Sasson Soffer: Monumental Dream

Sasson Soffer: Monumental Dream

On view: March 30 – April 28, 2018 | Opening: Friday, March 30, 5-7pm

The Harlow, in partnership with the Sasson Soffer Foundation, is pleased to present works by Sasson Soffer made from late 1950s to 1990s, including a range of works on paper, paintings, sculptures and documental material. This exhibition explores sculpture as a possibility for Soffer to turn dreams into reality, whereas in painting, he turns reality into dreams, into fantasy. Sasson Soffer: Monumental Dream is on view March 30 – April 28, 2018 at 100 Water Street in Hallowell with a public opening reception on Friday, March 30, 5-7pm.

I had a dream of the accidental elegance of nature. I had a dream of lolling, twisting shapes. I had a dream of amoebae and insects and a prehistoric garden, the paradise of another world. I had a dream in which I fell asleep and dreamed of machines in motion, and then I awoke, still dreaming, and sketched the sweep of their dumb automation. I had a dream of metal growing from the ground, as plants grow in the earth, as crystals grow in caverns. I had a dream of color and rust. I had a dream of ice and silt. I dreamed all these dreams, and in dreaming them I scooped them from the abyss of my mind and made them conscious and true.” J.C. Hallman

Sasson Soffer (b. 1925 Baghdad, Iraq – d. 2009, New York, NY) was an Arab-Jewish descent, who was compelled to leave Iraq during the events surrounding the creation of the State of Israel, post–World War II. In 1948 Soffer went into hiding, finally escaping to Iran, then to United States via Israel. Between 1950 – 1954 he was enrolled at Brooklyn College, NYC. There he studied under artists including Ad Reinhardt, Burgoyne Diller and Mark Rothko. Rothko would be a lifelong friend and mentor. Soffer dedicated the early part of his career to abstract painting. He had his first solo exhibit in 1958 at the Artist’s Gallery in NYC. He was featured in Art in America’s New Talent Issue in 1962.

In 1956, he was invited to visit Maine by a group of early Skowhegan artists: among them, Bernard Langlais, with whom he became good friends. Sasson Soffer liked Maine well enough so that he bought property in Somerville as a summer home. The summer home turned out to have a tipsy chimney and when Soffer went to T. W. Dick about the metal brace, owner Ralph Dick suggested that since Soffer was an artist he should try making the brace himself. Ralph Dick died in 1968 and Myrtle Willey took over the mill. From 1968 to 1976, Mrs. Willey served as executive vice president and, since 1976, has been president of T. W. Dick.  In Gardiner, Maine Sasson was introduced to welding and steel fabrication. For over 30 years Sasson Soffer collaborated with T. W. Dick Steel Company in constructing his large scale sculptures. For Sasson, Myrtle Willey has meant continuity and continued opportunity.  In 1983 University of Maine at Augusta staged Sasson Soffer’s outdoor steel sculpture exhibition curated by Professor Robert Katz. 

In early 1960s, Soffer began to focus on three-dimensional works and over the years has perfected the art of seducing industry. Soffer also worked with steel yards in Philadelphia and Indiannapolis, a ceramics factory in Japan, and a textile mill in France where he made his tapestries.

Soffer’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Yale University, the O. K. Harris gallery, and the Carnegie International.  He has been featured in one-man shows at the Betty-Parsons Gallery, the Poindexter Gallery, the John Daniels gallery, the Portland Museum of Fine Arts, and the Gallerie Birch in Copenhagen.  Public collections in which he is represented include the Whitney Museum, the Butler Art Institute, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Chase Manhattan Bank, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

This exhibit is presented by Harlow Gallery in association with The Sasson Soffer Foundation and curated by Brigita Krasauskaite of Foreign Territories (Art Advisory.) All visuals are subject to copyright. All reproduction is subject to the authorization of the Sasson Soffer Foundation.

The Harlow is supported by Camden National Bank, the City of Hallowell, Kennebec Savings Bank, The Liberal Cup and The Maine House, the Roxanne Quimby Foundation and by our members.


Season Sponsors for 2018 are Book Orchard Press, Capitol Dental Care, Chris Walters Productions, Doug & Melinda Jennings, Eaton Peabody Attorneys at Law, Scrummy Afters Candy Shoppe, Slates Restaurant and Target Electric Corporation.

Programming is funded in part by a Partnership Grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Art.

The Harlow is a membership based 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to connecting and celebrating art, artists and community in downtown historic Hallowell since 1963. Exhibitions are always free and open to the public. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday noon-6pm.

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