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Reuben Kadish: Earth Mothers

Reuben Kadish | Untitled | 1947 |

oil on canvas

44h x 27w in

Reuben Kadish | Untitled | 1947 |

oil on canvas

44h x 27w in

Eric Firestone Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition Reuben Kadish: Earth Mothers, a major survey on the significant postwar American sculptor and painter. With this exhibition, the gallery also announces exclusive representation of the Reuben Kadish Foundation.  The exhibition is curated in collaboration with the Reuben Kadish Foundation and its chairman, Judd Tully.

On view will be painting and sculpture by Reuben Kadish from the 1940s through the 1980s. It will be presented in an immersive exhibition design conceived by Volfram Art & Design. This is the first comprehensive survey of Kadish’s work in New York City since a 1985 show at the Artists' Choice Museum.  Included will be nearly 100 small, whimsical bronze figurines; the rare extant 1940s paintings; expressionist figurative sculptures of the 1950s and 60s; wall reliefs; monotypes depicting fantastical hybrid creatures; and monumental memorial heads of the 1980s. Kadish’s bronze sculptures are unique, made by lost-wax casting. 

After a studio fire in the late 1940s destroyed all but a few of his paintings, Reuben Kadish (1913–1992) stopped painting and transformed himself into a sculptor. His deeply scored terracotta and bronze sculptures are reflective of his Abstract Expressionist roots, even though they represent figures and heads. They are intense and haunting works, evoking Kadish’s ongoing concern with social justice, humanitarian issues, war crimes, and genocide. Rugged and monumental works, they feel as ancient as they are modern—reflecting a universal human condition and suggesting archeological discovery. Kadish has a singular and significant voice in the history of postwar American art. 

1985, Reuben Kadish in his studio. Photo, the Reuben Kadish Art Foundation

1985, Reuben Kadish in his studio. Photo, the Reuben Kadish Art Foundation

Reuben Kadish | Untitled | 1962 | bronze

26h x 21w x 4 1/2d in

Reuben Kadish | Untitled | 1962 | bronze

26h x 21w x 4 1/2d in

Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Reuben Kadish Harlan Phillips, Archives of American Art, 1964 

What I learned about technique, I learned after I left [David Alfaro Siqueiros]. I have a natural bent, let's say, to pick up technical solutions. I can do things with my hands. I know where to go to find the right book to get the right formula ... as far as I'm concerned, there is no mystery about techniques. Most of the things that we have done came out of the Stone Age. Bronze casting came out of the Stone Age... so it has been around for many thousands of years, including fresco painting.

- Reuben Kadish

Slide-Show

Slide-Show Thumbnails
Reuben Kadish

Gregor, 1965

Terracotta, wood and wire

17h x 30w x 15d in

43.18h x 76.20w x 38.10d cm

REUK009

Reuben Kadish

Gregor, 1965

Terracotta, wood and wire

17h x 30w x 15d in

43.18h x 76.20w x 38.10d cm

REUK009

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Earth Mother IV, 1968–69

Terracotta

60h x 35 1/2w x 8d in

152.40h x 90.17w x 20.32d cm

REUK153

Reuben Kadish

Earth Mother IV, 1968–69

Terracotta

60h x 35 1/2w x 8d in

152.40h x 90.17w x 20.32d cm

REUK153

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1962

Bronze

18 1/2h x 21w x 18d in

46.99h x 53.34w x 45.72d cm

REUK041

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1962

Bronze

18 1/2h x 21w x 18d in

46.99h x 53.34w x 45.72d cm

REUK041

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Jocasta III, 1967

Terracotta

26h x 12 1/2w x 13 1/2d in

66.04h x 31.75w x 34.29d cm

REUK021

Reuben Kadish

Jocasta III, 1967

Terracotta

26h x 12 1/2w x 13 1/2d in

66.04h x 31.75w x 34.29d cm

REUK021

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Azteca, 1980

terracotta

53h x 19w x 11 1/2d in

134.62h x 48.26w x 29.21d cm

REUK020

Reuben Kadish

Azteca, 1980

terracotta

53h x 19w x 11 1/2d in

134.62h x 48.26w x 29.21d cm

REUK020

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Holocaust series, head or spartacus, 1980

