Event (Nov 20): Biala + Edith: an evening of the art and letters at the Art Students League


Biala (1903-2000) in her courtyard, Paris, c. 1965. Photo: Henri Cartier-Bresson © Henri Carier-Bresson/Magnum Photos. Edith Schloss (1919-2011) at the Caffè Novecento, Rome, 2008. Photo: Sylvia Stucky

Biala + Edith: an evening of their art and letters

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


Art Students League
215 W 57th Street


Biala + Edith were internationally recognized for their art and historically respected for their often vocal opinions of the art world and the players who swayed influence. Both lived strikingly independent lives and this independence was reflected in their art, which in both cases assimilated Abstract Expressionism—the movement in which both artists were deeply enmeshed. Both artists attended the Art Students League: Biala in 1923 and Edith in 1942

This special evening will feature readings of letters from the archive of each artist selected by Jason Andrew, Director of the Estates of Biala and Edith Schloss, an a illustrated purview of their work. The charismatic character of both artists will be brought to life through the reading of the letters choreographer Julia K. Gleich.

Biala (1903-2000) was recognized in France and the United States for her paintings of intimate interiors, portraits, and the many places she traveled. A Polish émigré, Biala was born Schenehaia Tworkovska in a small village of Biala in 1903. She immigrated to New York with her older brother and both would soon become active in the early avant grade artist communities of Greenwich Village and Provincetown—Biala taking the name of her native town and Jack becoming a founding member of The Club. On a fateful trip to Paris in 1930, she met the English Novelist Ford Madox Ford. He would introduce her to everyone he knew including Gertude Stein, Picasso, and Matisse among others. She remained at his side until his death in 1939. Upon her return to New York, she quickly became a leading artist in Postwar America befriending Willem de Kooning. She would continue to divide her time, living and exhibiting between New York and Paris until her death in 2000.

Edith Schloss (1919-2011) was one of America’s great expatriate artists intrinsically linked to the milieu of postwar American art whose paintings, assemblages, collages, watercolors and drawings border on the bittersweet, fragile, intimate and naive. Born in Offenbach, Germany, Edith arrived in New York in 1942. She met the socialist Heinz Langerhans who introduced her to Fairfield Porter and Bertolt Brecht and through Porter she met Willem de Kooning, Edwin Denby, and Rudy Burckhardt (who she would marry in 1946). From the onset of the 1950s Schloss exhibited regularly in galleries lining 10th Street and summered in Maine where she befriended Alex Katz and Lois Dodd among others. Separating from Rudy, she left for Rome in 1962 with her young son with plans to stay for only three months; she stayed for a lifetime. Painter Cy Twombly and experimental musician Alvin Curran became her closest friends. An avid writer, she was a critic for The International Herald Tribune and feature art critic for Wanted in Rome. She passed away in 2011 on the eve of the opening of her exhibition, The Painted Song: new works by Edith Schloss and musical score by Alvin Curran.

Exhibition News: Biala featured in "Post-War Women" at ASL

Biala (1903-2000) The Bull, 1956, Oil on canvas, 43 x 54 ¾ in. (109.2 x 139.1 cm) Collection of the Estate of Janice Biala, New York

Post-War Women
curated by Will Corwin

November 2–December 1, 2019

Art Students League: The Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery
215 W 57th Street

In New York, Post-War Women is The Art Students League’s first exhibition to explore the vital contributions of alumnae on the international stage. On view at The Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery from November 2 to December 1, 2019, Post-War Women challenges the misperception that great art produced by women artists is somehow an exception rather than the rule.

Curator Will Corwin investigates the history of innovative art academies like The League that promoted democratic ideologies, which in turn created artistic opportunities for women of all social classes. This ground-breaking exhibition features over forty artists active between 1945-65, tracing the complex networks these professional women formed to support one another and their newfound access to art education.

Post-War Women presents work by some of the prominent artists of the 20th Century like Louise Bourgeois and Helen Frankenthaler, but more importantly it calls out the women who were not credited enough: Mavis Pusey, Kazuko Miyamoto, Olga Albizu and Helena Vieira da Silva – challenging a new generation of visitors and art students to KNOW YOUR FOREMOTHERS.

Featured Artists:

Mary Abbott

Berenice Abbott

Olga Albizu

Janice Biala

Isabel Bishop

Nell Blaine

Regina Bogat

Louise Bourgeois

Vivian Browne

Elizabeth Catlett

Elaine De Kooning

Dorothy Dehner

Monir Farmanfarmaian

Helen Frankenthaler

Perle Fine

Judith Godwin

Terry Haass

Grace Hartigan

Carmen Herrera

Eva Hesse

Faith Hubley

Lenore Jaffee

Gwendolyn Knight

Lee Krasner

Blanche Lazzell

Marguerite Louppe

Lenita Manry


Mercedes Matter

Kazuko Miyamoto

Louise Nevelson

Charlotte Park

Joyce Pensato

Irene Rice Pereira

Mavis Pusey

Faith Ringgold

Edith Schloss

May Stevens

Yvonne Thomas

Maria Viera da Silva

Lynn Umlauf

Merrill Wagner

Joyce Weinstein

Michael West

Lecture: Biala: The Woman Painter Among Men

^ Photo: Rudy Burckhardt, 1956

Biala: The Woman Painter Among Men
a special evening with curator Jason Andrew

Thurs, Jan 11, 6:30pm

RSVP (seating is limited)

Art Students League
215 West 57th Street

Painter Janice Biala (1903-2000), known to history primarily by her surname, was an integral figure in the art scene of mid-twentieth century Manhattan. Sister of painter Jack Tworkov, friend of Willem de Kooning and critic Harold Rosenberg, Biala was in the thick of a milieu that gave rise to the New York School. But before all that, she was the lover of the English novelist Ford Madox Ford.

Curator Jason Andrew will trace the remarkable life and art of Biala from her early days of hitch-hiking to Provincetown in the ‘20s, to jumping on a boat to Paris and later her dramatic escape from Nazi occupied France in the ‘30s, to her early support of Willem de Kooning and participation in the New York School in the ’40s. Above all, she left a history of painting noted for its sublime assimilation of the School of Paris and the New York School of abstract expressionism.

This lecture coincides with the exhibition Biala and the Harvey and Phyllis Lichtenstein Collection, on view through February 10 at Tibor de Nagy Gallery, 15 Rivington Street, New York