Albert Alcalay Biography

Albert Alcalay




Painter, printmaker, sculptor, and educator Albert Alcalay was born to Serbian parents in Paris, France, on August 17, 1917. As a young child his family returned to Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia), where Alcalay received private art lessons and studied architecture in secondary school. With the outbreak of World War II he was sent to Italy with the Yugoslavian Army; unfortunately, it wasn't long before they surrendered, and Alcalay was taken to the Ferramonti internment camp, where he remained until the end of the war in 1945. 

Upon his release, Alcalay remained in Italy, moving to Rome where he pursued art once more with a focus on painting. In 1951 he emigrated with his wife, Vera,  to the United States, settling in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. He had his first solo exhibition at the Swetzoff Gallery and in 1959 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and from 1960 to 1982 he taught art at Harvard University. He would continue to exhibit in the U.S. and abroad, with shows in New York, Washington, D.C., California, Serbia, South Africa, Italy, Greece, and France. He continued to live and work in Massachusetts until his death on March 29, 2008.

Alcalay's work is held in the collections of the University of Massachusetts; Smith College; the Museum of Modern Art (NY); the Museum of Modern Art (Rome); the Fogg Art Museum; and Simmons College, among others.