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Sandler, Irving

    Full Name: Sandler, Irving

    Other Names:

    • Irving Sandler

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 22 July 1925

    Place Born: New York, NY, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Career(s): art critics


    Art critic and writer; professor of art at SUNY Purchase 1972-. Sandler was born to Harry Sandler and Diana Drori (Sandler). His father was a school teacher. Sandler joined the Marine Corps during War War II, receiving some training at Franklin and Marshall College between1943-1944. He rose to the rank of second lieutenant. After the war he attended Temple University where he was awarded a B.A. in 1948. He continued at University of Pennsylvania, gaining an M.A. in 1950. Sandler ran a private New York Gallery from 1956 to 1959 and was senior critic for the magazine Art News between 1956-62. He came to personally know many of the abstract expressionist artists of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Sandler married the art historian Lucy Freeman Sandler in 1958. He and NYU professor Robert Goldwater wrote the book Three American Sculptors: Ferber, Hare, Lassaw in 1959. After receiving a Tona Shepherd grant for research in Germany and Austria for 1960, he joined the New York Post as art critic the following year which he held until 1964. Sandler was a signer of the infamous 1961 “Letter to the New York Times” chastising its critic, John Canaday, for disparaging modern art. In 1963 he was appointed a lecturer in art history at New York University. Sandler was a 1965 Guggenheim fellow. In 1970 he authored an important memoir/history of the abstract expressionist movement, The Triumph of American Painting. Sandler was a major force in the organization of “Artist’s Space,” an alternative exhibition space for young artists, in 1972. Sandler was appointed professor of art at the State University of New York College at Purchase, NY, in 1972. He completed his Ph.D., from New York University in 1976. He gained a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1977. He was a board member of the College Art Association 1985-89. His papers are housed at the Getty Center Research Institute. Sandler’s writing on Abstract Expressionist art was criticized in 1983 by Serge Guilbaut in his book How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art as icorporating historical idealism. Charging that Sandler had ignored political ramifications of Abstract Expressionsim, particularly how the U.S. state department used it as an advertisement for freedom of expression.

    Selected Bibliography

    and Goossen, E. C., and Goldwater, Robert. Three American Sculptors: Ferber, Hare, Lassaw. New York: Grove Press, 1959; The Triumph of American Painting: a History of Abstract Expressionism. New York: Harper & Row, 1970; Alex Katz: a Retrospective. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1998; Alex Katz. New York: H. N. Abrams, 1979; Art of the Postmodern Era: from the Late 1960s to the Early 1990s. New York: IconEditions, 1996; edited, and Newman, Amy. Defining Modern Art: Selected Writings of Alfred H. Barr, Jr. New York: Abrams, 1986;


    Sandler, Irving. A Sweeper-up After Artists: a Memoir. London: Thames & Hudson, 2003.


    "Sandler, Irving." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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