Gross, Chaim

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GROSS, CHAIM (1904–1991), U.S. sculptor. A native of Kolomea, Galicia, Gross went to the United States in 1921. Supporting himself by selling fruits and vegetables, he attended night classes at the Educational Alliance Art School in Manhattan, and then went on to study for four years at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design. He supported himself by his art from the time he joined the New York Public Works of Art Project in 1933. Gross taught at the New School of Social Research for 40 years and at the Educational Alliance Art School for 68 years.

Gross made sculptures for public institutions, including the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. He wrote the book: The Technique of Wood Sculpture (1957). He produced a large number of works in different media – wood, stone, bronze, pen and ink, and water color – but his contributions to wood sculpture are the most outstanding. The forests of the Carpathian mountains near his birthplace first taught him the qualities and potentialities of wood. Gross used more than 80 exotic hardwoods in his work, his favorite being lignum vitae, an exceptionally hard South American wood. He never camouflaged or overpolished its surfaces and never disguised its colors but respected its texture and grain. Among his favorite themes were female acrobats and mothers playing with small children.


J.V. Lombardo, Chaim Gross, Sculptor (1949); A.L. Chanin, in: C. Gross, Fantasy Drawings (1956), 716; L. Goodrich, in: Four American Expressionists (exhibition catalog; 1959).

[Alfred Werner /

Rohan Saxena (2nd ed.)]