Lorser Feitelson

(1898 - 1978)

LAMA set the world auction record for any work by Lorser Feitelson on February 23, 2014 with Untitled (1964) realizing $62,500.

About The Artist


Before he was known as the “Father of Hard Edge,” Lorser Feitelson worked in contemporary movements throughout the early 20th century, namely Cubism and Post-Surrealism, and by the 1960s, his influence in the Los Angeles art scene was unmatched. His exposure to art began at an early age; Feitelson frequently visited New York City exhibits at institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Armory. He subsequently began sketching and painting on his own, displaying great command of the human form. As a teenager, he painted sophisticated cubist works in his Greenwich Village studio and later exhibited Post-Surrealist compositions in New York and Paris. His work throughout the 1930s and early 1940s–dreamlike interpretations of the female figure–remained consistently abstract, earning him exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Art as well as a teaching position at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1944.

Beginning in the mid-1940s, Feitelson’s figural drawings foreshadow the later abstracted shapes that dominate his Hard Edge paintings. According to curator Michael Duncan, “By deriving his hard-edged forms from the shapes of the human body and the physical world, Feitelson demonstrated a rigorous abstract and conceptual distillation of figuration that was ahead of its time.” From there, his paintings became increasingly minimal studies of color and the interaction of forms and space–he was developing his Hard Edge aesthetic. Throughout this transition, however, his fascination with the human body is filtered through a microscope. Sketches from the early 60s depict specific areas of the human body such as hands and torsos, which lead to paintings of undulating vertical lines that refer to the “angular gaps between fingers, the slope of a brow, and the curve of a hand.” He was included in the legendary exhibition “Four Abstract Classicists,” and before his death in 1978, his Hard Edge paintings brought him considerable acclaim. Feitelson’s works reside in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.


Duncan, Michael. “Lorser Feitelson’s Hard Edge Abstraction.” Lorser Feitelson and the Invention of Hard Edge Painting 1945-1965. West Hollywood: Louis Stern Fine Arts, 2003. 17-23. Print.
Hopkins, Henry T. “Lorser Feitelson: An Appreciation.” Lorser Feitelson and the Invention of Hard Edge Painting 1945-1965. West Hollywood: Louis Stern Fine Arts, 2003. 13-15. Print.