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Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman papers, circa 1930s-2006, bulk 1942-2005

Biographical Note

Chaim Koppelman (1920-2009) lived and worked in New York as a printmaker, educator, and Aesthetic Realism consultant. Painter, gallery director, Aesthetic Realism consultant, and educator Dorothy Koppelman (1920-) resides and works in New York City.
Chaim Koppelman was born in Brooklyn in 1920. Koppelman studied at the American Artists School with Carl Holty and at the Art Students League with Jose De Creeft and Will Barnet. Simultaneously, he began to study in classes taught by Eli Siegel, critic, poet, and founder of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism. In 1942, Koppelman was drafted in the U.S. Army. Before going overseas in 1943, he married Dorothy Myers. In the army, Koppelman continued his studies in painting and sculpture, where he attended the Art College in Western England, Bristol, and the Beaux Arts School in Reims, France. Chaim Koppelman took part in the Normandy invasion and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.
After Koppelman returned to New York in 1944, he studied at the Amédée Ozenfant School, where he eventually became Ozenfant's assistant. Around this time, Koppelman turned from painting and sculpture to printmaking. In 1955, Chaim Koppelman, his wife, Dorothy, and other artists and poets studying Aesthetic Realism established the Terrain Gallery. For many years, Koppelman was the head of the gallery's Print Division and then later became an advisory director.
Chaim Koppelman held a number of teaching positions in universities and arts institutions. He lectured at Brooklyn College, the Art Education Department from 1950-1960. In 1959, Koppelman founded the Printmaking Division at the School of Visual Arts, where he served on the school's faculty until 2007. At the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, he taught artists how to relate their artwork and their everyday lives. He wrote: "After having tested his aesthetic concepts in literally thousands of works of different periods, in different styles, in different media, I say that Eli Siegel's Theory of Opposites is the key to what is good or beautiful in art….When Eli Siegel showed that what makes a work of art beautiful—the oneness of opposites—is the same as what every individual wants, it was one of the mightiest and kindest achievements of man's mind."
Among the awards Chaim Koppelman received were: two Tiffany Grants, 1956, 1959; New York Artists Equity Annual Awards Honoring Will Barnet, Robert Blackburn, Chaim Koppelman, 1992; and the Purchase Prize, Art Students League in 2005. Koppelman was a member of the National Academy and a member of the Society of American Graphic Artists (SAGA). In 2004, SAGA presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to his solo and group exhibitions at the Terrain Gallery, Chaim Koppelman's work was featured at the Beatrice Conde Gallery, International Print Center (New York), Library of Congress, and Minneapolis Institute of Arts. His prints are in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art (New York), Metropolitan Museum of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the National Gallery.
In December 2009, Koppelman died at age 89 in New York City.
Born in 1920, Dorothy Koppelman attended Brooklyn College, the Art Students League, and American Artists School where she trained under Joseph Solman. During this time, she began to study poetry, and the relation of art and the self in classes with Eli Siegel, the founder of Aesthetic Realism.
Dorothy Koppelman has had a number of solo and group exhibitions at the Terrain Gallery. She has also shown her paintings at the Atlantic Gallery, Art Gallery of Binghamton, New York, Beatrice Conde Gallery, the Broome Street Gallery, and at MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, Newark Museum, the Whitney Biennial 2006 Peace Tower, the National Academy, and the Butler Art Institute.
Dorothy Koppelman has served on the faculty at several arts institutions: the National Academy, Brooklyn College School of Education, and the School of Visual Arts. She has given presentations on Aesthetic Realism at the Fondazione Piero della Francesa in Italy, and with Carrie Wilson at the 31st World Congress of the International Society for Education through Art (InSEA). On August 16, 2002, in a talk given on Eli Siegel Day in Baltimore, she said, "Eli Siegel explained the true meaning of art for our lives. No one—no scholar, no artist, no person—in all the centuries ever saw this before: that we can learn about ourselves from the very technique of art!...He showed that far from being in a separate world, art has the answer to the trouble in this one."
She is a member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Contemporary Artists and New York Artists Equity. She has received an Honorable Mention from the Brooklyn Society of Artists, 1957; a Tiffany Grant for painting, 1965; and awards from the American Society of Contemporary Artists, 1996, 1999. Dorothy Koppelman's work has been included in the collections of Hampton University, Virginia; Rosenzweig Museum, Durham, North Carolina; New-York Historical Society; Yale University; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, as well as other institutions.
Dorothy Koppelman lives in New York City. She is a consultant on the faculty of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, where she also teaches the Critical Inquiry, a workshop for artists. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, and is President of the Eli Siegel/Martha Baird Foundation. She continues her study in classes with Ellen Reiss, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education.