b. Ostrowiec, Poland, 1907–d. Chicago, 2002
Harry Mintz was born in Ostrowiec, Poland in 1907, the only son of a well-to-do business man and fine furniture maker. Mintz grew up around art and culture. In 1927, he received his MFA in painting from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, and after a fellowship in Brazil, he immigrated to the United States, where he spent the majority of his professional years painting in the Chicago and Los Angeles areas. He was a visiting professor at Washington University in St. Louis in 1954–55 and professor of painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) from 1956–69 before he retiring from teaching to dedicate his time exclusively to painting. Mintz also taught at many Chicago area arts institutions, including the Evanston Art Center and the North Shore Art League.
Mintz was a registered Illinois artist for the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project during the 1930s. His artwork, realistic in the beginning, grew more and more abstract as his career progressed, reflecting the uncertainties of life between the two world wars. His Self-Portrait, painted in 1931, shows the artist in his early twenties, wearing a shirt and tie under his artist smock, and posed against a background of books as if to emphasize the artist as both a worker and an educated, thinking man.
Mintz was active in Chicago’s Jewish community. Having lost his father, mother, sisters, and other relatives in the Holocaust, he sought out surviving members of his extended family during the postwar years, advertising in European newspapers and perusing thousands of telephone book pages. In 1987, he gathered the surviving members of the Mintz family for a reunion in Chicago. He died in Chicago in 2002.
Harry Mintz Gallery. http://www.harrymintz.com/Harry_Mintz_Gallery/Home.html
Yochim, Louis Dunn. Harvest of Freedom: A Survey of Jewish Artists in America. Chicago: American References, 1989.
———. Role and Impact: The Chicago Society of Artists, pp. 170, 260. Chicago: Chicago Society of Artists, 1979.
Artist Image: Harry Mintz / believed to be self-portrait. Rosabelle Mintz.