LILLIAN ORLOWSKY: The Signature is in the Work
PAAM 2007 exhibition catalogue
Lillian Orlowsky painter, teacher, curator, critic, mentor, benefactor (1914-2007)
I was fortunate to have taken part in one of the most important periods of art in this century. The 1930s through the 1950s saw a cultural upheaval where diverse concepts in painting went from one extreme to another: from Realism to Abstraction. In the forefront were the WPA (Works Projects Administration –Art Project) and in some measure the Provincetown Art Association. They promoted cultural awareness of the different pictorial concepts which were the beginning of the changing scene of plastic expression.
The WPA was a great innovative idea that gave me and other artists the opportunity to concentrate on our work. It was unique in the history of American art and responsible for many murals and easel paintings which became government property. The artists received a weekly salary plus artist’s materials. We would gather to pick up our checks at 110 King Street in Manhattan. Since there was always a long wait, we had time to talk about the current art scene. It was there that I learned of Hans Hofmann.
The Hofmann School and the influx of European artists opened my sensibility to new horizons. These associations changed my visual perception. I no longer saw painting as an imitation of nature, but, instead, as an attempt to interpret nature on the picture plane.