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Bernard Harper Friedman papers, 1926-2011, bulk 1943-2010

Biographical Note

Bernard Harper Friedman (1926-2011), a writer best known as the author of the first biography of Jackson Pollock, was also an art critic and art collector involved in the cultural life of New York City.
Bernard Harper Friedman, known professionally as B. H. Friedman, was called Bob by family and friends. After interrupting his studies at Cornell University to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he graduated in 1948 with a degree in English. Friedman and his new bride, fellow student Abby G. Noselson (1926-2003), returned home to New York City and he began a real estate career in his uncles' firm, Uris Buildings Corporation. While a businessman, Friedman spent much of his spare time writing. He produced fiction, plays, and criticism; Friedman's articles on art, literature and music appeared in a wide variety of periodicals. During this period, Friedman also pursued his interests in jazz, collecting abstract art, and psychedelic drug experiences with Timothy Leary.
His first published novel, Circles, about the Abstract Expressionist milieu, appeared in 1962. A year later, B. H. Friedman became a full-time writer. For nearly 20 years, he divided his time between New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he was affiliated with the Fine Arts Work Center as a director and consultant. During this period, he published several novels and two biographies: Jackson Pollock: Energy Made Visible and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, written with Flora Biddle. More novels and short story collections were published, and staged readings of seven plays were presented between 1987 and 2007. Tripping, a memoir of using psychedlics with Timothy Leary, appeared in 2006.
A founding member of Fiction Collective, a nonprofit publishing group run by and for writers, Friedman was also a member of several national writers' organizations. He served as a trustee of the Whitney Musuem of American Art, 1961-1968, and then as honorary trustee. B. H. Friedman died from complications of pneumonia on January 4, 2011 in New York City.