To see work by Sam Glankoff is to witness firsthand the rise of abstract art in America. Beginning with the figure, Glankoff pursued an ongoing curiosity of material invention. Figures that began as true narrative depictions emerge toward the end of his work as energetic pictographs set against a painterly backdrop of articulated color. In addition to works on canvas, delicate paintings on paper often set in grid formation characterize his style and unique process.
Sam Glankoff (1894-1982) was a New York-based, American artist whose innovative techniques and contributions to the enduring language of abstract expressionism have earned him a distinct place in the history of modern art.
Primarily a self-taught painter, Glankoff was also an accomplished woodcut artist. Technically innovative, decidedly individualistic and, by his own choice, routinely isolated from the broader society and art world he found so distracting, Glankoff developed an original technique that combined aspects of print-making and painting in an all-new, modernist genre. Glankoff invented "print-paintings," richly layered works made with colored, water-based inks applied to delicate Japanese papers. Joining several sheets of paper together to create large-format works, he produced eloquent abstractions whose primordial symbols, bold brushstrokes and spiritual energy found affinities with both the monumental art forms of ancient civilizations and the aspirational expressions of the art of his time.