Sam Feinstein

Russian / American, 1915-2003

Untitled, c. 1950s, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

Untitled, c. 1950s, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

Untitled, c. 1950s, oil on canvas, 55 x 65 inches


View our catalogue, Samuel Feinstein: paintings from the fifties


Feinstein’s paintings have a brilliance about them that emanates from his dynamic use of color. His work is lyrical and robust, and almost sculptural in some cases, with his use of thick layers of paint.  Hans Hofmann said, about Feinstein, in 1952, “Mr. Feinstein is a highly gifted and versatile artist with a pronounced standing of his own…and with a deep understanding of the plastic problems in painting.”

Sam Feinstein was born in Russia in 1915, and emigrated through Ellis Island with his parents when he was five years old. Raised in Philadelphia, he attended art school in his hometown, at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art. He graduated in 1936 with honors, and later returned as a professor.

During WWII, Feinstein served in the US army as an artist, and there expanded his range of media to include filmmaking. After the war, while teaching at Pratt Institute, he became an art and animation director for documentary films.

Like many of the other major abstract expressionist painters during this time, Feinstein studied with Hans Hofmann in Provincetown. The two had a unique relationship, which led to the creation of the documentary “Hans Hofmann”,  co-written by Hofmann himself, and filmed, edited and produced by Feinstein. It was shown in conjunction with Hofmann’s work, and two of Feinstein’s drawings, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1999.

When Hofmann ended his incredible career as a teacher, he approached Feinstein about continuing his legacy. Sam, however, had already begun his own career, and was teaching painting workshops in New York, Philadelphia, Princeton, Toronto, and Cape Cod. He taught for over 50 years.

Though he exhibited in New York, Philadelphia and Provincetown in the 1930s through the 1950s, he withdrew from commercial art practice to paint and teach privately for the rest of his life.