Morris Kantor
American artist



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Morris Kantor
American artist
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Morris Kantor brings love to his students

There's a bit of a debate on when exactly Kantor immigrated to the United States, some say 1906 and others list 1911, but either way he was very young. Little word on if he was alone or with relatives, but he managed to support himself and eventually earned enough money to enroll in art school at twenty. He would eventually go on to teach and his students include Susan Weil and her husband Robert Rauschenberg, and Knox Martin. The romantic in me would like to think that Kantor saw how much Robert liked Susan and had no idea how to approach her, so Kantor set up group projects in class and would partner them together. They’re all dead now so none of them can argue and I'm not even going to fact check their years at school to keep this fantasy of mine alive. Yay love!

In the 1920s he moved to Paris and made friends with Isamu Noguchi before returning to the States. 

His wife, Martha Ryther, was a fellow painter and made herself known with her delicate glass paintings.

At one point Kantor is quoted as saying "From the start I painted with a great freedom, working without hesitation or fear and entirely free from all influence of the masters, old and new." Seems pretty douchey to me ... Every artist is influenced in some way by their predecessors whether they want to or not. Accept your influences, man!




Photo: Consuelo Kanaga (American, 1894-1978). Morris Kantor, 1938. Toned gelatin silver photograph, 9 3/8 x 7 1/2 in. (23.8 x 19.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Wallace B. Putnam from the estate of Consuelo Kanaga, 82.65.384

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Morris Kantor

Morris Kantor (Belarusian: Морыс Кантор) was a Russian-born American painter based in the New York City area.


Born in Minsk on April 15, 1896, Kantor was brought to the United States in 1906 at age 10, in order to join his father who had previously relocated to the states. He made his home in West Nyack, New York for much of his life, and died there in 1974. He produced a prolific and diverse body of work, much of it in the form of paintings, which is distinguished by its stylistic variety over his long career.

Perhaps his most widely recognized work is the iconic painting "Baseball At Night", which depicts an early night baseball game played under artificial electric light. Although he is best known for his paintings executed in a realistic manner, over the course of his life he also spent time working in styles such as Cubism and Futurism, and produced a number of abstract or non-figural works.

Kantor found employment in the Garment District upon his arrival in New York City, and was not able to begin formal art studies until 1916, when he began courses at the now-defunct Independent School of Art. Later in his career, Kantor himself was an instructor at the Cooper Union and also at the Art Students League of New York in the 1940s, and taught many pupils who later became famous artists in their own right, such as Knox Martin, Robert Rauschenberg, Sigmund Abeles and Susan Weil. He married fellow artist Martha Ryther (1896–1981). He taught at the League from 1936 to 1972, until his illness prevented him from continuing to teach.

In addition to his downtown Manhattan studio adjacent to Union Square, he also maintained a studio on Cape Cod in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Like many American artists, in the 1920s he also spent time working in Paris, where his circle included sculptor Isamu Noguchi among others. The 1930s found him in the position of supervisor of the Federal Art Project's Easel Painting Project in Rockland County, New York. In the 1940s some of his summers were spent in Monhegan, Maine. He was active in sketching and drawing through the early 1970s, until shortly before his death. He died at the age of 77, after battling a two-year illness.

Kantor's work is on display in many prominent museums, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Hirshhorn Museum.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Morris Kantor.