Etrog, Sorel

views updated


ETROG, SOREL (1933– ), sculptor, painter, poet, filmmaker. Etrog was born in Jassy, Romania. In 1950, he immigrated with his family to Israel. He studied at the Israel Institute of Painting and Sculpture in Tel Aviv (1953–55). From 1955 to 1958, he was a member of the Ein Hod artists' colony. Etrog held his first solo show in Tel Aviv (1958). Awarded a scholarship to the Brooklyn Museum Art School/Institute, he studied in New York in 1958–59 and established a studio there.

In the summer of 1959, Etrog was invited to work in Canada by prominent art collector Samuel Zacks. That year, he held a solo exhibition at Toronto's Gallery Moos and in 1963 he moved permanently to Toronto. From 1964 to 1984 he worked in his studios in both Toronto and Florence, Italy. Etrog was one of three artists representing Canada at the 1966 Venice Biennale, where his reputation as a leading contemporary sculptor was confirmed.

Etrog is best known for his large public sculptures which range from the biomorphic to monumental bronze and steel structures. Marshall McLuhan described his "hinge" and "link" work as a drama of dialogue and interchange that reflects the "transformation of the old machine and its consumer products into new vital images of primal art and perception." Etrog also began as a painter in Israel. His "painted constructions" investigate the interdependency of painting and relief. He also realized a significant body of drawings, including studies and large-scale works on paper and canvas. His art is a process of exploration into the nature of human consciousness and the human condition. A poet himself, Etrog worked collaboratively with writers such as McLuhan, Claudio Aveline, Samuel Beckett, and Eugene *Ionesco.

The subject of numerous exhibitions, Etrog's art is widely represented in major museums and collections around the world, including the Tate Museum, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, d.c.; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the Kroeller-Mueller Museum, Otterlo; the Musée d'Arte Moderne, Paris; and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Among his many public and private commissions is Powersoul, which he created for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. In 1968, Etrog designed the Canadian film award statuette (called "the Etrog" until 1980, when it was renamed the "Genie").

In recognition of his contributions to contemporary art, Etrog was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1995 and a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by France in 1996.


T.A. Heinrich, The Painted Constructions 19521960 of Sorel Etrog (1968); C. Ragghianti, Sorel Etrog Sculptures Engravings Lithographs Documents (1968); P. Restany, Sorel Etrog (2001); W. Withrow, Sorel Etrog (1967).

[Joyce Zemans (2nd ed.)]