Arthur Yanoff


“My paintings are based on direct observation of the subject, and this often takes me into areas of abstraction in terms of the actual results. Still, I don’t consider a painting realized unless I sense something of the original source woven into its fabric.”

Arthur Yanoff grew up on the ocean in a small town just north of Boston. He attended the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston and studied privately with Jason Berger. He has had more than 75 exhibitions throughout the country. Yanoff’s work is in the collections of major museums, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, where he had a one man show, the Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University, the Currier Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Santa Fe Museum of Fine Arts. In recent years, he has worked on multimedia collaborations with artists from other disciplines. In 2009, he completed projects with two different dance companies, the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company and Clyde Forth Dancers, both of which were performed in New York City.

Yanoff’s family background is rooted in Lubavitch Chasidism. He was fortunate to have known his great-grandfather a devout Chasidic rabbi. Both ocean light and the elevating principles of Chasidism remain deep influences on his work. Classically trained, his development pushed him further into abstraction. Moving away from the easel, he works with acrylic paint on unstretched canvases placed horizontally on a floor or table. The resulting disorientation of gravity, earth and sky allows his paintings to expand in all directions.

Except for a brief stay in Santa Fe, NM, the painter has lived in New England. In 1996, he moved to Berkshire County, MA. The landscape here resonated powerfully on him because of its distinct forms, enveloping light and openness. In addition to painting and exhibiting his work, he teaches workshops and meets with selected private students. Among his workshops were “A Year with Renoir” in collaboration with the Clark Art Institute, Berkshire Community College and IS 183 Art School of the Berkshires and a 2009 summer landscape course at Chesterwood, the Berkshire County home of sculptor Daniel Chester French. In addition, he has given talks on painting at Harvard University, Yeshiva University Museum and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

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I have followed Arthur Yanoff’s work for over 35 years and know him to be a very sophisticated and creative painter. I showed his work while I was curator of contemporary art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. His love of color and spontaneous drawing have always been the cornerstones of his art. His works are all about the joie de vivre.

—Kenworth W. Moffett

Art historian and curator

Mr. Yanoff apparently takes his inspirations as they come, turning them into images that are alive with energy. Even so, he seems more concerned with the act of communicating than its results; for this artist, painting may be an adjunct to verbal discourse.

—Vivien Raynor

The New York Times

Arthur Yanoff, for example, openly embraces Fauve-type color and the watercolor techniques and imagery related to John Marin and Arthur Dove. His art is alive with early, hard-won accomplishment, while holding the promise of even richer achievements. It is clear that we are in the midst of an ongoing tradition, begun many years ago, whose possibilities are being defined at this moment.

—William C. Agee

The Advent of Modernism

Although Yanoff’s paintings look abstract, they are only semi-abstract, with distant references to nature—nature that is, as symbolized by the photographs, collages or still life arrangements he sets up to provide a point of departure for him….but the subject matter makes no difference in one’s appreciation of the work….In any event, I found both series (the Western Wall and Steerage to Ellis Island) moving not so much because they tried to be beautiful but because they weren’t trying, dedicated instead to capturing mediations in the most eloquent way possible.

—Piri Halasz

From the Mayor’s Doorstep

He clips away at socks, string, construction paper and little flat finds with street dust still on them, then pastes all these onto tracing paper in charming disarray. The shapes are airy, with spidery limbs. How does he carry out such unified gestures with these dozens of tiny elements? Yanoff could be 6 years old or 10 times that; he’s closer to the second.

—French Clements

The Independent

With his work in the permanent collection at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Addison Gallery of American Art, The Rose Art Museum, and the Currier Gallery, among others, the Berkshire Museum is pleased to showcase this work….With his unique eye for the color palette of Western New England, the Berkshires come alive in Yanoff’s work, revealing a truly distinctive look at the region.

—Beth Potter

The Country and Abroad

Yanoff’s void is not some existential non-being. He has no use for such bleakness or obscurity. His paintings are bright and airy, full of life and hope. Above all, they are for everyone.

—Joanne Silver

Concord Monitor

Just as traditional painting employs imprimatura to establish an initial middle tone, Yanoff often lays down a stain of color upon which painterly incident will dance in an airy suspension. Drawing with chalk and collage enlivens the approach.

—Vicky Perry

Abstract Painting, Concepts and Techniques

As abstract painters, Yanoff and Barron were interested in making works that, in various ways, respond to the contemporary situation, in which photographs and digital images play important roles in structuring how we experience the visual world. Representing the Hudson River Valley landscape by way of contemporary photographs provided an opportunity to consider the new conditions of art-making in the age of photography… Using acrylics and collaged elements, Yanoff created works that echoed the broad contours and colors of the Hudson River Valley, but he eschewed any literal representation of the landscape.

—Kevin Murphy

Art New England


  • Abstract Painting