1978 Biala, Gruenebaum Gallery, New York, NY. May 9-June 3
  • 1978 L’oiseau qui n’existe pas, Centre Georges Pompidou, France
  • 1979 Hommage to Chardin, Galerie Jacob, Paris, France
  • 1980 Biala: New Paintings & Gouaches, Gruenebaum Gallery, New York, NY, March 4-April 5
  • 1980 La Famille des Portraits, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France (catalogue)
  • 1981 Biala, Gruenebaum Gallery, New York, NY, October 6-November 3
  • 1983 Biala: Paintings of Venice, Paris, Cape Cod, Gruenebaum Gallery, New York, NY, May–June 11
  • 1983 Tenth Anniversary Exhibition of Major Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture, Grüenebaum Gallery, New York
  • 1985 Biala: New Paintings, Gruenebaum Gallery, New York, NY, October 2-November 2
  • 1987 Biala: Oeuvres Recentes, Galerie Jacob, Paris, December 15, 1987 – January 29, 1988
  • 1987 Janice Biala & Daniel Brustlein, Grüenebaum Gallery, New York
  • 1988 Permanence du Visage, Musée Ingres, Montauban, France
  • 1989 Janice Biala, Musee Tavet de Pontoise, France, December 17, 1989- February 28, 1990
  • 1990 Biala: New Paintings, Kouros Gallery, New York, NY, March 28-April 21 (catalogue)
  • 1990 Fifty Years of Works on Paper, Kouros Gallery, New York. Artmosphere VII, Neilly Hotel de Ville, France (catalogue)
  • 1991 Biala: Paintings, Louis Newman Galleries, Beverly Hills, CA, March 7-March 28
  • 1991 Figuration et Abstraction, Fonds Regional d’Art Contemporain d’Île de France, Espace Marcel Carne, Paris, France
  • 1992 Biala: Miniature Landscapes and Still Lifes, Kouros Gallery, New York, NY, November 4–28
  • 1992 Janice Biala and Daniel Brustlein, Sala Pares, Barcelona, Spain. Taureaux en Tête, Patio de l’Hôtel-de-Ville et Centre Georges Pompidou, France
  • 1993 Kouros Gallery, New York, NY.
  • 1994 A Family: Biala, D. Brustlein, H. Ford, E. Moskowitz, R. Moskowitz, J. Tworkov, Kouros Gallery, New York
  • 1994 Kouros Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1996 Biala: Five Decades, Kouros Gallery, New York, NY, April (catalogue)
  • 1996 Les Trente Ans de la Galerie Jacob, Galerie Jacob, Paris, France
  • 1997 Artistes Américains en France (1947 – 1997), Mona Bismarck Foundation, Paris, France. Nature Mortes du XX Siècle, Musée de Pontoise (catalogue). Made in France: Drawings of France by Five Americans, Kouros Gallery, New York
  • 1997 Kouros Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1998 Biala: Felines and Other Friends, Kouros Gallery, New York, NY, February 4-February 28
  • 1999 Biala: Paintings, Kouros Gallery, New York, NY, May 20-June 26
  • 1999 Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA. Bayly Art Museum, The University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
  • 2001 Biala and Daniel Brustlein: A Selection of Paintings, Kouros Gallery, New York
  • 2004 Reuniting an Era: Abstract Expressionists of the 1950s, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, IL. Art Chicago, Thomas McCormick Gallery, Navy Pier, Chicago, IL. Biala and Daniel Brustlein: A Marriage in Art and Life, The Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale, NY
  • 2005 The Art Show, ADAA, 7th Regiment Armory, New York
  • 2006 Picasso and the School of Paris, Nassau County Museum of Art, Rosyln Harbor, NY
  • 2006 Biala: Selected Paintings, Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, NY, January 5-February 4 (catalogue)
  • 2007 Biala: I belong where my easel is… Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, NY, November 15-January 5 (catalogue)
  • 2007 Americans in Paris: Abstract Painting in the Fifties, Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York. Seaworthy: A Nautical Selection from Minton to Mermaids, Edward Thorp Gallery, New York. In Context, collage + abstraction, Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York
  • 2007-08 Suitcase Paintings: Small Scale Abstract Expressionism, Georgia Museum of Art, GA; Utah Museum of Fine Art, UT; Sydney Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College, NY; Greenville County Museum of Art, SC; Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, IL
  • 2008 Biala: Collage, 1957-1963, Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, NY, January–February (catalogue)
  • 2009 Daughters of the Revolution – Women and Collage, Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York. Generations Exhibition, Provincetown Art Association and Museum
  • 2009 Exposition d’oeuvres de Janice Biala, Université Paul Cézanne, IEFEE, Aix-en-Provence, September 10–14 (check list)
  • 2010 Biala, Nell Blaine, Jane Freilicher: Selected Works, Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York
  • 2012 The Lure of Paris, Loretta Howard Gallery, New York. To be a Lady: Forty-Five Women in the Arts, (Curated by Jason Andrew) 1285 Avenue of the Americas Gallery, New York
  • 2013 Biala: Vision and Memory, (Curated by Diane Kelder) Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College, CUNY, Flushing, NY, September 12-October 27 (catalogue)

