Phyllis Trager Hyman Oil Painting "The Fountain of Youth," 2004
Phyllis Trager Hyman (New York, 1936–2011)
The Fountain of Youth, 2004
Oil painting on canvas
Signed to the lower right
Title inscribed to the verso
Self-taught artist Phyllis Trager Hyman was raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as a child of Jewish immigrants. As a prolific individual who suffered from schizophrenia and polio during the 1940s epidemic, art-making served as a therapeutic life source that nourished her during periods of isolation and mental hardship. Hyman’s lively and vibrant compositions feature matrices of interwoven and overlapping shapes, both geometric and organic, some of which recall characteristics of Fernand Leger’s Constructivist compositions or Wassily Kandinsky’s Compositions series.
Plagued by a negative self-perception, Hyman lived a quiet life with her husband of 36 years, and shared an interest in existentialism and Beat poetry. Much of her work expressed her feelings about identity, emergence, birth, confinement, and hope. Unfortunately, Hyman did not receive much attention in the art world during her lifetime, due to the fact that she lived a very private and isolated life. However reviews have described her work as whimsical, puzzling, and even nightmarish, as her symbology incorporated aspects of her personal iconography and lexicon, such as letters, numbers, phrases, and visual puns.
- paint stains to the edges of the canvas; some paint chipping and scratches throughout the composition.