Friends of Nissan Engel // new york may 2017

Never Displayed masterpieces of Nissan Engel which represent his artistic transcendence will be on exhibition in New York starting May 16th, by appointment only.

His breakthrough came by adopting the invisible world of music as an inspired underpinning for creating dense mixed-media color abstractions on blotter paper which he worked with in his etching studio, La Metairie Bruyere. Within these late works you can experience the entire arc of Engel’s life and inspirations.

Everything Engel did over the decades preceeding these collages are in preparation for these masterpieces. This collection of original works from his Atelier were created in the last four years of his life. Engel was born in Haifa (1931) and studied at the Beaux Arts Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, Israel (1952-1956). Like many of the great masters, Engel received an academic training.

Throughout his years at The Bezalel Academy, Engel was a student of the great artist Mordecai Ardon and was influenced by the works of of Klee, Kandinsky, Feininger, Itten, and Doerner.

During Engel’s life Ardon remained one of his most cherished friends and teachers. Engel, like many Jewish artists moved to Paris where predecessors like Soutine, Modigliani, and Chagall had already formed a creative foundation in western art. Engel studied at The Centre Dramatique de l'Est in Strasbourg, where he would receive a degree in set design and costume for the theatre.

Later Engel would move to New York where The New York School Artists were also to become some of Engels greatest influences. Particularly Rauschenberg. While in New York, Engel became such a master of color he was commissioned to create stain glass windows for seven Synagogues throughout the United States between 1965 and 1975. In an interview with The New York Times Engel described the windows he created for The Sinai Temple in Lawrence by saying “Stained-glass windows live with you. That is why they belong in a house of worship”.

Engel later returned to France where he would create his collage masterpieces. In these painting collages, executed on loosely woven clouds of soft blotter paper, figures appear and disappear in painterly fugues, grand expansive symphonies, and intimate quartets of color pulsations. They are an uninhibited expression of his love for music and nature.

Nissan Engel’s final meditation on figuration, before his passing in 2016 takes the organic form of a single tree, painted on a white ground in which we can experience the love he felt for the small apple tree outside his studio in Normandy. This works pays hommage to Rembrandt’s Three Trees.

For private viewings please call Michael Bolla at 212-334-4855