Public collections[edit]

The source of this list is the Biala web site.[30]

  • Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Banque Paribas, Paris, France
  • Carnegie Art Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
  • JP Morgan Chase Bank, New York, NY
  • Chemical Bank, New York, NY
  • General Electric, Fairfield, CT
  • Lannon Foundation, Palm Beach, FL
  • Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC
  • Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Musée de Pontoise, Paris, France
  • Musée d’Art, Grenoble, France
  • Musée d’Ingres, Mont-Auban, France
  • Musée National d’Arts Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
  • Naumburg Collection, Princeton University Library, Princeton, NJ
  • National Museum, Oslo, Norway
  • Princeton University Museum, Princeton, NJ
  • Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
  • Phillip Morris, New York, NY
  • Pittsburgh Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA
  • Shearson Lehman Brothers American Express, New York, NY
  • The Readers Digest, Pleasantville, NY
  • Union Carbide Corporation, New York, NY
  • USC Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
  • San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.
  • Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
  • Vesti Corporation, Boston, MA
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

Books by Biala[edit]

Biala furnished cover art and illustrations for some of Ford's books and, in the 1950s she wrote children's books. This list comes from the WorldCat online catalog, the Library of Congress catalog, and other sources. It is in chronological order.

  • Great trade route by Ford Madox Ford, with illustrations by Biala (New York, Toronto, Oxford university press, 1937)
  • Provence: from minstrels to the machine by Ford Madox Ford, with illustrations by Janice Brustlein Biala (London, G. Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1938)
  • It's Spring, It's Spring by Janice Biala, with illustrations by Daniel Brustlein (New York, Whittlesey House, 1956)
  • Lonely little lady and her garden by Janice, illustrated by Mariana [pseud. for Marian (Mariana) F. Curtiss] (New York, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1967)
  • Little Bear's Sunday breakfast by Janice, illustrated by Mariana (New York, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1958)
  • Minette by Janice Biala, with illustrations by Daniel Brustlein (New York, Whittlesey House, 1959)
  • Angelique by Janice Brustlein, with illustrations by Roger Duvoisin (Whittlesey House/McGraw-Hill, 1960)
  • Little Bear's pancake party by Janice, with pictures by Mariana (New York, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1960)
  • A Duck Called Angelique by Janice Brustlein, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin (The Bodley Head Ltd, 1962)
  • Little bear's Sunday breakfast by Janice Brustlein, illustrated by Mariana (Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Hale, 1963)
  • Little Bear's Christmas by Janice Brustlein, with pictures by Mariana (New York, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co. 1964)
  • Little Bear's Thanksgiving by Janice, illustrated by Mariana (New York, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1967)
  • Little Bear marches in the St. Patrick's Day parade by Janice Brustlein, with illustrations by Mariana (New York, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1967)
  • Little Bear's pancake party by Janice Biala (Glenview, Ill. Scott, Foresman, 1967)
  • Little Bear learns to read the cookbook by Janice, with illustrations by Mariana (New York, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., 1969)
  • Little Bear's New Year's party by Janice, illustrated by Mariana (New York, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1973)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Button's wonderful watchdogs by Janice Brustlein, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin (William Morrow & Co, 1978)

Representative works[edit]

The Works section of the Biala web site gives many images of representative works.[30]


