Gallery Artists > Herman Margulies Biography :

Herman Margulies (1922 - 2004)  Artworks >>

Herman Margulies, the eldest of four sons, was born on December 7, 1922, in Boryslaw, Poland, a prosperous city close to the Russian border. As a boy, Herman was precocious. He read the newspaper at age four and practiced drawing. His mother encouraged his talent. By age seven, drawing was his passion, and the dream to become an artist was well established. He learned to speak seven languages. In 1939, the Germans invaded Poland and the Hitler regime isolated the Jewish population. For a period, he and his family hid in the forest and deserted barns, self-made underground earth cellars. Eventually they were apprehended and sent away. Herman was seventeen. His mother and brothers were sent to Auschwitz, where they perished. Herman and his father were transported in cattle cars to Krakaw-Plaszow to labor, then to Mauthausen and finally Linz III. When the camp was liberated on May 5, 1945, Herman weighed 86 pounds. His father had died shortly before, and Herman was placed in a cloister that functioned as a survivors' hospital. A nurse recognized and remembered him from before the war. She brought him drawing supplies, which gave him the renewed hope of someday realizing his childhood dream. His motivations to live were strong, from his father's love in sharing his own food rations to save his son's life to the memory of a Hungarian girl, Ilona. Herman fell in love with her in the concentration camp. He overcame the depths of suffering with this promise of love. Herman later learned that Ilona too had survived and after years of separation they were married in Hungary in 1946. They moved to Belgium where he worked in a coal mine to support them. Although creativity was pervasive in everything he did, his desire to fulfill his dream was still there. Painting on the weekends was not enough. He left the Sterling Drug Company officially in 1985, to pursue this lifelong dream. "I wanted to become an artist. I wanted to start my dream, painting is my passion." His wife, Laura, supported him wholeheartedly. It was Laura who understood that pastel* was his medium and encouraged him. Since 1985, Herman painted full-time and tutored art students from around the world in the medium of pastel. Herman Margulies' work garnered more than 200 awards, including the Knickerbocker Gold Medal of Achievement and several exceptional Merit Awards from the Pastel Society of America*. Early on, he was named a Master Pastelist by the Pastel Society of America and in 2001 was inducted into its prestigious Hall of Fame. That same year, a full retrospective of his work titled "Four Seasons" exhibited at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. The National Arts Club* in Gramercy Park, New York, followed with a solo show of 75 different works. Dr. Louis Zona, director of the Butler, said of Herman, "Once one experiences the work of Margulies the medium of pastels takes on new significance. Clearly, Herman Margulies has become the undisputed master of pastel." In 1999, Herman wrestled with the onset of cancer. We were fortunate that he had a remission and was given five more years to live. "When I was sick, I was never alone," he would say. Despite his courageous efforts, the renowned American Impressionist painter, father and friend, died July 15, 2004. He was a longtime resident of Washington Depot in Litchfield County, Connecticut. He was omnipresent in Washington, seemingly always surrounded and revered by young people. A sharp intellect, progressive political views, and a social, youthful spirit, he acted as a magnet to all walks of life. In many recurring late night sessions at a local pub, Herman sipped his cranberry juice and chain smoked. He was always wearing his trademark ascot and thick Irish handmade wool sweater and he would give freely of his knowledge to those who had come. Source

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