De Hirsch Margules (1899-1965)


“So animate and vivacious a presence in American art…..we accede to his delight in boats, streets, piers, and flowers: all spinning about in a kinetic riot of sharp primary sensations. His paintings express the experience of living in New York City”.
-ArtNews, May 1961

De Hirsch Margules became an intrinsic part of the art world in New York City as early as 1929. His endearing friendship with Alfred Stieglitz, artist and major patron/dealer, allowed him the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the most renowned artists of the period, Stuart Davis, Jan Matulka, and John Marin. It was Marin who Margules looked up to as a mentor. “Marin was the only person he ever knew who could answer his questions about color, space, form, line movement; and it was from Marin he learned that what seems to come out of mysticism and wonder is rooted in knowledge and study and technique” (Pardoe 1994).

Margules sought to create a technique which would serve as a new artistic language for the third dimension of physical presence and the fourth dimension of time. His works have a transcendental quality about them, one which is inherent in perspective and in medium. The canvas’, which were divided into quadrants, observe “the phenomenon of visual time…the waxing and waning of light, changing all it envelops (King, 1963).” Other works effectively show his build-up of medium, ultimately expressing the tangibility of the object represented. The impact of the brilliantly vivid color combinations is meant to recreate the psychological impact of the time of day upon the viewer.

Margules spent his career alternating between his “time perspective” paintings and his watercolors. Ultimately within the construct of both mediums, Margules was able to prove himself amongst his contemporaries as a master colorist, abstractionist and explorer of the time continuum.

Within his lifetime career Margules had over thirty one-man shows, consistent representation at the Whitney Annuals from 1938-1956, and his work is currently in the permanent collections of major museums such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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