  1. ^ a b c d e Laura Colombino (2009). Ford Madox Ford and Visual Culture. Rodopi. pp. 216–. ISBN 90-420-2636-7. 
  2. ^ The Biala web site gives September 11 as the day of birth. It does not indicate the source of this information and no other resource gives more than the year.
  3. ^ "21532RE: Article in Vogue (Doug)". Yahoo! Groups. Retrieved 2014-09-07. Biala Podlaska E of Waraw (was Russian partition). ... I found through Google that Janice Tworkovsky aka Janice Biala, was born in Biala, Russia. Hence she was probably born in Biala Podlaska 
  4. ^ Biała Podlaska is in eastern Poland by the Russian border. At the time Biala was born Biała Podlaska was a large garrison town of the Imperial Russian Army.
  5. ^ a b "Biala, Before and Beyond: an interview with curator Diane Kelder". Biala, a web site of the estate of Janice Biala. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  6. ^ "BIALA". Megan Hinton, Paintings, Drawings, and Prints. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  7. ^ a b "Janice Biala Chronology". Janice Biala. Estate of Janice Biala. Retrieved 2014-09-06. 
  8. ^ a b "Oral history interview with Hermine Ford, 2010 Feb. 18-19". Oral Histories; Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution aaa.si.edu. Retrieved 2014-09-06. 
  9. ^ a b c "Pinkas Hakehillot Polin: Biala Podlaska". "Biala Podlaska" - Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Poland, Volume VII (Poland). Translation of "Biala Podlaska" chapter from Pinkas Hakehillot Polin. Published by Yad Vashem. Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  10. ^ a b c d e "Chronology—Jack Tworkov". Retrieved 2014-09-19. This site is dedicated to the life and work of American painter Jack Tworkov. 
  11. ^ a b "Hyman Tworkovsky Bernstein (c.1864 - 1938) - Genealogy". Geni. Retrieved 2014-09-19. Hyman Tworkovsky Bernstein. Birth: circa 1864. Death: October 2, 1938 (74). Immediate Family: Son of Benjamin Tworkovsky and Celia Tworkovsky. Father of Celia Ferber; Aaron Bernstein; Abraham Bernstein; Morris Bernstein; Jack (Yakov) Tworkov; Janice Biala Garth; Janice Biala and Benjamin Bernstein. 
  12. ^ Jack Tworkov said that the Bernstein relative was one of his father's brothers but he did not explain how the brother, if her were a Tworkovsky, came to be called Bernstein, and the identity of this person has not been established.(See the Chronology section of the Jack Tworkov web site.)
  13. ^ The Hebrew name Schenehaia cannot be confirmed from internet sources. Uses of this name appear only in sources connected with Biala and Ford Madox Ford.
  14. ^ Biala did not like to be identified as the sister of Jack Tworkov. In 1953, she wrote Art News to complain: "I have never been given a review in your journal unaccompanied by one dear husband or another, and now the secret is out. I have a brother too!" (quoted in Between the Waves: Feminist Positions in American Art by Daniel Belasco, ProQuest, 2008)
  15. ^ "Person Details for Janice Tworkow,". "New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957" — FamilySearch.org. Retrieved 2014-09-07. Janice Tworkov; Naturalized as US citizen May 27, 1929; Address: 130 West 15th St 
  16. ^ "Artworks by Edwin Walter Dickinson; Biography". Acme Fine Art on artnet. Retrieved 2014-09-24. 
  17. ^ Although Jack had aimed to be a poet, he too had decided by this time that he wished to be a professional artist. They supported themselves as best they could in menial jobs and had so little money that they had to hitchhike their way to Provincetown for the planned summer studying art. -- See the Chronology section of the Jack Tworkov web site.
  18. ^ a b "Charles Webster Hawthorne; 1872-1930". Collections | National Academy Museum. Retrieved 2014-09-24. 
  19. ^ Edward Bryant (1964). Jack Tworkov. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 
  20. ^ Biala's association with Dickinson would stretch over the next decade and a half and his influence on her style would be a strong one.
  21. ^ "A Drawing by Edwin Dickinson. The Studio at 46 Pearl Street; Statement by Helen Dickinson BaldwinEdwin Dickinson". The Edwin Dickinson Catalogue Raisonné by Helen Dickinson Baldwin. Retrieved 2014-09-24. 
  22. ^ a b "Mira Schor and Jason Andrew with Phong Bui". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 2014-10-03. Zorach told Biala that it was a big mistake of his wife (Marguerite Zorach) not to change her last name as an artist. 
