Irving Isaac Wolfson Biography

Irving Isaac Wolfson




Painter and printmaker Irving Wolfson was born on December 10, 1898, in New York City. As a child, Irving displayed exceptional artistic ability and was encouraged by his parents - with his father Benjamin himself a photographer - to pursue his creative interests. He would go on to win scholarships to three of New York’s finest art schools: the National Academy of Fine Arts, Cooper Union, and the Art Students League. His teacher and mentor, artist John Sloan, had a significant influence over Wolfson’s work, encouraging Wolfson to adopt everyday scenes as his primary subject matter. Additionally, Wolfson studied printmaking with well-known printmaker Joseph Pennell. He soon garned recognition as one of the country's leading etchers.

During World War II, Wolfson enlisted in the U.S. Army on November 11, 1942, and was assigned to Maxwell Field Army Air Corps Center in Montgomery, Alabama. Following the war he married Montgomery native Miriam Chester Williamson, whom he met previously at a USO dance. The couple remained in Montgomery, where Wolfson became well-known as a local portrait painter and was commissioned to paint Alabama First Lady Aurora Elmore Goode. He was also known for his painting of the inauguration of Alabama Governor Gordon Persons, and portraits of Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

Wolfson, who passed away in Montgomery in 1981 at the age of 83, was a resident of Montgomery for 40 years. Today his work can be found in the collections of several museums, including the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. His work has been widely exhibited across the United States and Europe.