American Abstract Expressionist painter, of Jewish origin, born at Dvinsk in Latvia, Russia. Emigrated with his family to Portland, Oregon, USA, in 1913. Studied arts at Yale University 1921-3. Moved in 1925 to New York and studied for a short time at the Art Students League under Max Weber, then began to paint on his own. Taught at Center Academy, Brooklyn, 1929-52. In 1934 created the Artist Union of New York. First one-man exhibition at the Portland Art Museum 1933. In the 1930s painted pictures influenced by Milton Avery and Matisse, with simplified compositions and flat areas of colour; co-founder in 1935 with Gottlieb and others of The Ten, a group of Expressionist tendency. Turned to complete abstraction in 1947, with large soft-edged areas of colour, adopting by 1950 a symmetrical presentation. Taught at the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco, with Clyfford Still in the summers of 1947 and 1949; collaborated with Baziotes, Hare, Motherwell and later Newman in running the art school The Subjects of the Artist 1948-9; and also taught in the Art Department at Brooklyn College 1951-4. In the 50’s he travelled in Europe and it was after that that collector Duncan Philips bought several of his paintings and dedicated one room to them. In the 60’s he received important public commissions – Harvard University, Marlborough Gallery of London, the Houston Chapel) and developed his ideas on painting.His later works became more sombre in colour. He commited suicide in his New York studio .