Fogel's artistic output, like that of many luminaries of modern art, spanned decades of unprecedented social and cultural change. As a result, his career was not limited to one style, one brand.
Fogel produced social realist art early in the century, abstract and expressionist art at mid century, and transcendental art late in the century. His independent and restless nature spawned the creation of both representational and nonobjective artworks. His drive to experiment, explore, and evolve led him to work with expected media – oil paints, watercolors and acrylics – but also surprisingly unconventional media such as glass, plastics, sand, and wax.
The range and longevity of Fogel's career create the dramatic story that is the through-line of his life. Here is a life on art of rare and gifted individual whose scope of creativity generated an astonishingly prolific and distinctive body of work.
John Baur, director emeritus of the Whitney Museum of American Art, knew Fogel well. Fogel's art was shown at the museum many times. Of Fogel, Baur said: "I have learned the only thing one can safely expect in Fogel's work is the unexpected. Men like Sy have worked in all media, explored all styles, and refused to limit themselves."
Greta Berman, an art historian and educator at Julliard College in New York City, also knew Fogel well. She wrote the best articles on Fogel published during his lifetime. In "Seymour Fogel: Self Knowledge Into Form," Berman wrote: "[Fogel's] endless exploration into self and the eternal world reaches beyond easy definition... revealing a multitude of dimension and meaning that forms the very essence of art."
When Fogel died in 1984, he left behind a staggering amount of artwork. These drawings, paintings, and sculptures were carefully archived by Fogel's daughter, Gayle Fogel Laurel. Along with the art were stored numerous sketchbooks, unpublished manuscripts, exhibition catalogs, and mural studies.
"There is no such thing as success, just an everlasting search for an image felt but unseen, unreachable, unknowable, mercurial and tantalizing; and infinite in its guises and variations. The real success in a truly creative man's world is the awareness that comes in time that his road is the right one for him, that his search will never yield anything but a little series of truths that give him, however briefly, a glimpse into something incomprehensible but grand; something cosmic that he, in his small way, has been able to touch."
INTRODUCTION TO SEYMOUR FOGEL
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