Compiled by Brittany Cassandra

 

March 17, 1904

Chaim Gross is born in the Galician village of Wolowa, in Austro-Hungary (now the Ukraine).

He is the tenth child of Moses Gross, lumber merchant, and wife, Leah (Sperber).

 

1911

Family moves to Kolomyia.

 

1914

Brother Naftoli Gross (1896-1956) arrives in New York City.

 

1919-20

Gross goes to Budapest; wins a scholarship to the art school and begins his first formal study of art. Studies with Bela Uitz.

 

1920

Attends Kunstgewerbeschule (now known as the University of Applied Art) in Vienna.

 

1921

Arrives in New York City with his brother Avrom-Leib (Abraham).

 

1921-1927

Attends Educational Alliance Art School on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Becomes friends with Moses and Raphael Soyer, Peter Blume, Adolph Gottlieb, Ben Shahn and Barnett Newman.

 

1922-25

Attends classes at Beaux-Arts Institute of Design at Lexington and 76th Street, where sculptor Elie Nadelman is his teacher occasionally. Attends Beaux-Arts classes in the afternoon and Educational Alliance classes in the evening.

 

1927

Enrolls at The Art Students League where he studies under sculptor Robert Laurent.

Begins teaching at the Educational Alliance Art School, where he continues to teach for more than 50 years.

 

1930

Has a studio at 63 East 9th Street (between University Place and Broadway), which he keeps until 1953.

 

1932

First solo exhibition at Gallery 144, West 13th Street, New York (March 5-25). The exhibition consisted of 31 sculptures.

Marries Renee Nechin on December 13.

 

1933

Awarded Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship.

Joins the New York Public Works of Art Project; supports himself with his art for the first time.

 

1934

Becomes an American citizen and joins the New Deal's Federal Arts Project.

 

1935

Son Yehuda is born on July 10.

 

1936

Wins commission from Section of Painting and Sculpture, Treasury Department competition for art works for public buildings.

 

1937

Awarded silver medal at the Exposition universelle in Paris for his large-scale wood sculpture Offspring.

A. Conger Goodyear buys Handlebar Riders and donates it to the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

 

1938

Wins second commission from Section of Fine Arts, U.S. Treasury Department.

With William Zorach and others, founds the Sculptors Guild; serves as first President.

Filmmaker Lewis Jacobs films Gross carving Renee in his studio; the 30-minute film is called Tree Trunk to Head, and over the next few years Gross frequently screens it when giving public lectures.

 

1939

Gross, Raphael and Moses Soyer, and Alexander Dobkin start the New Art School, located at 567 Sixth Avenue. It is unknown how long the school lasted.

 

1940

Brother Pincus (Pinie) killed by Nazis in Vienna. Sister Sarah and her family are killed sometime in 1943.

Daughter Miriam (Mimi) is born on September 25.

 

1942

Gross wins the Second Prize ($3,000) for Lillian Leitzel at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Artists for Victory exhibition.

Acrobat Dancers is purchased by Whitney Museum of Art, New York.

Begins teaching at the Brooklyn Museum of Art School.

 

1949

One of five finalists in a Holocaust memorial competition sponsored by the Jewish Museum, New York.

Makes first of at least seven trips to Israel and attends the opening exhibition of the Tel Aviv Museum.

 

1951

Travels to Israel for three months to paint 40 privately commissioned watercolors of various cities.

 

1953

Forty watercolors painted in Israel are exhibited at the Jewish Museum, New York.

Leaves his longtime studio at 63 East 9th Street, for a studio on 12th Street, which he keeps until 1956.

 

1954

Austro-American art historian Alfred Werner writes the first of at least seven articles on Chaim Gross' life and work, entitled "Huger for Beauty" published in The Pioneer Woman. His last article appeared in 1976 in Jewish Frontier, and his monograph, Chaim Gross: Watercolors and Drawings, was published by Abrams in 1980.

 

1956

Has a studio at 48 Horatio Street, between Hudson Street and 8th Avenue, until 1961.

 

1957

Filmmaker Lewis Jacobs makes the 17-minute film, "The Sculptor Speaks," featuring Gross in his downtown studio.

Works in Rome on new works in bronze for four months at a studio on the Via Margutta.

Publishes The Technique of Wood Sculpture, an influential how-to book with photographs of Gross at work by famed photographer Eliot Elisofon.

 

1959

Exhibits in Four American Expressionists: Doris Caesar, Chaim Gross, Karl Knaths, Abraham Rattner at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Lives in Rome for several months, working in the studio on Via Margutta.

 

1961

Purchases a studio at 41 Grand Street in what would become SoHo.

Creates his Homage to Marc Chagall, whom he knew personally. The series consisted of four bronze sculptures made in 1961-62.

 

1963

Receives Award of Merit for sculpture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Gross and his family move from their longtime Upper West Side residence at 30 W. 105th Street to 526 LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village, which has a sculpture studio on the ground floor. This was Gross's second studio in addition to his studio at 41 Grand Street, purchased in 1961.

Lives and works in Rome for third and final time.

 

1964

Elected to membership of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, New York.

Begins work on a commission from Temple Sharaay Tefila in New York City (250 East 79th Street, the temple's new location, established in 1958). The works were completed in 1966. Gross created six nine-foot bronze panels entitled "Six Days of Creation."

 

1965

Travels to Mexico.

 

1966

Travels to Peru.

 

1969

Receives commission from the New York Board of Rabbis for sculptures on the Ten Commandments for the sanctuary of the International Synagogue at John F. Kennedy Airport, New York (completed 1971).

Travels to West Africa for the first and only time.

 

1970

Receives honorary doctorate from Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

 

1974

The Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation is created.

Chaim Gross is honored at the Herzl Foundation in New York City for his 70th birthday.

Solo exhibition Chaim Gross: Sculpture and Drawings, organized by Janet A. Flint, Smithsonian Curator of Prints and Drawings, at the National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

 

1976

Receives a Certificate of Appreciation from Mayor Abraham D. Beame at a dinner in Gross’s honor at the Educational Alliance. October 27th proclaimed Chaim Gross Day.

A selection from Gross's important collection of historic African sculpture, begun the late 1930s, is exhibited at the Worcester Art Museum in The Sculptor's Eye: The African Art Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Chaim Gross.

 

1977

Retrospective exhibitions at the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami, followed by the Montclair Art Museum, and the Jewish Museum, New York.

 

1978

Receives honorary doctorate of Human Letters from Yeshiva University.

 

1980

Receives honorary doctorate from Adelphi University, Long Island, New York.

 

1983

Becomes an Academician at the National Academy of Design, New York.

 

1984

Receives honorary doctorate from Hebrew Union College.

Inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, along with Jacob Lawrence.

 

1986

Receives honorary doctorate from Brooklyn College.

 

1991

Passes away at Beth Israel Hospital in May. Buried at Mount Lebanon Cemetery in Queens, New York.

Allen Ginsberg gives a tribute to Gross at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which is published in their Proceedings.

 

1994

The Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation opens to the public with a memorial exhibition of Chaim Gross's work.