Adolph Gottlieb (1903-1974) was one of the founding fathers of the abstract expressionist movement in New York City. Along with close friends Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Milton Avery, he pioneered color field painting and forever changed the way the world perceived picture planes. He was also a key organizer of the 1950 protest against New York’s Museum of Modern Art that earned his group the nickname “The Irascibles”.
Gottlieb was born in New York. By 17 years old Gottlieb knew he wanted to be an artist, and dropped out of high school to work at his father’s company. The job didn’t last long. Gottlieb and his friend hopped a merchant ship in 1921 and worked their way to Europe. Without passports or much money they traveled across the continent for two years.