More Artwork by Lionel Abrams
Lionel Abrams was an enigma to everyone, his thoughts were completely his own but there is no doubt, however, of his great influence on other artists of his time. He was an “artist’s artist”, much respected by his contemporaries but relatively unknown to the public. This was largely due to his unwillingness to exhibit and his wish to have as little to do with the art world as possible.
Although a predominately an abstract painter, Abrams later moved away from abstraction and began to suggest enticing references to history, hidden puns, strange juxtapositions and obtuse connections, he never spoke about them and they seem to be included for his own pleasure.
“Talking about art is like dancing about architecture”
– Lionel Abrams
This secrecy and introversion, his refusal to verbalise his ideas about art and painting, coupled with the power of his influence over other artists, served to fuel the mystery that surrounded him and that surrounds him still.
Although Abrams began his tertiary education studying architecture, it soon becomes clear, however, that Abram would commit himself to painting. He studied art at the Witwatersrand Technical Art School from 1950 to 1953 after which he studied for two years at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London. In 1958 and 1959 he was back in South Africa at the Technical College. He qualified with a National Teacher’s Certificate in Art.
Between 1957 and 1981, Abrams was given 16 one-man shows, he exhibited internationally nine times including the Sao-Paulo Biennale in 1959 and 1965 and the Biennale de Paris in 1961. He had a contract with the Adler Fielding Galleries and his awards include a bronze medal at the Transvaal Academy in 1965 and SA Delegate to the “Jeunes Pientres du Monde a Paris” in 1961.
Abrams’ work is dispersed throughout South Africa including representation in the South African National Gallery, Pretoria Art Museum, Rembrandt Art Foundation, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Trust Bank Collection and the Sasol Collection.