MAX GINSBURG A Social Realist of Our Time!

Born: Paris, France, 1931

I was totally impressed with the work of Max Ginsburg from the first time I posed for him in a Members Sketch class at The Art Students League of NY until recently posing for him in his fabulous studio. Max definitely strives to capture the total essence of his subject and then connects it to an appropriate,and pressing social issue. I was able to get a more in-depth look at the man behind the genius in conversation while posing for his wife, Miryam, in the Clay Sculpture studio for Barney Hodes.

Blane poses in Max Ginsburg Studio

” Art is more than just color, value and shape! It is the relationship of these elements to create form. And above all it is the expression of ideas.” -Max Ginsburg


He was inspired by his father, who was also a painter. Abraham Ginsburg was the model and subject for “Stretching Canvas,” his first painting in 1956.

Abraham Ginsburg

Max always refers to the two artist he was inspired by, HARVEY DINNERSTEIN


Both of these artists marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., during the Civil Rights Movement.

Aunt Geneva


ABRAHAM GINSBURG painted Max’s Aunt one year before his birth.


“Young-Costa” captured as a model in 1979 which was shown at The Society of Illustrators and led to his illustration career first at BANTAM BOOKS and Warner Books.

"Brides For Sale" Book Jacket

Brides For Sale The Painting

He felt he finally became a professional artist, but realized that while the money was good, the art was too often not good.  He felt compromised, but justified those feelings with the need to put food on the table for his family. In 2004 he left the superficial world of Illustration and returned to the reality of his New York streets.

“As an artist I want to express my feelings concerning social issues.”  -Max Ginsburg

Max’s work deals with Humanity and if I had to sum up my impression of his artistry in one word, it would be “Humanism.”

Max’s compositions captures moments in time, he is a master at perspective and foreshortening! “Studying form from life makes a big difference.”

His depiction of emotion combined with stellar technique brilliantly capturing the human experience!


“War-Pieta” Blood for Oil! Iraq War (mother & dying son) In “War-Pieta” he expressed the real anguish of a mother screaming over the death of her dying son, in contrast to the serene Madonna in the Renaissance pietas.


“Coffee Break” , Social Profiling (Black protester & cop)


“Torture-Abu-Ghraib” (our tax paying dollars support torture and created war)



“At times, I use the photo as a reference to make a better painting by capturing momentary gestures, expressions and certain details of my subjects personalities. In my “Basketball” painting in Central Park I inserted the graffiti wall and the fence for symbolic and compositional reasons.”

“I learned much from many of my students!”


“Emily” (Portrait of a SVA student)

As an instructor, like at The School of Visual Arts, “I paint as I teach enabling my students to learn to paint more realistically. Painting in class alongside the students is a marvelous teaching tool.”

“Up-against-the-Wall” ( Connie at ASL) Max describes this painting, done in class while teaching, as an expression of hard times.

Contrast of light on the fabric and light on the skin seeing color as form helps to communicate the textures of the skin and the fabric.


“Bus-Stop” (book cover)

“Mix of many people together including the beggar all part of our society this is NY! The diversity of the people of New York is one of the beautiful qualities of the city.” -Max Ginsburg

Two of my favorite quotes from Max are;

“Paint what you see, not what you know, and you will get naturalistic realism as a result, not stereotyped formulas.”

“The quality of your art comes first then the statement or idea is second. An idea poorly drawn or painted is a poor work of art or no work of art.”

Max, Miryam, & Marc

MARC GINSBURG, his son is a writer and fellow member of the Soka Gakkai International.

Miryam Sculpture 1979

MIRYAM, his wife, is a Sculpture Artist (work shown from 1979)

Max Ginsburg Lecture/Book Signing at The Art Students League

“Modern art and all forms of art, like people, have the right to EXIST!” -Max Ginsburg

Max Ginsburg Gallery Representation:

Gallery Henoch, 555 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001

Cavalier Galleries, Inc., 405 Greenwich Avenue,

Greenwich, CT 06830



Mission Statement: "ELEMENTS of FIERCE!" is a celebration of artistic expression! The founder, Blane Charles, explores not what people wear, but who is wearing it? He feels that we all have a special style waiting to be shared with the world. Blane also wants to celebrate freedom of expression, uniqueness, individuality, and authenticity! Stay tuned to my "FAB FIVE FAVS!" where I feature five works of inspiration and beauty from my day to day travels.
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  1. Maria Amor says:

    This a beautiful piece. Beautifully put together…and gives us all the felling of being with Max. 🙂

  2. Wow. Just wow. Just discovering Max and am feeling like I’ve stumbled on a treasure.

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