Folk art, antiques, and outsider art

Martin Zipin: 1920 - 1991

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Biographical Information and Comments

One of Martin Zipin's Self-Portraits

Edited and rearranged, from the Harcum College "Lodestar" February 2006

As a young man, Zipin studied art at Temple University's Tyler School. While there, he became involved in theater, not only designing sets but also acting and singing in lead roles. He completed bachelors' degrees in fine arts and education and a master of fine arts degree from Temple. Zipin went on to create his own painting style, which he dubbed "the positive image." He painted objects, often on a textured surface like burlap, and then cut out the images to achieve a three-dimensional effect. ... The viewer can get quite close to this painting before seeing that it is not three-dimensional. ...

Another very effective use of the positive image style can be seen in the rotunda in Zipin's painting of a steep city street, depicting the Manayunk section of Philadelphia. This cutout oil painting is long and narrow, and perfectly captures the vertical quality that the neighborhood is known for. Zipin also did hundreds of portraits and many self-portraits. He had many one-man shows, received a number of awards from local art institutions, and sold his work to museums, galleries and colleges around the country.

... Zipin's beautiful, imaginative art is the perfect way to give your eyes a break. Zipin's cut-outs create a convincing fool-the-eye effect

.. Feast Your Eyes on the Art in the Library Rotunda Let your eyes rove around the circle of the library rotunda. You'll discover ... a series of beautiful paintings that deserve a second look (or more). Even though they vary tremendously in medium, style and subject, they are all by the same artist, Prof. Martin Zipin, who was on the faculty at Harcum for 38 years.

You may have noticed other paintings by Zipin ... An Amish farmer rides his cart toward a windmill under a spacious blue sky, ... three hikers perch on a massive pile of multi-hued rocks ... a pair of formal portraits of Philip and Esther Klein. All of these paintings are Zipin's.

Harcum College is extremely fortunate to have these tangible reminders of Marty Zipin's legacy ...

Some Comments from the Discussion Board at about Martin Zipin

1. The intelligent eye of Martin Zipin
Had the pleasure of spending several months with the works of Martin Zipin renting a lovely furnished home on the Outer Banks from his son Philip.

Not only were they immediately attractive but insight grew with each viewing.

The "bands of light" described elsewhere here by another appreciator are in fact a study of mixed perspective and scale, striking yet - for the amount of information, subtle. Have pioneered Computer Aided Drawing and Design and out of this man's gifted mind comes a dissertation in planes, light, and chroma which could not be equaled on any computer I know of.

Each work is, in fact, a serious lesson in seeing with the mind behind the eye.

Wish he'd written some books or essays on his wonderful techniques. HBH

2. The talent of Marty Zipin
My dad (Samuel) went to school with Mr. Zipin, and as an adult attended his classes at Allen's Lane Art Academy. I have a Zipin self portrait, and two large paintings, one of a spinning wheel, and one of an orchestra in the pit. One has a palate knife technique, the other has triangulation technique.

I cherish these paintings, and appreciate the fact that Mr. Zipin spent his life teaching others his guild, and did not pursue the commercialization of his works. I hope art historians remember his gift to the art world.

3. My late mother studied under Martin Zipin at the Independent Dock in Barnegat Light NJ. The "Gussie B" reflects Mr. Zipin's light technique, texture, and skill with a palette knife. I believe the painting was done in the mid 1960s or slightly thereafter. My mother painted professionally and credited Martin Zipin with increasing her skill level.

4. Recently acquired this oil on canvas titled "The Orchestra". It has Martin Zipin signature. The painting is large, probably 48 x 36 and has very distinct bands of light technique. Would appreciate any info anyone has concerning this painting. Purchased from the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra Office, Donald Spieth, Conductor was previous owner of the work.

5. I have a nice M. Zipin work titled "Victorian Lady." It is a linoleum print of an old and very ornate coal stove. I know that I have seen this same work featured in a publication. Unfortunately, I can not remember where?

Back to Zipin's Work on Page 2 of Paintings

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