ILLINOIS HISTORICAL ART PROJECT
SAMUEL GREENBURG was born in Uman, Ukraine, on June 23, 1905, and studied art in Chicago, Palestine and Paris. His outstanding teacher was Andre Lhote. He has painted in various European countries and in Egypt and Palestine. He is a member of the Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists, the All-Illinois Society of Artists and "Around The Palette," and has exhibited in Chicago, Paris, Kovno (Lithuania) and Cairo (Egypt). One-man shows of his work have been held at the Little Gallery in Chicago and in Kovno (Lithuania). His work has been written about in European, Egyptian and Chicago newspapers.
Art to me has always meant expression-expression of a most personal kind. Therefore I have steered clear of theories and schools, retaining merely principles. My aim is to paint my reactions to what is about me. Naturally, I find "the subject" indispensable, but use it just as a point of departure, to give my personal reaction to it. It is not what subject the artist uses, but what he says about it, that determines the value of a painting. For beauty in art is no more, no less, than art well done. I feel reality too strongly to find the purely abstract a satisfying medium of expression, although I appreciate its great possibilities. As for distortion-merely to qualify or to describe means to distort. for certain qualities are emphasized at the expense of others. So I consciously distort to heighten my description. Everything-color. form, line, and movement-is used to bring out my emotional reaction to the subject. What artists have influenced my work? I have been influenced by none consciously. But, no doubt, I react to all those men whose work I love--El Greco, Modigliani, Soutine, Kokoshka. One can be no more original than to express himself; fortunately, for all of us, one is what one has seen and felt. None of us create -we merely translate or modify. Whatever I have done has been done to please myself; I am so much the more pleased when others find pleasure in it. As for criticism: Need any artist dread the scratch of criticism who works under the constant fire of self-judgment? I do not believe my work to be peculiarly Chicagoan; nor is it peculiar to any one group or category-but if it is at all an honest expression of myself, it is the result of countless influences, environmental and inherited. Samuel Greenburg.