Esther Hamerman Biography

Esther Hamerman




Esther Hamerman was born in Wieliczka, Poland on September 21, 1881. After her marriage at age 18, she and her husband moved to Vienna, Austria. They were the parents of four daughters.

The family fled the Nazis in 1938, landing first in Trinidad, then the British West Indies. There, they spent the war years interned in a camp, managing to immigrate to the U.S. at the end of the war. Encouraged by her youngest daughter and son-in-law, Hamerman took up painting. Two of her works were entered in a national competition at the Whitney Museum in New York, winning a prize and beginning her career as a painter at the age of sixty.

In 1950 she moved to San Francisco, where her work was again well received. During her twelve years in the Bay Area, she had one-woman shows at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and the Oakland Museum of California. In 1963 she returned to New York in failing health, but continued painting and showing her work both in New York and California.

Esther Hamerman died in New York in April of 1977. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Santa Rosa Junior College, the Oakland Museum of California, the Judah L. Magnes Museum and The Ames Gallery in Berkeley are among the places that featured her work in one-woman or group shows in the 1980s. Her family withdrew her work from public view in 1993.