Lawrence Edward Kupferman Biography

Lawrence Edward Kupferman




Painter and printmaker Lawrence Kupferman was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1909, the son of an Austrian Jewish immigrant. During high school he attended the Museum of Fine Arts' high school art program and the studied drawing at the Museum School. In 1932 he transferred to the Massachusetts College of Art, where he took courses in painting and printmaking.

To make ends meet while enrolled in school, Kupferman held several jobs including as a security guard at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and as a drypoint etcher for the WPA's Federal Art Project in their architectural drafting department. His personal work, in the meantime, leaned more and more toward abstract expressionism, and in the mid 1940s he spent his summers in Provincetown, where he met, among others, artists Mark Rothko, Hans Hoffman, and Jackson Pollak, whose works greatly influenced his own style. He said of his style, "I find relevance in the abstract, for it is the womb of existence."

Kupferman's dedication to the importance of the genre was such that he would later chair the Modern Artists Group, formed with the aim of fighting back against the Boston Instuitute of Modern Art's rejection of what they called "the excesses of modern art." Their manifesto was widely seen as a conservative attack on the non-representational evolution of modern art. After two years of debate, the Institute publically announced its affirmation of the important of modern and abstract art. 

Kupferman was a professor and later chair of the painting department of the Massachusetts College of Art, from which he retired in 1969. He continued to work and exhibit until his death in October of 1982.

His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Fogg Museum; and the Museum of Modern Art, NY.