  23. ^ Untitled portrait of Janice Tworkov, 1924, Provincetown, oil on canvas, 30 x 25 in, signed top left: "E W Dickinson" from the collection of Janice Biala.
  24. ^ Biala (Janice Tworkov), Untitled self portrait, 1925, ink on paper, 1¾ x 8½ inches
  25. ^ a b "Oral history interview with Edwin W. Dickinson, 1962 Aug. 22". An interview of Edwin W. Dickinson conducted 1962 Aug. 22, by Dorothy Seckler, for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2014-10-01. 
  26. ^ "Display Ad 434—G.R.D. Salon". New York Times. 1929-05-05. p. 125. 
  27. ^ "G.R.D. Studio (New York, N.Y.)". Archives Directory for the History of Collecting, Center for the History of Collecting, The Frick Collection. Retrieved 2014-10-05. 
  28. ^ Lloyd Goodrich (1929-05-12). "Further Comment on the Week's Art Exhibitions". New York Times. p. 1X11. 
  29. ^ "Display Ad G.R.D. Studio, Exhibition of Paintings, Provincetown Group, Feb. 3 to 15, 1 to 6 PM". Evening Post. 1930-02-01. p. M5. 
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Janice Biala". Estate of Janice Biala. Retrieved 2014-09-06. This site is dedicated to the life and work of American painter Janice Biala. 
  31. ^ Arthur Mizener (1971). The Saddest Story: A Biography of Ford Madox Ford. World Publishing Company. 
  32. ^ a b Max Saunders (2012). Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life: Volume II: The After-War World. Oxford University Press. pp. 372–73. ISBN 978-0-19-966835-9. I think Gopd must have been a stupid man / To have sent a spirit, chivalrous and loyal, / Cruel and tender, arrogant and so meek, / Gallant and timorous,halting and as swift / As a hawk descending—to have sent such a spirit / Certain in all its attributes, into this Age / Of our banal world. / ... 'Haïchka, the undaunted, loyal spirit of you!' 
  33. ^ Sara Haslam (1 January 2005). Ford Madox Ford and the City. Rodopi. pp. 131–. ISBN 90-420-1717-1. 
  34. ^ Greenwald, Xico (2013-09-17). "The Courage of Her Convictions". New York Sun. Retrieved 2014-09-06. 
  35. ^ Edward Alden Jewell (1931-10-02). "Art: Americans Show Work.". New York Times. p. 32. 
  36. ^ a b Harris, Ruth Green (1932-02-28). "Bohemian Rhapsody". New York Times. p. X10. Retrieved 2014-09-06. 
  37. ^ Provence: From Minstrels to the Machine, by Ford Madox Ford, illustrated by Biala (Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott Co., 1935). Reviewing the book for The New York Times, Noel Sauvage, wrote that Biala's illustrations were "naïve and light-hearted; by some magic of brush and pen, they achieve an engagingly subtle humor that is in perfect harmony with the witty and genial text." ("An Admirer's View of Provence: Ford Madox Ford's Superb Evocation of It Is Something of an Autobiography, a History, and a Philosophy as Well" by Noel Sauvage, New York Times, Mar 24, 1935, p. BR9) and were seen as "spiritedly sophisticated" and "very French" by the Times reviewer.
  38. ^ "Display Ad 104—Georgette Passedoit". New York Times. 1935-04-28. p. X7. 
  39. ^ Howard Devree (1935-05-05). "Gallery Melange: A Reviewer's Week". New York Times. p. X7. 
  40. ^ In a lukewarm review of the 1944 show at Bignou Gallery, Edward Alden Jewell, of the New York Times said her "color is fresh and as a rule effectively used" and her work "tastefully decorative."("Recent Paintings by Janice Biala," New York Times, November 5, 1944, p. X8).
  41. ^ "Expositions passées de 1947 à 1960 1947-1960". Galerie jeanne-bucher. Retrieved 2014-10-02. 
  42. ^ a b "Chronology—The Life of Daniel 'Alain' Brustlein". Estate of Daniel Brustlein. Archived from the original on 2014-09-04. Retrieved 2014-09-22. 
  43. ^ Brustlein purchased Willem de Kooning's early paintings, he and Biala hosted a wedding lunch at a local cafeteria when Willem and Elaine married.
  44. ^ See De Kooning: An American Master by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan (A.A. Knopf, 2004), Artists' Sessions at Studio 35 by Robert Goodnough (Soberscove Press, 2011), and Between the Waves: Feminist Positions in American Art by Daniel Belasco (ProQuest, 2008) p. 3.
  45. ^ "Biala: Vision and Memory Lecture Series". Kupferberg Center for the Arts, Queens College. Retrieved 2014-09-25. 
