Al Held

(1928-2005) Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1928, Held showed no interest in art until he left the Navy in 1947. Inspired by friend Nicholas Krushenick, Held enrolled in the Art Students League of New York, then, in 1949, using the support of the G.I. Bill, he went to Paris for three years, to learn at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. He returned to New York in 1953, and struggled with his work for several years.

After his first solo Abstract expressionist exhibition in 1959, Held's large scale paintings of colorful, simple abstract forms gained increasing recognition in America and Europe. In 1962, he was appointed to Yale University Faculty of Art (until 1980), and in 1966 was granted a Guggenheim Fellowship. Feeling that he’d reached the end of the potential of his style, in 1967 he shifted into black and white images that dealt with challenging perspectives and “spatial conundrums.” Some dismissed this as disorienting, while others declared it his finest work to date. In the late 70’s he re-introduced color to his work.

In his later years, he was making significant commissions. In 2005, he completed a large colorful mural in the New York City Subway system, at East 53rd Street and Lexington.

red ghost
Ghost ACI 6
1960
Acrylic on paper mounted on board
22 1/2 x 35 inches

Ghost Installs
(From left to right)

ACI.7 (Ghost)
1960
Acrylic on paper mounted on board
22-1/2 x 35 inches

ACI.2 (Ghost)
1960
Acrylic on paper mounted on board
22-1/2 x 35 inches

H-60-2
H-60-2
1960
India ink on paper
14 x 17 inches

Inks install

From left to right:

60-282
c. 1960s
Ink on paper
18 x 24 inches

60-114
c. 1960s
Ink on paper
18 x 24 inches

60-283
c. 1960s
Ink on paper
18 x 24 inches