Terracotta

25 1/2h x 25 1/2w x 19d in

64.77h x 64.77w x 48.26d cm

REUK019

Reuben Kadish

Holocaust series, head or spartacus, 1980

Terracotta

25 1/2h x 25 1/2w x 19d in

64.77h x 64.77w x 48.26d cm

REUK019

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Brachy Cephalic, 1985

Terracotta

19h x 15w in

48.26h x 38.10w cm

REUK006

Reuben Kadish

Brachy Cephalic, 1985

Terracotta

19h x 15w in

48.26h x 38.10w cm

REUK006

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1967

Terracotta

34h x 19w x 13d in

86.36h x 48.26w x 33.02d cm

REUK185

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1967

Terracotta

34h x 19w x 13d in

86.36h x 48.26w x 33.02d cm

REUK185

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Seer I, 1966

Bronze

18h x 9 1/2w x 8 1/2d in

45.72h x 24.13w x 21.59d cm

REUK022

Reuben Kadish

Seer I, 1966

Bronze

18h x 9 1/2w x 8 1/2d in

45.72h x 24.13w x 21.59d cm

REUK022

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1960

Terracotta

20h x 18 3/4w x 15 1/2d in

50.80h x 47.63w x 39.37d cm

REUK186

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1960

Terracotta

20h x 18 3/4w x 15 1/2d in

50.80h x 47.63w x 39.37d cm

REUK186

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Dream, 1985

Bronze

25h x 18w x 16d in

63.50h x 45.72w x 40.64d cm

RKS-1315B

REUK016

Reuben Kadish

Dream, 1985

Bronze

25h x 18w x 16d in

63.50h x 45.72w x 40.64d cm

RKS-1315B

REUK016

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1960

Bronze with concrete plinth

23h x 12w x 9d in

58.42h x 30.48w x 22.86d cm

REUK002

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1960

Bronze with concrete plinth

23h x 12w x 9d in

58.42h x 30.48w x 22.86d cm

REUK002

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Gregor, 1965

Terracotta, wood and wire

17h x 30w x 15d in

43.18h x 76.20w x 38.10d cm

REUK009

Reuben Kadish

Gregor, 1965

Terracotta, wood and wire

17h x 30w x 15d in

43.18h x 76.20w x 38.10d cm

REUK009

Reuben Kadish

Earth Mother IV, 1968–69

Terracotta

60h x 35 1/2w x 8d in

152.40h x 90.17w x 20.32d cm

REUK153

Reuben Kadish

Earth Mother IV, 1968–69

Terracotta

60h x 35 1/2w x 8d in

152.40h x 90.17w x 20.32d cm

REUK153

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1962

Bronze

18 1/2h x 21w x 18d in

46.99h x 53.34w x 45.72d cm

REUK041

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1962

Bronze

18 1/2h x 21w x 18d in

46.99h x 53.34w x 45.72d cm

REUK041

Reuben Kadish

Jocasta III, 1967

Terracotta

26h x 12 1/2w x 13 1/2d in

66.04h x 31.75w x 34.29d cm

REUK021

Reuben Kadish

Jocasta III, 1967

Terracotta

26h x 12 1/2w x 13 1/2d in

66.04h x 31.75w x 34.29d cm

REUK021

Reuben Kadish

Azteca, 1980

terracotta

53h x 19w x 11 1/2d in

134.62h x 48.26w x 29.21d cm

REUK020

Reuben Kadish

Azteca, 1980

terracotta

53h x 19w x 11 1/2d in

134.62h x 48.26w x 29.21d cm

REUK020

Reuben Kadish

Holocaust series, head or spartacus, 1980

Terracotta

25 1/2h x 25 1/2w x 19d in

64.77h x 64.77w x 48.26d cm

REUK019

Reuben Kadish

Holocaust series, head or spartacus, 1980

Terracotta

25 1/2h x 25 1/2w x 19d in

64.77h x 64.77w x 48.26d cm

REUK019

Reuben Kadish

Brachy Cephalic, 1985

Terracotta

19h x 15w in

48.26h x 38.10w cm

REUK006

Reuben Kadish

