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THE ROSE HERTZBERG LEGACY   

About Rose Hertzberg

The late Rose Hertzberg, an award-winning painter and sculptor, who lived in Ramsey, NJ for 48 years, was born and raised in Paterson, NJ. Mrs. Hertzberg’s first serious teachers were the recently rediscovered WPA muralist and illustrator, Abram Champanier (her uncle), and his friend, the respected Japanese expatriate, influential painter Yasuo Kuniyoshi. In the late 1940’s, she studied with the pioneering post-impressionist, painter Ben Benn. Hertzberg came to abstraction at the Art Students' League, but it was through her private studies, in the mid 1950s, with Hans Hofmann, the great dean of American abstract expressionism, that she acquired her special understanding of the discipline. Rose always cited Hofmann as the artistic genius who opened to her the limitless possibilities of abstraction. She continued her studies at the League with such notables as Will Barnett, Vaclav Vytlacil and Morris Kantor; in fact, she continued to study, explore new techniques and to experiment with new media throughout her career. Although Rose returned from time to time to representational, figurative and impressionist approaches, abstract expressionism remained her focus almost until her passing in January, 2002 at the age of 93.

Starting with the 1940s, Mrs. Hertzberg received many international and American awards and had over 30 solo shows. Her invitational hangings numbered in the hundreds. Hertzbergs were exhibited in Spain, Italy, the UK and Venezuela; from New York and Buffalo to Santa Fe and LA and at the New Jersey Pavilions in two World’s Fairs. Her Music series of ground breaking oil paintings were part of a special exhibit at New York’s Lincoln Center. Many exhibits of her pioneering, torn-paper collage at galleries sold out. Rose appeared in many national, juried group exhibitions. She also undertook special commissions, and her work hangs in private collections in Europe, Asia, the USA, Canada, and Latin America. A photo of "Bull Market," her award-winning watercolor, is in the permanent archives of the Smithsonian Institution.

Mrs. Hertzberg made art in a dazzling array of styles and media, by choice and at times by chance. In the late 1960s, advanced arthritis and an arm injury made it impossible for her to hold a brush at an upright easel. Not one to be deterred from her art, she lay huge canvases horizontally across saw horses, pointing her brush downwards and allowing the paint to pool on the flat canvas in thick layers. The result was a striking, unique style of abstraction, with depth and iridescent effects, seen vividly in her "Genesis" "Orb" and "Music" series. Later, upon being cured of arthritic pain, new artistic adventures intervened. One of these was the challenge to create art without color, line, or shades of gray, producing stark white-on-white relief collages – three-dimensional, multi-media "Gessoes". Some of the works were longer or higher than her own height (4’, 9-10" in stocking feet.) Nor did her diminutive size deter her from making prints in a wide variety of sizes, using a press that would have daunted a weightlifter.

Foot surgery and later open-heart, valve-replacement surgery at the age of 81 limited her ability to stand for long periods. Her drive to express and to create led her to remain seated while exploring new directions in materials, media and style - developing the new technique of "Torn Paper Collage." - art out of paper itself. These abstract shapes in carefully torn (sometimes -cut) colored and painted papers were imposed upon each other to provide an illusion of depth as well as subtle and bold contrast of color and form. Later Rose chose to make her own handmade, poured and/or screened pulp paper. This produced a variety of effects from wistfully familiar and abstract sculpted forms to very delicate sheets incorporating dried plant material and other objects found in nature or with man-made textiles and materials. Such pioneering, low relief constructions opened new vistas in collage, which later became very popular with other artists.

Mrs. Hertzberg continued as well to pursue printmaking, pastel, watercolor and ceramic sculpture. Rose often made works in series of ten or fifteen, varying a common theme and common materials. In her final years, she spent most of her time with collage, furthering her work in poured paper.

While living in Ramsey with her husband Walter, Hertzberg was socially and professionally, active. They were founders of the Ramsey Synagogue. She taught art in her Ramsey home studio for years, and was a founding member of the NJ Modern Artists’ Guild. She was also a member of other important artists associations. She was very proud of her membership in ALTRUSA, the professional women’s service group. Rose and Walter Hertzberg traveled widely throughout Europe, the USA and Latin America. In the 1960s and 1970s, they settled down for several months each year in Spain, where the mountain landscape became a strong visual influence on Rose’s artwork. The first posthumous exhibitions of her work were conducted at the Ramsey, NJ Free Public Library which held two consecutive retrospectives in November and December, 2003.


 

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Top of this page Awards:

  • Greenblatt Memorial Award, National Association of Women Artists, oils, ‘83
  • Medal of Honor, N.A.W.A., watercolor, 1979
  • Grumbacher Award, Painters and Sculptors Society, oils, 1979
  • Irene Sickle Feist Award, National Academy, N.A.W.A., oils, 1977
  • Grumbacher Award, Jersey City Museum, Painters/Sculptors Society, oils, ‘76
  • Memorial Award, National Academy, N.A.W.A., oils, 1975
  • Monmouth College, Invitational Winner Award, Cannes, France, 1969
  • Freylinghausen Award, New Jersey Water-color Society, 1968
  • National Academy, Travel Shows, American Water-color Society, 1968
  • Hunterdon County Museum, first prize, oils, 1967
  • Mary S. Litt Award, American Water-color Society, 1966
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University, second prize, oils, 1964 & 1965

Top of this page Bibliography:

  • World's Who's Who of Women
  • Who's Who in American Art
  • Numerous other anthologies
  • Will Grant review, ARTSPEAK, 1984
  • Review, Newark Star Ledger, 1982
  • Eileen Watkins review, Newark Star Ledger, 1981
  • Dr Alfred Werner, review, Hertzel Institute, exhibition catalog, 1968
  • Michael Lenson, review, Newark News, 1968
  • Marieruth Campbell, review, Journal News, Rockland County, 1968
  • France-Amerique, review, New York, 1965

 

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Top of this page Professional Affiliations:


For information, to view the catalogue, or to inquire

about current or future exhibits,  

 please contact:  Fran Hertzberg 201.767.9022

Email: hertzberg1@verizon.net

www.rosehertzberglegacy.org

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Last updated: October 6, 2012