Saul Baizerman

(1889 - 1957)

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Saul Baizerman is best known for his graceful relief sculptures in copper.  After becoming involved with the Bolshevik movement in Russia as a youth, he escaped jail for robbery with his father’s assistance and  settled in the United States, in 1908. In New York, he trained as a sculptor at several art schools, while also working as a housepainter, machinist, and dressmaker.  His technique was innovative and labor-intensive, often representing the female form.  He also depicted images of the worker and the urban poor, reflecting his sympathies for social causes.

In the 1920s, Baizerman began shaping copper by hand. He would forcefully hammer both sides of a cold copper sheet until a cocoon-like image appeared in relief. This strenuous  process allowed Baizerman to imagine his artistic practice as a tribute to the working class for which he remained sympathetic his entire working life.  In addition to producing copper pieces, Baizerman created an ambitious series of small-scale sculptures in bronze and plaster as an homage to the urban worker. He was inspired to continue work on "The City and the People" throughout his life; at his death, the series featured more than fifty pieces. 

As Baizerman gained in prominence, he created larger copper pieces intended for the outdoors. The artist's technique also took its toll. The violent banging reduced Baizerman's motor control of his hands and also damaged his hearing. His exposure to poisonous chemicals from soldering metal led to his death of cancer at age 68.