In blue and green tones, this picture is of a mother and child in the interior of a house. It is a cubist conception where the mother’s activities with her child are portrayed simultaneously

William Zorach

American, 1887-1966

Interior-Exterior, 1919

Oil on Canvas

35 1/2 x 27 1/2 inches

Signed and dated lower right

William Zorach was one of the earliest American artists working in a progressively modern style at the beginning of the twentieth century. Zorach attended drawing and painting classes at the Cleveland School of Art from 1905-1908 and later studied in New York at the National Academy of Design. He traveled to Paris and enrolled at the progressive Académie de la Palette, where he met the student Marguerite Thompson, who would later become his wife and lifelong artistic partner.

Returning to New York, Zorach committed himself to modernism and became a leading artist in the New York avant-garde art scene. His bold, geometric paintings from this period take direct influence from the artworks seen in Europe and at the 1913 Armory Show.

Interior and Exterior is an important and rare work by Zorach that perfectly encapsulates his early style. The concept for the work was first developed years before it was painted. Describing the preliminary study for the painting, Zorach stated, “This picture is of a mother and child in the interior of a house. It is a cubist conception where the mother’s activities with her child are portrayed simultaneously. You are not looking at one scene; you are looking at life in various forms combined with the exterior and interior of a city close at hand. It is a mystical interpretation of the life.” (William Zorach, Art is My Life [Cleveland, Ohio, 1967], page 34).

In blue and green tones, this picture is of a mother and child in the interior of a house. It is a cubist conception where the mother’s activities with her child are portrayed simultaneously