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Al Held
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Birth Place: 
New York, New York
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Death Place: 
Born in New York City, died in his swimming pool in Italy. Al Held is an abstract painter whose association with Crown Point Press began with its woodcut program in Japan. In 1985, Crown Point founder, Kathan Brown, asked Held to submit a watercolor to be used a model for a woodblock print. This had ramifications for his later paintings. Although he had never worked seriously in watercolor, the results were so satisfying that he later produced and exhibited watercolors, and explored the coloristic effects of spit bite aquatint which looks like watercolor. He also worked in intaglio at the Press. RESIDENCE: Al Held lives in Boiceville, New York EDUCATION: Held's first art training was at the Arts Students League, New York, in the late 1940s. He then studied at Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, Paris. ACADEMIC POSITIONS: 1962-1980 Professor, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut AWARDS include: 1964 Logan Medal, Art Institute of Chicago 1966 Guggenheim Fellowship, Creative Painting 1983 Jack I. and Lillian L. Poses Brandeis University Creative Arts Awards, Painting Medal COMMISSIONS include: 1967 Tower East, Cleveland 1976 Empire State Plaza, Albany Mall Mural, New York 1977 Social Security Administration's Mid-Atlantic Program Center, Philadelphia 1983 Southland Center Lobby, Dallas 1985 Akron Government Building, Ohio 1995-1997 Held designed a 440 foot long glass mural for the new Washington D.C. National Airport terminal, which opened in 1997. Fifty-five uniquely configured glass panels were made from Held's watercolor sketches. Mouth-blown glass was meticulously selected to match the more than 100 different colors in Held's original artwork. SELECTED ONE-PERSON EXHIBITIONS include: 1990-1997 -Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, New York (1997) -Crown Point Press, New York -Galerie Renee Ziegler, Zurich 1980-1989 -Al Held Watercolors, Andre Emmerich Gallery (1988) -John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco -Robert Miller Gallery, New York -Annely Juda Fine Arts, London 1970-1979 -Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston -Whitney Museum of American Art, New York -Galerie Muller, Cologne, West Germany 1960-1969 -Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. -San Francisco Museum of Art (now the SF Museum of Modern Art) -Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam -Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia -Bonino Gallery, Buenos Aires -Contemporary Arts Association, Houston 1950-1959 -Gallery Huit, Paris SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS include: 1990-1997 -Thirty-Five Years at Crown Point Press: Making Prints, Doing Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (June-September 1997), FAMSF (October 1997-January 1998) -Prints and Concepts, Stella R Graphics, Paris -Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture, American Embassy, Tel Aviv -Contemporary Woodblock Prints From Crown Point Press, The Leif E. Johnson Memorial Exhibition, Edison Community College, Fort Myers, Florida 1980-1989 -L'Amerique aux Independents, 91st Exhibition, Societe des Artistes, Grand Palais, Paris -American Drawing in Black and White: 1970-1980, Brooklyn Museum -Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York -The American Artist as Printmaker, National Print Exhibition, Brooklyn Museum -Beauties and Beasts--Or, What Makes Great Art Great?, Pratt Institute, New York -Work By Newly Elected Members and Recipients of Honors and Awards, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York -Seven American Masters, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. -For 25 Years: Crown Point Press, Museum of Modern Art, New York 1970-1979 -American Painting 1970, Virginia Museum, Richmond -Annual and Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York -El Lenguaje de Color, Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas -Surface, Edge and Color, Whitney Museum of American Art Downtown Branch -New York State of the Art, New York State Museum, Albany -American Drawings: 1927-1977, National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik (traveled through Europe) -Point, Philadelphia College of Art 1960-1969 -Annual, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York -The Pure and Clear: American Innovations, Philadelphia Museum of Art -Large Scale American Paintings, The Jewish Museum, New York -Contemporary American Drawing Show, Fort Worth Art Center -Systematic Paintings, Solomon Guggenheim Museum -Art of the United States: 1907-1966, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York -Post-Painterly Abstraction, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (traveled) 1950-1959 -Festival of Two Worlds, Spoleto, Italy