Luise Kaish

GBP £39.95



ISBN: 978-1-911282-51-8

256 Pages

279 x 240 mm (9 ½ x 11 in)

185 colour

In association with the Kaish Family Art Project

February 2021


A major new study and celebration of the career and legacy of the modernist sculptor, painter, collagist and educator Luise Kaish

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Edited by Maura Reilly
Contributions by Daniel Belasco, Samuel D. Gruber, Eleanor Heartney, Norman L. Kleeblatt, Gail Levin and Roger Lipsey
Foreword by Vanja Malloy

Irving Sandler praised the expanse of her sculptural works as representative of “the awesomeness of the breadth of God”; Robert M. Coates described her reliefs in bronze as possessing a “sweeping energy that parallels the turbulence of Turner in painting”; John Canaday described Kaish as “a rarity” whose sculpture had attained “a sense of power and authority leavened with a poetic innocence.” —From the Introduction by Maura Reilly


Luise Clayborn Kaish (1925–2013) was a pioneer. A key figure in the New York art scene of the late twentieth century, her multidisciplinary and process-oriented work contributed to various artistic discourses at the time. The strength and breadth of her work—oil paintings, watercolours, lithographs, large-scale sculptures in bronze and stone, collage—her influential role in education, and the prestigious awards she received in recognition of her practice set her apart as an early female leader in the arts. She will be remembered for her immense talent, highly individual point of view, pursuit of the sublime, keen execution and passion for life, which, despite changing tastes, remain significant today.

Just before her death in 2013, Kaish began a series of Axonometrics drawings. The gold, white, and black drawings represented geometry, line, and movement in space—their surfaces punctured and folded to emphasize their three-dimensionality. The drawings were templates for monumental wall pieces that were never realized. They demonstrate Kaish’s extraordinary draftsmanship and lifelong ability to work with materials and space in ground-breaking ways. Building on a lifetime of craft, spirituality, and dedication to an artistic life, this book presents the whole artistic picture of a woman ahead of her time.

Today examples of Kaish’s work can be found in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Jewish Museum, and many other institutions, including the Syracuse University Art Museum., This volume brings together the majority of her works. Essays covering Kaish’s life and career, her artistic method, her lifelong interest in the spiritual and metaphysical, and her work as an educator are interspersed with 103 plates, and compelling photographs of the artist at work. Scholars, curators, museums, and collectors will find the appendix, illustrated chronology and exhibition history of particular value.

Author biographies

Maura Reilly is a curator and arts writer, based in New York

Gail Levin is Distinguished Professor of Art History, American Studies, Women’s Studies, and Liberal Studies at Baruch College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Daniel Belasco is executive director of the Al Held Foundation, New York

Samuel D. Gruber is visiting associate professor of Jewish Studies, Cornell University

Eleanor Heartney is a contributing editor for Art in America

Norman L. Kleeblatt is a fine art curator, critic, and consultant based in New York, and was the Susan and Elihu Rose Chief Curator at the Jewish Museum in New York until 2017

Roger Lipsey is a biographer, art historian, editor and translator

Vanja Malloy is director and chief curator of the Syracuse University Art Museum

Table of contents

  1. Foreword by Vanja Malloy
  2. Introduction by Maura Reilly
  3. Becoming Luise Kaish, Sculptor of Spirit by Gail Levin
  4. Voyages of Discovery: Luise Kaish’s Monumental Bronzes by Daniel Belasco
  5. Many Routes to Revelation by Samuel D. Gruber
  6. An Art of the Spirit by Eleanor Heartney
  7. Abstraction/Frustration/Transformation: Luise Kaish’s Burntworks by Norman L. Kleeblatt
  8. Place and Journey: The Later Art of Luise Kaish by Roger Lipsey
  9. Appendices
  10. Chronology
  11. Exhibition History
  12. Selected Bibliography
  13. Photo Credits
  14. Index
  15. Acknowledgments
  16. Endnote by Morton Kaish