Hyman Katz Biography

Hyman Katz

1899-1970

Biography

Hyman (Chaim) Wiliam Katz, painter and printmaker, was born in Poland in 1899. His family immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900s. He studied under William Auerbach Levy and Kenneth Hayes Miller, producing his first prints in the 1920s. His family was poor and what connections were afforded to more well-situated students in the art world were not in reach for him. However, with the advent of the Works Progress Association (WPA) he found employment as an artist, with studio space and supplies provided by the government and classes run by leading artists of the time. Katz was employed by the New York branch of the WPA's Federal Art Program, which commissioned several etchings from him.   

 

Katz's focus was on the daily lives of the people around him, realism and social realism, subjects of particular interest to many artists of the Depression era and which often resonated with the economically struggling public. However, Katz' style was unlike most of his peers: while many moved toward Abstract Expressionism and the glamour of sharp, industrial scenery, Katz was more formal and classical in his expression, employing softer, more subtle tonality to his work and often depicting quiet domestic scenes. It wasn't until much later that his work was recognized for its significance.

 

Katz died in Englewood, New Jersey in 1970.