Zola Marcus Biography

Zola Marcus



Painter, ceramicist, and printmaker Zola Marcus was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1915. Marcus’ education began without a focus on art, attending Cornell University in 1932 for general education. However, as his interest in art evolved, his pursuit of education broadened to include more than formal schooling. He attended the National Academy of Design (1934- ’35) and the Art Students League (1937) through funding by the Federal Arts Project. Following this, he attended the 1941 Summer Program at the Cummington School of the Arts. Here, he added woodcut printmaking to his oeuvre, illustrating two books of poetry by fellow students ("White Christmas Yarn: A Poem", Helen Halsey, Cummington Press, 1941; "From This Hill", collection of poetry, Cummington Press, 1941). When the U.S. entered World War II, Zola enlisted in the Army and, as a Sergeant First Class, executed two murals for the War Department at Fort Nix Army Air Force in 1941.

He attended the Hans Hoffman School of Fine Arts from 1946-47, studying under Hoffman and Ferdinand Leger. It wasn’t until 1947 that Marcus enrolled at the New School for Social Research, where he graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts in 1949.

A major turning point in Marcus’ career from representational works to Abstract was upon his attendance at the Summer Institute at Black Mountain College, in the early 1950s. Following a sojourn to Europe from 1949 to 1950, to study with Leger and others in Italy and France, he returned to the States and enrolled in painting classes taught by Joe Fiore and Esteban Vicente, and ceramics courses with Peter Voulkos, Daniel Rhodes, and Warren MacKenzie.

In addition to a prolific career as an artist, Marcus taught from the 1950s until late in life. From 1954 to 1965 he was Instructor in Creative Design, Art History, and Aesthetics at NYC Community College (State Univeristy of New York); Instructor in Painting, New School for Social Research (1956); Teacher of Fine Arts, Julia Richman High School, Erasmus High School, New Dorp High School (1956 – 1969), and Chairman of Fine Arts Department, Theodore Roosevelt High School, Bronx, NY (1969 – 1977).

Zola Marcus died in Manhattan, New York, NY on January 12, 1998.

Exhibitions and Collections:

1941 War Department: Two large mural installations at Ft. Dix Army Air Force Base, NJ

1941 One Man Show – Number 10 Gallery, E. 56th Street, NYC

1942 Grand Prize for Painting, Group Show – Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH

1943 Ohio Watercolor Society Group Show – Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, OH; Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Columbus, OH

Group Show – Luyber Gallery, E. 57th Street, NYC

1950 One Man Show – Galerie Mai, Paris, France

1951 Group Show – Artists Equity Exhibition, Arthur Brown & Bros., NYC

1952 One Man Show – The New School for Social Research, NYC

1966 One Man Show – Alonzo Gallery, NYC