Brachy Cephalic, 1985

Terracotta

19h x 15w in

48.26h x 38.10w cm

REUK006

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1967

Terracotta

34h x 19w x 13d in

86.36h x 48.26w x 33.02d cm

REUK185

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1967

Terracotta

34h x 19w x 13d in

86.36h x 48.26w x 33.02d cm

REUK185

Reuben Kadish

Seer I, 1966

Bronze

18h x 9 1/2w x 8 1/2d in

45.72h x 24.13w x 21.59d cm

REUK022

Reuben Kadish

Seer I, 1966

Bronze

18h x 9 1/2w x 8 1/2d in

45.72h x 24.13w x 21.59d cm

REUK022

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1960

Terracotta

20h x 18 3/4w x 15 1/2d in

50.80h x 47.63w x 39.37d cm

REUK186

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1960

Terracotta

20h x 18 3/4w x 15 1/2d in

50.80h x 47.63w x 39.37d cm

REUK186

Reuben Kadish

Dream, 1985

Bronze

25h x 18w x 16d in

63.50h x 45.72w x 40.64d cm

RKS-1315B

REUK016

Reuben Kadish

Dream, 1985

Bronze

25h x 18w x 16d in

63.50h x 45.72w x 40.64d cm

RKS-1315B

REUK016

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1960

Bronze with concrete plinth

23h x 12w x 9d in

58.42h x 30.48w x 22.86d cm

REUK002

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1960

Bronze with concrete plinth

23h x 12w x 9d in

58.42h x 30.48w x 22.86d cm

REUK002

Philip Guston, Reuben Kadish (and Jules Langsner), The Struggle against Terrorism, 1934-35. Center section of fresco at the Museo Michoacano, Morelia, Mexico. 40 ft. high. Photograph taken in 1935, probably by Casa Lopez Articulos Foto-graficos Revelado Impresion y Amplification, Morelia, courtesy of the Reuben Kadish Art Foundation

Philip Guston, Reuben Kadish (and Jules Langsner), The Struggle against Terrorism, 1934-35. Center section of fresco at the Museo Michoacano, Morelia, Mexico. 40 ft. high. Photograph taken in 1935, probably by Casa Lopez Articulos Foto-graficos Revelado Impresion y Amplification, Morelia, courtesy of the Reuben Kadish Art Foundation

Mr. Kadish, who was born in Chicago on Jan. 29, 1913, and reared in Los Angeles, started his career as a painter, studying with theWest Coast painter Lorser Feitelson while still a teenager. While attending the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, he formed close friendships with Jackson Pollock and Philip Guston, who would become Abstract Expressionists. Mr. Kadish's sculpture, made in either terra cotta or bronze, always had a strong Expressionist slant, but his interests in the figure and in social content kept his art representational. Collaborations on murals in 1933, Mr. Kadish apprenticed briefly as a fresco painter to David Alfaro Siqueiros, the Mexican muralist, and thereafter collaborated with Mr. Guston on murals in California and Mexico. While in Mexico, the Aztec sculpture of ancient Mexico made an indelible impression on him, as did the sculpture of India, which he encountered while working in Asia in the Army Artist Unit in the last two years of World War II. After the war, he moved to New York City. In 1946, to support his family, he bought a dairy farm in Vernon, which he operated for 10 years. During this period, he stopped painting and eventually took up sculpture. In 1961, he had his first one-man show in New York City and began teaching art at Cooper Union.

