Al Held biography
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1928, Held showed no interest in art until he left the Navy in 1947. 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 Acadamie de la Grande Chaumi¸re. He returned to New York in 1953, and struggled with his work for several years.
After his first solo Abstract expressionist exhibit in 1959, Held's large-scale paintings of colorful, simple yet abstract geometric forms gained increasing recognition in America and Europe. In 1962, he was appointed to the Yale University Faculty of Art, 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. By the late 70's, he re-introduced color to his work.
In 2005, he completed a large, colorful mural in the New York City Subway system, at East 53rd Street and Lexington. Al Held died in 2005 at his villa near Camerata, Italy.