Volume 74, Number 26 | October 27 - November 03 , 2004



Herbert Katzman, 81, figurative artist, of Westbeth

Photo by Annie Katzman
Herbert Katzman in front of a self-portrait in the 1970s.

Herbert Katzman, an Expressionist artist whose figurative works are included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Hirshhorn Museum and the National Collection of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C., died on Oct. 15 in his Westbeth home at the age of 81.

He died of emphysema after being homebound for the past two years, according to his daughter, Annie Katzman, a sculptor and photographer.

“He worked almost until the day he died,” his daughter said. “There was an unfinished drawing on his table, a graphite of New York Harbor with the Statue of Liberty,” she said, adding, “After the World Trade Center came down he became seriously ill and stopped painting for a while.”

Katzman was the recipient of a Pollack-Krasner Award three years ago and previously won grants from the National Academy of Arts, American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Guggenheim Fellowship among others. He taught at the School of Visual Arts for several years

“He had a fierce integrity about his work as an artist and he didn’t care very much about what trend was current, a tremendous strength of character,” said Steve Sherman, a friend and former student who teaches at the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia.

Born in Chicago, Herbert Katzman studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, served in the Navy during World War II and went to Paris in 1947 where he moved in a circle of American artists and writers including James Baldwin.

“He was erudite and enormously well read. He knew everyone in Paris,” said Eric Protter, an editor of a literary magazine in Paris during the post-World War II years who met Katzman in 1948.

Katzman met his first wife, Judith Duny Baker, an aspiring painter in Paris, where one of their sons was born. The family returned to the U.S. in 1951 but went to Florence in 1955 when Katzman won a Fulbright Fellowship.

A resident of Westbeth since it opened in 1968, he had shared a studio in the 1960s with the late Robert D’Arista. Among his portraits of artist friends, which were featured 10 years ago in the Terry Dintenfass Gallery in Midtown, are graphite drawings of Harold Red Tovich, Raphael Soyer and Marsden Hartley.

In addition to his daughter, two sons, Nicholas of New York and Steve of San Raphael, Calif., and two grandsons also survive. Judith Duny Baker and Katzman’s former second wife, Laurel Carroll, also survive.

Greenwich Village Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St., was in charge of arrangements. Friends and family intend to hold a memorial service at a date to be announced later.

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