Philip Pearlstein
Birth Date: May 24, 1924

Artist Gallery
Born in Pittsburgh in 1924, Pearlstein attended a secondary school that encouraged special programs in the arts, also enrolling in Saturday morning art classes at Carnegie Institute. At Carnegie Pearlstein studied with both Samuel Rosenberg and Roy Hilton. When Pearlstein was drafted into the army in 1943, he was assigned to a training-aids unit in Florida, where he worked with experienced graphic design specialists. A military assignment in Italy enabled him to see the great art that was being brought out of wartime hiding. After the war he moved to New York City in the 50s where he studied at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. Pearlstein worked as a graphic designer for Life Magazine before becoming an instructor at the Pratt Institute, and then a professor at Brooklyn College; he has also served as a visiting artist at several prestigious institutions throughout the country. In 1962 he exhibited his first figural works but in a generally expressionist manner. His work soon evolved into an even, flat covering and his figures assumed a pale, anemic color. Whatever their race, their skin never glistens. Calling himself a “post abstractionist realist”, Pearlstein considers his figures” a constellation of still-life forms”. To underscore the abstract elements of his compositions, he often lets the frame cut through a head or part of a body and arranges his models in contorted poses. Pearlstein never idealizes, whether his subject is a female nude r a portrait of a robed college president. Sometimes he poses male and female nudes together in such a way as to deny even a suggestion of erotic attraction. He is trying, he explains, “simply to paint dynamic compositions that happen to involve nude people”. “It is what is painted between the outlines that makes the difference between merely competent painting and really meaningful art.” —Philip Pearlstein