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Bernard Brussel-Smith (1914-1989)

Brussel-Smith established himself as America’s foremost wood engraver, capturing the lives of the American urban working class during the 1940’s and 1950’s. He was widely known for his posters of the New York Auto Show in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He taught art classes at the Brooklyn Museum, Cooper Union, City College and the National Academy. In 1952 he was elected an Associate Member of the National Academy, and again in 1973.

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New York artist Bernard Brussel-Smith was born in Greenwich Village in 1914. He studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the New School for Social Research in New York. It was during his time at the New School that Brussel-Smith became interested in wood engraving and began a career in this demanding art form.

Brussel-Smith established himself as America’s foremost wood engraver, capturing the lives of the American urban working class during the 1940’s and 1950’s. He was widely known for his posters of the New York Auto Show in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He taught art classes at the Brooklyn Museum, Cooper Union, City College and the National Academy. In 1952 he was elected an Associate Member of the National Academy, and again in 1973.

Although Bernard spent most of his life in the New York area, he managed to travel widely and regularly spending many summers with his wife, Mildred, and son, Peter in Collonges-la-Rouge, France. From l957 to 1958 he studied with Stanley William Hayter in Paris, developing a form of relief etching inspired by the process used by William Blake.

In addition to the large holdings of prints at the Fairleigh Dickinson University Library and the Sterling Library of Yale University, Brussel-Smith’s work is also in numerous permanent collections including: the Boston Museum, the New York Historical Society, the New York Public Library, the National Academy of Design, the National Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the Library of Congress, the Hudson River Museum, the Carnegie Institute, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Farnsworth Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Free Library, the Oklahoma City Museum, the Boymans Museum in Rotterdam, and the Lenin Library in Moscow, Russia.


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