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De Hirsh Margules papers, 1888-2001, bulk 1923-1965

Biographical Note

De Hirsh Margules (1899-1965) was a painter in New York, NY. Margules was born in Jasse, Romania and arrived in New York City at only ten months of age. His parents were in the Yiddish Theater; his father, Edouard was a playwright/director, and his mother, Rosa, was an actress. Margules received much of his art education outside of the conventional art institutional framework. Early on, he studied with Edwin Randby in Pennsylvania from 1917-1918, but it was really his neighbor, the painter Benno Greenstein, who encouraged Margules to pursue a career in the arts. From 1919-1921 he studied period architecture, design and decoration at the New York Evening School of Art and Design.
By 1922, Margules began working nights as a police reporter for the City News Association of New York, a job he would hold until 1942. However, he continued to study and paint during the day, this time working with Myron Lechay.
In 1927 Margules took a leave of absence from the City News Association to travel to Paris. He studied at the Musée du Louvre, and painted landscapes in Montmartre, Paris; Fontenay-près-Vézelay, Burgundy; and Tunis, Africa. In 1929 Margules returned to New York and met artist/dealer Alfred Stieglitz, who quickly became his most trusted friend and advisor. It was through Stieglitz that Margules was introduced to John Marin, Georgia O'Keeffe, Paul Rosenfeld, Stuart Davis and Jan Matulka. While Margules would benefit from his relations with all of these artists, it was John Marin who would become his most important mentor. He felt that Marin was the only one who could help him with the formal problems he was having with painting.
Margules lived most of his life in Greenwich Village and was a well-known member of the colorful and vivacious arts community. He was commonly recognized by his affable demeanor, but mostly it was his attire, particularly the dark blue beret that he was rarely seen without. To his friends he was known simply as "the Baron."
De Hirsh Margules has been called an abstract realist. He used saturated colors and bold textures in the construction of his abstract landscapes, but more specifically it was his interest in the concept of "time painting" or "time perspective" that propelled his work. It was through the physical rendering and representation of his subject matter that he explored the psychological concepts of time. From 1936-1937 Margules established "Another Place," an exhibition space set up in his New York City apartment at 43 West 8th Street. Over a two year period there were fourteen solo-exhibitions by Margules and other artists.
He taught painting in 1951 at Ball State College in Muncie, Indiana, and at the New York Equity Workshop in 1952. In 1951 Elaine de Kooning wrote a piece about his working methods in the December edition of Art News.
De Hirsh Margules died from a heart attack in 1965. He was 65 years old.