- Roberta Smith

 Philip Guston, at left, Reuben Kadish, and Jules Langsner with The Struggle. against Terrorism. Detail of 1935 photograph, prob-. ably by Casa Lopez Articulos Fotograficos Revelado Impresion y Amplification, Morelia. Photo, the Reuben Kadish Art Foundation

 Philip Guston, at left, Reuben Kadish, and Jules Langsner with The Struggle. against Terrorism. Detail of 1935 photograph, prob-. ably by Casa Lopez Articulos Fotograficos Revelado Impresion y Amplification, Morelia. Photo, the Reuben Kadish Art Foundation

Thumb-Show

Thumb-Show Thumbnails
Reuben Kadish

Grape Belly, 1975–76

Copper

4 1/2h x 4 1/2w x 1 1/2d in

11.43h x 11.43w x 3.81d cm

REUK137

Reuben Kadish

Grape Belly, 1975–76

Copper

4 1/2h x 4 1/2w x 1 1/2d in

11.43h x 11.43w x 3.81d cm

REUK137

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1947

Oil on canvas

52h x 44w in

132.08h x 111.76w cm

REUK004

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1947

Oil on canvas

52h x 44w in

132.08h x 111.76w cm

REUK004

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Untitled

5 1/2h x 1 1/2w x 2 3/8d in

13.97h x 3.81w x 6.03d cm

REUK136

Reuben Kadish

Untitled

5 1/2h x 1 1/2w x 2 3/8d in

13.97h x 3.81w x 6.03d cm

REUK136

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1947

Oil on canvas

67h x 44w in

170.18h x 111.76w cm

REUK005

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1947

Oil on canvas

67h x 44w in

170.18h x 111.76w cm

REUK005

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Double Snakehead

Bronze

4h x 1 3/4w x 2d in

10.16h x 4.45w x 5.08d cm

REUK069

Reuben Kadish

Double Snakehead

Bronze

4h x 1 3/4w x 2d in

10.16h x 4.45w x 5.08d cm

REUK069

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1945

Oil on canvas

11h x 40w in

27.94h x 101.60w cm

REUK188

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1945

Oil on canvas

11h x 40w in

27.94h x 101.60w cm

REUK188

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Untitled

4 3/4h x 2w x 2 3/4d in

12.06h x 5.08w x 6.99d cm

REUK170

Reuben Kadish

Untitled

4 3/4h x 2w x 2 3/4d in

12.06h x 5.08w x 6.99d cm

REUK170

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1980

Monotype

22h x 30w in

55.88h x 76.20w cm

REUK032

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1980

Monotype

22h x 30w in

55.88h x 76.20w cm

REUK032

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Untitled

Bronze

3 1/2h x 1 3/4w x 1 1/4d in

8.89h x 4.45w x 3.17d cm

REUK077

Reuben Kadish

Untitled

Bronze

3 1/2h x 1 3/4w x 1 1/4d in

8.89h x 4.45w x 3.17d cm

REUK077

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1980

Monotype

30h x 22 1/2w in

76.20h x 57.15w cm

REUK031

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1980

Monotype

30h x 22 1/2w in

76.20h x 57.15w cm

REUK031

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Aggressive Personage, 1977

Copper

4 3/4h x 1 3/4w x 2d in

12.06h x 4.45w x 5.08d cm

REUK110

Reuben Kadish

Aggressive Personage, 1977

Copper

4 3/4h x 1 3/4w x 2d in

12.06h x 4.45w x 5.08d cm

REUK110

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1980

Monotype

30h x 22w in

76.20h x 55.88w cm

REUK037

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1980

Monotype

30h x 22w in

76.20h x 55.88w cm

REUK037

Inquire
Reuben Kadish

Grape Belly, 1975–76

Copper

4 1/2h x 4 1/2w x 1 1/2d in

11.43h x 11.43w x 3.81d cm

REUK137

Reuben Kadish

Grape Belly, 1975–76

Copper

4 1/2h x 4 1/2w x 1 1/2d in

11.43h x 11.43w x 3.81d cm

REUK137

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1947

Oil on canvas

52h x 44w in

132.08h x 111.76w cm

REUK004

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1947

Oil on canvas

52h x 44w in

132.08h x 111.76w cm

REUK004

