Two years ago I wrote a “Sightings” column for The Wall Street Journal in which I described Arnold Friedman, who died in near-obscurity in 1946, as “the greatest artist you’ve never heard of.” I’d been writing about Friedman at odd intervals since 2003, when I made mention in my old “Second City” column for the Washington Post of an exhibition of paintings from the collection of Tommy and Gill LiPuma that included several of his canvases.
One of them, “Still Life (Petunias),” was also included in the Friedman retrospective that was the occasion for my “Sightings” column. It impressed me as much in 2006 as it had three years earlier: “In the foreground is a vase of flowers whose vibrantly colored petals all but burst off the canvas….Hanging on the wall immediately behind the vase is the lower half of an abstract painting–Friedman’s way of underlining the subtle relationship between abstraction and representation. The juxtaposition of the two genres is both witty and thought-provoking, unveiling fresh layers of implication at every glance.”
So why haven’t you heard of Friedman?…
Read the whole thing here.