Morris Kantor Biography

Morris Kantor




Painter and printmaker Morris Kantor was born in Minsk, Belarus in 1896. At age ten he was brought to the U.S. where his father had previously located in Nyack, New York. Soon after his arrival Kantor began working in the garment district, and it wasn't until age twenty that he was able to afford courses at the Independent School of Art (now defunct). He frequently traveled to Paris where the burgeoening Cubist and Abstract Expressionist circles held sway, greatly influencing Kantor's style, whose roots were in realism. In Paris he became friends with fellow New York artist, sculptor Isamu Noguchi, whose own work was a source of inspiration to Kantor throughout his career.

By the mid 1930s he had established a career as both an artist and teacher, and held positions at both the Cooper Union and the Art Students League of New York, the latter of which he worked for from 1936 to 1975, two years before his death. For a time he also worked for the Federal Art Project as a supervisor for the Easel Oainting Project of Rockland County, New York. mong his students were Robert Rauschenberg, Susan Weil, Knox Martin, and Sigmund Abeles. Following the war, he maintained two studios, one in Manhattan and one in Cape Cod. 

Kantor received the Logan MEdal of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1931 and the Temple Medal of the University of Illinois in 1951. His work can be found in public and private collections throughout the U.S. and abroad, and is included in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Hirshhorn Museum, among others.