William Zorach

William Zorach

William Zorach

William Zorach

Excerpt

In his seventy-two years William Zorach has made two long journeys: one from the obscurity of a poor Lithuanian immigrant to a position of fame (and reasonable prosperity) in American art, the other from a youthful partisan in the revolutionary cause of modernism to a mature traditionalist upholding that most ancient concept of sculpture as a hewn image.

Of Eurburg, Lithuania, where he was born on February 28, 1887, Zorach remembers only a log cabin with mud floors and the big oven on which the children slept when it was cold. He was four when his mother brought him to America to join his father, who had earlier emigrated to Port Clinton, Ohio. In 1894 the family moved to Cleveland, where Zorach's father made a meagre living as a junk dealer. The young Zorach's academic education ended with the eighth grade of public school, but it was there that his talent as a draftsman was first recognized by the supervisor, who recommended that he learn the trade of lithographer. From 1902 to 1906 Zorach worked for the Morgan Lithograph Company, first as messenger, then as apprentice, and for many years thereafter he supported himself as a journeyman lithographer. During his apprenticeship he also studied painting and drawing in night classes at the Cleveland School of Art.

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