  46. ^ Stuart Preston (1953-05-03). "Portrait to Abstract". New York Times. p. X8. Put simply, Biala's pictures at the Stable Gallery depict scenes of Paris, bullfight close-ups and figures, in a formal, semi-cubist style, quiet in color. Described as an experience, the show is one of the most exhilarating and satisfying events of the whole season. For one thing, Miss Biala is such a good painter, laying on paint-color with singular sensibility, in ample but never redundant brush-strokes, and grasping firmly both the imaginative and descriptive elements of her themes. The mood of these pictures is one of distant intimacy; they do not rush forward to flatter the spectator but they meet him more than half-way, and the somber olive-green, tawny harmonies of tone (local color is non-naturalistic) suggest as much of atmosphere as of solidity. Last, and certainly not least, are the merits of the draftsmanship. It is a species of pictorial shorthand, true, summary and allusive, entirely capable of coping with the flying buttresses of Notre Dame or the easy gestures of a studio pose. Miss Biala's art strikes me as the happiest result of an abstract training governed by a humane concern with the values of the world about us. 
  47. ^ Howard Devree (1955-04-07). "Canvases by Biala Compete at Galleries With Sculpture, Scenes of New York". New York Times. p. 30. 
  48. ^ Dore Ashton (1959-10-30). "Art: New Acquisitions: Show at the Janis Runs Modern Gamut". New York Times. p. 34. Janice Biala has shifted her emphasis from the objects in the natural world to the elements that shape them, but her paintings are still happily rooted in what she sees.... With long free strokes and fresh but muted color, she has been able to speak about such abstract effects as the wind seizing the countryside or light suffusing from the sea.... Where before Miss Biala constructed with clearly organized planes—using both color and form to create recession—now her brush moves out in freedom, allowing intrinsic rhythms to spring up and subside. 
  49. ^ Hilton Kramer (1981-10-30). "Art: Whitney Museum Finally Shows Its Best". New York Times. p. C22. Whether she draws her subjects from Venice or Provincetown or the interior of her studio in Paris, Biala is a painter of remarkable powers. The Structure of her pictures often looks quite simple, but it usually turns out to be "simple" in the way that paintings by Marquet and certain schools of Japanese painting can be called simple. Which is to say, not simple at all. The difficulty and complexity have been refined into lean, direct gestures and a lyrical, concentrated economy of form. Especially in her landscape and seascape paintings, Biala has a wonderful sense of place and a flawless eye for the way place is defined by light. ... This is, in any case, the best exhibition to date by an artist who has been getting better with each of her recent shows.(Gruenebaum Gallery) 
  50. ^ a b Michael Brenson (1989-06-25). "Three Who Were Warmed By the City of Light". New York Times. p. H31. 
  51. ^ The United States Census for 1910 lists a Bernstein family at 198 Broome St. He household head, Hyman Bernstein, was then 45, married 22 years, born in Russia to Russian parents, immigrated in 1889. He was a naturalized citizen, speaking English and working as a tailor in men's suit shop. His wife's name was Sarah and his children were Estelle (age 20, working as a stenographer in a clothing office), Joe (age 18, working as a clerk in ware rooms), and Celia (age 16, working as a stenographer in a law office). -- Source: Thirteenth Census of the United States: 1910 Population, New York, New York, Borough of Manhattan, Enumerated 19 April 1910, Enumeration District 219, Sheet 11A, Ward 10, Mayer P. Ross, Enumerator.
  52. ^ "Statement in support of Jews on behalf of the committee for a Jewish Army of stateless and Palestinian Jews". New York Times. 1942-07-07. p. 15. 
  53. ^ a b Roberta Smith (2000-10-13). "Janice Tworkovsky; Biala, American Painter of Trans-Atlantic Tradition". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. 
  54. ^ Their purchase of this property may have come about as a result of provisions in the McCarran Act that required Americans to return to the U.S. periodically or risk having their passports revoked.

Further reading[edit]

See the Publications section of the Biala web site.

External links[edit]