Chaim Koppelman Biography

Chaim Koppelman




Chaim Koppelman, painter, printmaker, and sculptor, was born on November 17, 1920, in Brooklyn, New York. He began his formal study of art in the Works Progress Administration classes at the Brooklyn Museum in 1936, and continued at Brooklyn College, the Educational Alliance, and the American Artists School. Koppelman studied sculpture with William Koss, abstract painting with Carl Holty, and lithograpy with Eugene Morley.

In the early 1940s, Koppelman worked at the Museum of Non-Objective Painting on 54th Street in Manhattan (now known as the Guggenheim Museum) with Jackson Pollock. In 1942, he was drafted into the United States Army and worked as a radio weatherman during World War II, guiding ships through the rough waters of the English Channel, which was a critical part of the Invasion of Normandy. Before the invasion, he had been able to study at the Art College of Western England in Bristol, and later at the École des Beaux-Arts in Reims.

Upon returning to New York, Koppelman continued his study of Aesthetic Realism with poet and critic Eli Siegel. Under the G.I. Bill, he studied at the Amédée Ozenfant School and became Siegel's assistant. In the early 1950s Koppelman was part of Stanley William Hayter's Atelier 17 in New York. In 1955, the Terrain Gallery opened, Dorothy Koppelman was the founding director and Chaim Koppelman was the print curator and together they mounted major print exhibitions. Later in the decade, he worked at the Printmaking Workshop founded by Robert Blackburn and Will Barnet and, in 1959, he began the Printmaking Department at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, where he taught until 2007. In 1964 Koppelman opened his own studio and graphic workshop, the Broome Street Workshop, pioneering the SoHo artists' community. In 1967 the Terrain Gallery held the exhibition All Art Is for Life and Against the War in Vietnam to benefit napalm-burned and crippled Vietnamese children. The exhibition included the work of 105 painters, sculptors, printmakers, and photographers.

Koppleman was named an Associate in National Academy of Design in 1978 and a full Academician in 1991, and he was a member of the Society of American Graphic Artists and had served as president. His works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum, the Yale University Art Gallery, the United States Embassies in Europe, the Library of Congress, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Caracas, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the National Gallery in Washington, DC, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Chaim Koppelman died on December 6, 2009, in New York City.