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West Street: New York City

THE HARRIS COLLECTION  | 2018 Auction Purchase

IIF-2018.AW.0002  |  Drypoint Etching on paper, c. 1940, 11.75 x 7.5 inches

Before coming to Montgomery, he was considered one of the top four etchers in the country.

DAC Foundation, Prattville, Alabama

Isaac Irving Wolfson | 1898-1981

Well-Known for His Portraits and Etchings

Irving Wolfson was born on December 10, 1898, in New York City. His father, Benjamin Wolfson, and his mother were both professional photographers. As a youngster, he displayed exceptional artistic ability. He won scholarships to three of New York's finest art schools, the National Academy of Fine Arts, Cooper Union, and the Art Students League. His teacher and mentor, John Sloan, had a significant influence over Wolfson's work. Slone encouraged Wolfson to adopt everyday scenes as his primary subject matter. He studied printmaking with well-known artist Joseph Pennell.

On November 11, 1942, Wolfson enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to Maxwell Field Army Air Corps Center in Montgomery, Alabama. Before coming to Montgomery, he was considered one of the top four etchers in the country. On June 20, 1946, he married a Montgomery native, Miriam Chester Williamson, whom he met at a USO dance. The couple remained in Montgomery, where he became well-known as a local portrait painter. Wolfson was commissioned to paint a portrait of former Alabama First Lady Aurora Elmore Goode. He is also known for his painting of the inauguration of Alabama Governor Gordon Persons. Wolfson also painted portraits of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and President Woodrow Wilson.

Wolfson, who passed away in Montgomery in 1981 at the age of 83, was a resident of Montgomery for 40 years. Today his work can be found in the collections of several museums, including the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. His work has been widely exhibited across the United States and Europe.

Sources:, Montgomery Advertiser, Montgomery Museum of Art