Philip Reisman’s 1928 etching depicts a family and friends gathered together reading the Haggadah at their Passover Seder.
About the artist, Philip Reisman-
Philip Reisman produced some sixty prints during the 1920s until 1931, mostly scenes from life all about him in New York City. Reisman studied printmaking with Harry Wickey who became a wonderful friend and guide. Helen Farr Sloan introduced Wickey to Reisman. At the time of this print, Reisman was sharing a studio with Harry Sternberg. He hadn’t sold any art work until he began to sell etchings. Later, when the “floor fell through everything” during the Depression, he applied for employment on the WPA. He was first assigned to the graphics department, and then moved on to easel painting and mural projects.
He was smart, humble, political and hopeful. A great humanist and social commentator. He and Louise, his wife, visited Gloucester often. Examples of his paintings and photography of Gloucester are included in the Cape Ann Museum.
Reisman was born in Poland in 1904 and from the age of four brought up on the lower east side in New York City, “a way of life and kind of scene I understand and witness. The kind of scene which arouses me emotionally and that’s why I do it and keep doing it because it hasn’t lost its meaning for me.”
“In my work I focus on people…I paint people because they have always transfixed me. What they do. Why they do certain things. I’m really puzzled why people do many things and captivated by everything about them. The way they dress, the way they act and their relationships. The architecture they build around themselves. The whole thing is an endless fascination to me.”
“My interest is in portraying life as I see it with its light moments and with its sad moments and I present it as it is…as long as I live I’ll keep painting people because they intrigue me and I have hope!”-excerpts from my interview with Reisman in 1985 before his 83rd birthday