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Post Surrealism

Family History
Manual Arts H.S.
Otis Art Institute
D.A. Siqueiros
Post Surrealism
New York
The New Deal
1950 to 2000
The Song of Love, 1914
Giorgio de Chirico
Museum of Modern Art

In 1933, after Siqueiros left Los Angeles, Lehman met Lorser Feitelson and started working with him. In a Los Angeles Times (9/17/33) review of drawings, the chief Art Critic, Arthur Millier writes about the influence that Feitelson had on a group of artists at the time. "One after another I encounter young artists who have learned from his Shop of knowledge, secrets of drawing and painting which help their own works to blossom. Harold Lehman is one of these."

Later in the article he reviews Lehman's exhibit at the Stanley Rose Gallery in Hollywood.

"The connoisseur of drawing should run swiftly to secure Mr. Lehman's pencil study of a sleeping woman, an exquisite thing, graceful, expressive and unmannered. His drawings show Lehman to be a sensitive artist, reverencing and understanding the drawing of the masters...[He also shows]a self portrait which, in its simplicity and honesty, might stand as a portrait of the young artists of this generation." (Self Portrait, 1933 shown on the upper right.)

Lehman's greatest influences came from Michaelangelo, El Greco, Piero dello Francesca, Rembrandt, and Chinese and African sculpture. Among the modern surrealists, he admired the work of Pablo Picasso and Giorgio de Chirico. Total abstraction did not appeal to him.

In 1934, Salvador Dali had just had his first exhibit in the United States. He stirred up much interest and publicity. During this time, Lehman bought a small book written by Dali called Conquest of the Irrational which contained many illustrations of Dali's best work. Concurrently, he was also reading Freud and the Gestalt School of psychologists. The essence of Gestalt was figure-ground relationships.

According to Lehman, "this fit right in with the Surrealist practice of ambiguity and ways of seeing reality. All this appealed to me as a new means of expression and when Feitelson claimed to be taking Surrealism one step further, I was ready for it."

By 1934 when Lehman painted his first Surrealist picture, he was already quite knowledgeable about the development of painting. He had already done Renaissance style mural painting and frescos, and expressionist-realist oil painting.

Self Portrait,1933
Self Portrait
Harold Lehman, 1933
Portrait in Pencil
Harold Lehman
Los Angeles, CA 1933
  Portrait of A Dancer Plus A Sculptor
Portrait of a Dancer
Plus a Sculptor

Harold Lehman
Los Angeles, CA 1934

In 1934 Lehman painted the surrealist work, Portrait of a Dancer Plus a Sculptor. It was first shown at the San Diego Gallery of Fine Arts and, along with the Landlady painted in 1933, soon traveled to the Santa Barbara Museum and several other galleries in northern California. In 1935, Lehman had his first one-man show at Jake Zeitlin's Gallery in Los Angeles. In a Los Angeles Times review (7/29/34), Arthur Millier writes: "It's worth the trip down to see what our artists are doing." He goes on to say how Portrait of a Dancer and Sculptor is one of the two most commented works in the show; "...a huge 'super-realistic' canvas by Harold Lehman".

By the end of 1935, Lehman was included in the first issue of Who's Who in American Art.

  • See photos from the 2002 Post Surrealist exhibit.
  • Read article published in Art In America (January 1996) by Michael Duncan about Post-Surrealist exibit Pacific Dreams and Harold Lehman's painting Portrait of a Dancer Plus a Sculptor.

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