BHNY Fine Art


Alfred Russell (1920-2007)

Alfred Russell was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1920. He received his MFA from the University of Michigan, and earned a master’s degree in art history from Columbia University. Russell also studied at the Art Students League, and with Stanley William Hayter’s renowned print studio, Atelier 17, in New York and Paris. Throughout the late 1940’s and early 50’s, Russell gained recognition as part of the Abstract Expressionism movement, exhibiting his work in New York and Paris alongside William De Kooning, Ad Reinhardt, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko. He had several solo shows at the Peridot Gallery in New York, and appeared in exhibits at the Whitney Museum, the Sidney Janis Gallery, and the Kootz Gallery. During this time Russell also began teaching at Brooklyn College. In the early 1950’s Russell began to feel disenchanted with Abstraction and in 1953, at a symposium on the human figure, he denounced Abstraction and the Art World, especially what he called the, “bureaucratization of the avant garde”. In 1955, he moved to Paris and immersed himself in the classical arts. Russell eventually returned to New York and resumed his teaching at Brooklyn College. Many of his students, including Gabriel Laderman, became a new force in figurative painting in America. Russell retired from teaching in 1975, but continued to travel and paint. He died in New York in 2007.