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Studio Visit

Diana Kurz is a naturalist and figurative painter based in Soho, NYC. She was born in 1936 in Vienna, Austria. Kurz explains, ” My parents and I came to the US via Italy, Switzerland, England (where I learned to speak English) and Ireland. Because of the large body of work I have done on the subject of the Holocaust, I think it is important to mention that we were forced to flee Vienna in 1938, and that although we came to the United States when I was four years old, the events of WW II directly affected my life and childhood. Family history and my parents’ generosity in raising two of my orphaned cousins, survivors of concentration camps, as their own children instilled in me an awareness of the importance of social justice and caring for others.” To read a more in-depth biography, reprinted from Veteran Feminists of America, go HERE.

Diana Kurz and her mother in Europe when she was about 2 1/2 or 3.

Diana with a hip, mod, Sassoon inspired pixie cut in her Paris studio in 1965.

And later in her Soho studio – one of the lucky few to find these hidden Soho loft gems in the 1970s (before the area became the trendy, commerce center it is today).

Like in the Wizard of Oz, we just went from Black & White to Color! This is Diana today standing in front of one of her paintings. Look a that necklace!

She has exhibited her work extensively in solo and group shows nationally and internationally and her work is in many distinguished private and public collections including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Rose Art Museum, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien in Austria; The Jewish Museum of Vienna; Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Hudgens Center for the Arts, GA; Savannah College of Art and Design, and Yad Vashem. Among the numerous awards she has received are a Fulbright Grant in Painting to France;  New York State Council on the Arts CAPS Grant; American Center Residency in Paris; Austrian Federal Ministry of the Arts/VCCA Artist-In-Residence in Vienna;.Atlantic Center for the Arts Residency. Kurz has been on the faculty of distinguished art schools including Pratt Institute, Queens College, Cleveland Institute of Art, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, SUNY at Stony Brook, University of Colorado in Boulder, and Philadelphia College of Art (now known as University of the Arts). She has a Bachelor of Arts cum laude degree in Fine Arts from Brandeis University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting from ColumbiaUniversity.

John in the Studio, oil on canvas, 57″ x 68″

Ann in Striped Dress, oil on canvas, 72″ x 51 1/2″, Collection of Rose Art Museum, Massachusetts

Women painters were rare in the 1960’s and so the best compliment she would ever receive at the time was “that could have been painted by a man” (How horrible)! Although it might not show at first glance in her works, Kurz studied the compositions of Piet Mondrian at great length. Her canvases are heavily influenced by the the exploration of lines and color composition.

Silver Spring Monkeys, #2, Monotype, 6″ x 8″

The Hudson River Downtown Study #2 ,oil on paper on canvas, 7″ x 10″

I have had the pleasure of meeting Diana on several occasions – we talked over cookies and tea just last week! We first met during my time at Columbia University while I was the Project Manager for an amazing endeavor called “Art Cart: Saving the Legacy”. Enough on the history, now for a present-day studio visit:

Alternate uses for Cento Tomato Paste. 

Not shown in the photo, the other kitty and an adorable lap dog – DIXIE!

A detail. 

What inspires you to succeed and create? What do you need in your office or workspace so that you can be successful?  I have a garden gnome given to me by my friend Sonja that has been in every apartment in which I have ever lived. It travels with me, and is always lurking in the corner, helping me to conjure ideas!

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Keren Veisblatt Toledano is a Senior Strategist at Brooklyn United, a digital agency for bold brands. In her spare time, Keren can usually be found taking photos of old doors, visiting museum, soaking in Epsom salts, admiring copper pots, reading dystopian science fiction or sneaking a slice of lemon into her drinks. Her motto is, “A morning without coffee is sleep.” She lives in a brownstone with her cat, Cagney, husband, Michael, and son, Josiah, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY.

5 Comments

  1. A fine article about a fine artist with a profound life history and an adorable cat.

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  2. Diana is an inspiring woman and you wrote a wonderful piece on her. Love the photos of her studio, and of course her art work. Wonderful Blog, I am going to subscribe!

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  3. A beautiful article on the life and work of a wonderful artist. So in depth…and an insight into an artists creative life and environment. Congratulations.

    Reply

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