American artist Sigmund Abeles was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1934, but grew up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. When he was young, he would spend time in the Brookgreen Gardens sketching the sculptures there. Abeles received a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of South Carolina in 1955 and later studied at the Art Students League of New York, the Skowhegan School in Maine, and completed a Masters in Fine Arts at Columbia University in 1957. He has spent twenty-seven years of his career teaching and is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of New Hampshire. Abeles works in pastels, oils, graphic media, and sculpture and his work shows the expressions of the human figure.
This particular work, “V.W. Hubcap”, was created in 1961 and depicts a woman lying on a bed with her eyes closed. In the frame there is also a Volkswagen hubcap, an empty soda bottle, and a shoe. A reflection can be seen in the hubcap, but the image is not clear. The hubcap is the only clear evidence of the time of this scene’s setting. The place, the woman, and the other objects in the picture could have come from a variety of time periods but the hubcap gives the piece a sense of modernity. Abeles is telling the viewer a story, but that story is not clear.
Author Sarah Cain is a senior enrolled in ART 3683: History of 20th Century Art.