Charles Biederman: Untitled, Paris, April 1937
abstract painting
Charles Biederman
Untitled, Paris, April 1937
Oil on canvas, 51 1/4 x 38 1/4 in.


This abstract painting is created from sharp-edged, geometric shapes and bright primary colors. Shapes are flattened in some areas and give an illusion of depth and dimension in others. Artist Charles Biederman creates ribbons of color that look like they could be made of steel. The shapes float in a field of yellow, some floating forward and overlapping, others receding. The title suggests that this is not meant to represent some specific scene from Paris, but recalls Biederman’s sense experiences and feelings of living and working there in April 1937. The title serves almost as a journal or diary notation.


Charles Biederman was born in Ohio and went to art school in Chicago. He was a quick study and worked in many different styles of abstraction. He gained international attention in the 1930s and 1940s, exhibiting his abstract paintings and geometric sculptures in Europe and America with artists like Fernand Leger and Alexander Calder. He consistently struggled to make his own way, wanting not to be connected by critics and collectors to any other artists or artist groups. Eventually this desire led him to move to rural Red Wing, Minnesota, in the 1950s. There, with the help of his wife, Biederman wrote about his unique theories of art and created his mature work-geometric, brightly painted metal wall sculptures that come off the flat panel of the wall into space. Biederman continued to create and write until his death in 2004 at age ninety-eight.


Abstract – a style of art that does not directly mimic the appearance of objects from the natural world, but instead is composed of simplified shapes, forms, or color to express ideas, experience, or emotion.