Reuben Kadish

Untitled

5 1/2h x 1 1/2w x 2 3/8d in

13.97h x 3.81w x 6.03d cm

REUK136

Reuben Kadish

Untitled

5 1/2h x 1 1/2w x 2 3/8d in

13.97h x 3.81w x 6.03d cm

REUK136

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1947

Oil on canvas

67h x 44w in

170.18h x 111.76w cm

REUK005

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1947

Oil on canvas

67h x 44w in

170.18h x 111.76w cm

REUK005

Reuben Kadish

Double Snakehead

Bronze

4h x 1 3/4w x 2d in

10.16h x 4.45w x 5.08d cm

REUK069

Reuben Kadish

Double Snakehead

Bronze

4h x 1 3/4w x 2d in

10.16h x 4.45w x 5.08d cm

REUK069

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1945

Oil on canvas

11h x 40w in

27.94h x 101.60w cm

REUK188

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1945

Oil on canvas

11h x 40w in

27.94h x 101.60w cm

REUK188

Reuben Kadish

Untitled

4 3/4h x 2w x 2 3/4d in

12.06h x 5.08w x 6.99d cm

REUK170

Reuben Kadish

Untitled

4 3/4h x 2w x 2 3/4d in

12.06h x 5.08w x 6.99d cm

REUK170

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1980

Monotype

22h x 30w in

55.88h x 76.20w cm

REUK032

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1980

Monotype

22h x 30w in

55.88h x 76.20w cm

REUK032

Reuben Kadish

Untitled

Bronze

3 1/2h x 1 3/4w x 1 1/4d in

8.89h x 4.45w x 3.17d cm

REUK077

Reuben Kadish

Untitled

Bronze

3 1/2h x 1 3/4w x 1 1/4d in

8.89h x 4.45w x 3.17d cm

REUK077

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1980

Monotype

30h x 22 1/2w in

76.20h x 57.15w cm

REUK031

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1980

Monotype

30h x 22 1/2w in

76.20h x 57.15w cm

REUK031

Reuben Kadish

Aggressive Personage, 1977

Copper

4 3/4h x 1 3/4w x 2d in

12.06h x 4.45w x 5.08d cm

REUK110

Reuben Kadish

Aggressive Personage, 1977

Copper

4 3/4h x 1 3/4w x 2d in

12.06h x 4.45w x 5.08d cm

REUK110

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1980

Monotype

30h x 22w in

76.20h x 55.88w cm

REUK037

Reuben Kadish

Untitled, 1980

Monotype

30h x 22w in

76.20h x 55.88w cm

REUK037

1985, Reuben Kadish at his studio. Photo, the Reuben Kadish Art Foundation

1985, Reuben Kadish at his studio. Photo, the Reuben Kadish Art Foundation

During the 60’s, Kadish’s wife, Barbara Weeks Kadish, actively pursued her life-long passion for archaeology at New York University, eventually heading NYU’s Pre-History Dig at Aphrodisias in Southwestern Turkey.

Julian, the youngest of their three sons, accompanied Barbara to Turkey for several of her summer expeditionary digs.

In 1962, Dan Kadish, the couple’s oldest son, married Philip Guston’s daughter, Musa Jane Guston.

Kadish created an impressive oeuvre of deeply scored terra cotta and bronze sculpture that was viscerally reflective of his Abstract Expressionist roots and hammered out a respectable exhibition career. It included stints with the Elaine Poindexter Gallery and Grace Borgenicht Gallery as well as two retrospective exhibitions at the Artists’ Choice Museum in SoHo (1985) and the New Jersey State Museum (1990).

But for a variety of complex reasons, some of it a result of his decidedly prickly and often combative manner, Kadish made a far larger impact on a generation of art students who passed through the great hall of Cooper Union than his career in the New York art world. 

Judd Tully, Chairman, Reuben Kadish Art Foundation

Kadish is represented in public collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In addition to the retrospective at the Artists Choice Museum, Kadish was the subject of solo exhibitions at the New Jersey State Museum (1990); the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center (2004); and the University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington (2018).