THALL, Victor

Victor Thall - untitled

Artist Biography


Victor Thall was born in New York; regarded as a child prodigy he joined the Arts Students League in Manhattan aged 11 before studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. With funds from his father, Thall left for Paris in 1924, continuing his studies at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, the Academie Julien and the Grande Chaumiere. After a spell travelling, Thall returned in the early 1930s to New York where he became friendly with Willem de Kooning and Arshile Gorky. He participated in the New York New Deal Art Project from 1935-39 and in the 1940s he taught at the Arts Student League. Thall, painting in an expressionist style, showed at the Whitney Annual in 1949 and 1950 but, tiring of life in New York, began travelling again. In the 1950s he lived and painted in Mexico, the West Indies and Spain.  He returned to New York in 1963, before settling in Florida and then California from 1965.

Thall believed that his art should be modern in spirit but rooted in tradition; a keen diver, he found coral reefs a “fascinating theme for abstraction” but kept returning to expressionist forms for the human figure.  Thall’s peripatetic lifestyle and disdain for worldly success somewhat hampered his exhibiting career but from the 1940s to the 1960s he was shown in numerous New York Galleries, the Leicester Gallery, London in 1961, L’Institute Francais d’Haiti in 1964 and galleries in Florida and Chicago. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, Brooklyn Museum in New York and Newark Museum, New Jersey hold his work, which is also in private collections including that of film director Sidney Lumet. The Longview Gallery in Washington held a major retrospective of Thall’s work in 2019-2020.

Please click on thumbnail for full image and more information about the artwork