William Baziotes

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William Baziotes
William Baziotes, ca. 1947, Francis Lee, photographer. William and Ethel Baziotes papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Born(1912-06-11)June 11, 1912
DiedJune 6, 1963(1963-06-06) (aged 50)
New York City, US
EducationNational Academy of Design
Known forPainting
MovementAbstract expressionism

William Baziotes (June 11, 1912 – June 6, 1963) was an American painter influenced by Surrealism and was a contributor to Abstract Expressionism.

Life and career[edit]

Cyclops, 1947 Oil on canvas, shown at Chicago Art Institute

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Greek parents Angelos and Stella, Baziotes was raised in Reading, Pennsylvania and began his formal art training in 1933 at the National Academy of Design in New York City where he graduated in 1936.[1] He studied with Charles Curran, Ivan Olinsky, Gifford Beal, and Leon Kroll. Baziotes taught through the Federal Art Project in from 1936-1938 and worked on their WPA Easel Project from 1938–1940.[1]

In the 1940s he became friends with many artists in the emerging Abstract Expressionist group. Although he shared the groups' interest in primitive art and automatism, his work was more in line with European surrealism. Later in his career he taught extensively. His first solo exhibition was at Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century Gallery in 1944.[1]

In 1948, Baziotes, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman and David Hare founded the Subjects of the Artist School at 35 East 8th Street. Well attended lectures there were open to the public, with speakers such as Jean Arp, John Cage and Ad Reinhardt, but the art school failed financially and closed in the spring of 1949.[2][3][4] He later taught at the Brooklyn Museum Art School,[1] People's Art Center, the Museum of Modern Art, and at the City University of New York, Hunter College and New York University[1] in Manhattan during the last ten years of his life.

Baziotes and his wife Ethel, whom he married in 1941,[1] lived in the Morningside Heights area of northern Manhattan until his death from lung cancer[5] in June 1963, five days before his 51st birthday. During his lifetime, he and his wife shared a love of ancient Greek art and sculpture as well as the poetry of Charles Baudelaire. Many of his paintings are inspired by the latter's poetry as well as by ancient art.

Some of his famous works are Aquatic, Dusk, and The Room, all of which are in the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Notable awards[edit]

Notable exhibitions[edit]

William Baziotes, Paintings and Drawings, 1934–1962. Guggenheim Collection Venice, 2003–2004. Curated by Michael Preble, editor, William Baziotes Catalogue Raisonne. William Baziotes, A Retrospective. Newport Harbor Art Museum/Orange County Museum of Art. 1978. Curated by Michael Preble.

Notable collections[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "William and Ethel Baziotes papers, 1916-1992". Research collections. Archives of American Art. 2005. Retrieved 30 Jun 2011.
  2. ^ "Subject of the Artist | art school". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  3. ^ Chilvers, Ian; Glaves-Smith, John (2009). Subjects of the Artist School. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-923966-5. Retrieved 7 June 2020. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)
  4. ^ Breslin, p. 223.
  5. ^ "William Baziotes Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works - The Art Story".
  6. ^ "Collection Online".


  • Michael Preble 2005: William Baziotes. Skira Publishing.
  • Mona Hadler:2013 "Baziotes, Surrealism, and Boxing: 'Life in a Squared Ring,'" The Space Between: Literature and Culture, 1914–1945, IX,1 (December, 2013), pp. 119–138

External links[edit]