Ibram Lassaw  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Ibram Lassaw (1913-2003) is an Egyptian American sculptor, known for nonobjective construction in brazed metals.


Lassaw was born in Alexandria, Egypt, of Russian émigré parents, he went to the U.S. in 1921. His family settled in Brooklyn, New York. He became a US citizen in 1928. He first studied sculpture in 1926 at the Clay Club and later at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design in New York. He made abstract paintings and drawings influenced by Kandinsky, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, and other artists. He also attended the City College of New York. Influenced by Alexander Calder's work Lassaw began to make sculpture in the 1930s.

During the mid 1930s, Lassaw worked briefly for the Public Works of Art Project cleaning sculptural monuments around New York City. He subsequently joined the WPA as a teacher and sculptor until he was drafted into the army in 1942. Lassaw's contribution to the advancement of sculptural abstraction went beyond mere formal innovation; his promotion of modernist styles during the 1930s did much to insure the growth of abstract art in the United States. He was one of the founding members of the American Abstract Artists group.

Lassaw is a sculptor closely associated with the New York School of Abstract expressionism during the 1940s and 1950s. Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, James Brooks, Willem de Kooning, and several other artists like Lassaw moved during the 1940s and 1950s to the Southern shore of the Eastern end of Long Island, New York, to live and work.

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