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Installation view of Maryan, Art Basel Miami Beach, 2018
Installation view of Maryan, Art Basel Miami Beach, 2018
Installation view of Maryan, Art Basel Miami Beach, 2018
Installation view of Maryan, Art Basel Miami Beach, 2018
Installation view of Maryan, Art Basel Miami Beach, 2018
Maryan Abstract Pink Figure on Black Ground, 1967
Maryan Personnage, 1967
Maryan Untitled, 1967
Maryan Dog on Red Background, 1967
Maryan Two Personnages, 1968
Maryan Personnage on a Blue Background, 1969
Maryan Personnage on a Green Background, 1969
Maryan Personnage: On Hands and Knees, 1972
Maryan Personnage: Standing on Table, 1972

Press Release

Maryan: Personnage Works at Art Basel Miami Beach
Booth S5
December 6 - 9, 2018
Preview: Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Venus Over Manhattan
980 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10075

(Miami, FL) – Venus Over Manhattan is pleased to announce its inaugural exhibition at Art Basel Miami Beach, with a solo presentation of important paintings by Maryan. The exhibition will be on view from December 5th through 9th, 2018, at booth S5 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Venus’ presentation at ABMB will be a focused survey of Maryan’s “Personnage” paintings from 1967-1972. They include large-scale works on canvas and an important suite of works on paper. Maryan began exploring the “Personnage” series while living in Paris in the 1950s. Characterized by a centrally located figure dominating the composition, the works quickly established Maryan’s reputation for using abstract techniques to render boisterously figurative subject matter. The paintings made during Maryan’s Paris years feature somber characters cast against subdued color palettes. It wasn’t until Maryan’s relocation from Paris to New York in 1963, that the “Personnage” works transition from dark to color and action filled: a clear reflection of the artist’s renewed outlook.

At a moment when non-representational painting dominated popular tastes, Maryan’s work rejected total abstraction, and helped to reintroduce the figure into contemporary painting, alongside his peers Karel Appel, Enrico Baj, and Jean Dubuffet. The works on view, produced in New York between 1967 and 1972, feature a group of lurid and fleshy characters, adjoined with extra legs, strange appendages, and slobbering tongues. Variously depicting anonymous tangles of excess limbs, bestial figures, and salivating animals, the works attest to Maryan’s abiding interest in disassembling familiar features of the human form to produce confrontational and often violent compositions.

Born Pinchas Burstein to a Jewish family in Nowy-Saçz, Poland, Maryan was the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust. He lived in Israel for two years after the war, and moved to Paris in 1951, where he enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts, and studied under Fernand Léger. Though he denied the reduction of his work to his trauma as a Holocaust survivor, Maryan’s private life and artistic practice were deeply influenced by his experience of the war: his works from the “Personnage” series often make reference to an unnamed violence, whose source remains hidden. The “Personnage” works collectively represent the most striking realization of Maryan’s unprecedented fusion of abstraction and figuration, and with little exception, the series consumed the artist until his death at the Chelsea Hotel, in 1977.

In conjunction with the presentation, Venus Over Manhattan will also publish a catalogue featuring images of the works on view, as well historical writings about Maryan’s work.


Maryan was born Pinchas Burstein in 1928 in Nowy-Saçz, Poland. He attended the Bezalel School in Jerusalem, the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris, and studied with Fernand Léger. Maryan’s work has been the subject of numerous international solo presentations, including exhibitions at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme, Paris; the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, Chicago; and the André Emmerich Gallery, New York. His work is frequently featured in important group exhibitions, including presentations at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Maryan’s work is held in the permanent collections of numerous public institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Maryan lived and worked in New York City until his death in 1977.

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