"Art is the only reliable constant in my life. There is nothing else. Art, the way I identify with it, is the way I can express myself. When I make what they call art, when I'm up in the studio and I work away, I'm in one piece. No schism there. That's the only area in my life, you know, where I am conscious without being self-conscious, where I am in one piece."
- Friedel Dzubas
Though today considered to be part of the Color Field movement, in his lifetime Friedel Dzubas was more closely associated with the Abstract Expressionists. He was born in 1915 in Berlin, where he studied art from an early age, but in 1939 the rise of Nazism forced him to flee Germany. He eventually settled in New York City. There he worked largely as a freelance book designer, but also continued to develop his artistic practice. In the late 1940s Dzubas befriended influential critic Clement Greenberg, who introduced him to Jackson Pollock and Helen Frankenthaler. He shared a studio with the latter beginning in the early 1950s.
Both Frankenthaler and Dzubas explored the stain-painting technique, and Dzubas produced increasingly large canvases (some of them over 20 feet long) that featured large, atmospheric swathes of saturated color. Despite a lengthy hiatus from painting in the mid-1950s, he had dozens of solo shows during his decades-long career, exhibiting at some of the most renowned galleries of the era, including Leo Castelli, Tibor de Nagy, and Andre Emmerich. In 1976 he began splitting his time between New York and Massachusetts, as he frequently taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boson. Though diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the late 1980s, it did not affect his prolific artistic output, and he continued to paint until his death in 1994.
Dzubas’s unique assimilation of both Abstract Expressionism and Color Field painting has sparked sustained interest from private collectors and institutions alike, and his work can be found in many prestigious museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.