Herbert Ferber (1906-2006)

Herbert Ferber (1906-2006)
Homage to Piranesi, 1965
Corten steel
19-1/2 x 12 x 11 inches (49.5 x 30.5 x 27.9 cm)
Incised with signature and date on the base
Placed side-by-side with Adolph Gottlieb's Apaquogue, Herbert Ferber's dynamic, calligraphic Homage to Piranesi asserts his role as the leading sculptor of the Abstract Expressionist generation. His path to these gestural, open forms, called "drawing in space," was somewhat circuitous. Initially Ferber trained to become a dentist; while studying in the late 1920s at the Columbia University Dental School, he took evening classes at the Beaux Arts Institute of Design, piquing his interest in sculpture. During the 1930s, he maintained a dentistry practice in New York City and, in his spare time, made rounded, figurative woodcarvings evoking Romanesque art and the contemporary work of Aristide Maillol and Gaston Lachaise. After seeing the sculpture of Henry Moore at the Curt Valentin Gallery in 1944, Ferber adopted a more massive, monolithic style and first experimented with abstraction in solid masses. From Moore, he also developed a rigorous preliminary drawing technique, for each sculpture making one or two quick concept drawings and then "full-blown wash drawings which generally are set in a vast landscape" (W. Agee, Herbert Ferber: Sculpture, Painting, Drawing:
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