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Phyllis Trager Hyman Cubist Style Portrait Woodcut

Item Details

Attributed to Phyllis Trager Hyman (New York, 1936 – 2011)
Untitled (Cubist style figure)
Woodcut on folded paper

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.

  • Item not examined outside of mounting


- toning to the paper; print has been folded for presentation; water damage, tears, and warping to the lower edge of the mat; paint and scratches to the frame.


16.0" W x 20.0" H x 0.75" D

- measures frame; visible image measures 9.0" W x 12.0" H.

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