Napoleon Comes to Brooklyn by Chaim Koppelman
Central Library, Foyer Gallery Cases
Pastels and prints imagining the emperor in this noted artist's hometown of Brooklyn.
Chaim Koppelman’s work includes two themes of continuing interest to the artist, both related to Brooklyn: Napoleon entering Coney Island, and couples. Koppelman described learning from Eli Siegel, founder of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism, “that in my pieces about Napoleon, I was dealing with the problem of the individual and the democratic. Napoleon, he said, represented the pushing sense of one’s individuality, the emperor in oneself, and also the desire for democracy. I am grateful to Eli Siegel for teaching the enduring criterion for judging what is beautiful in art and good in life: ‘All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.’”
Chaim Koppelman studied art at Brooklyn College, American Artists School, and Art Students League, and from 1940 to 1978 studied Aesthetic Realism with its founder, poet and critic Eli Siegel, and then with the Chairman of Education, Ellen Reiss. Koppelman taught at the School of Visual Arts, where he started the printmaking department in 1959. He was on the faculty of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation from 1973 to 2009. Additional teaching credits include Atelier 17, Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, National Academy, New York University, and SUNY New Paltz. His work has been shown at the Brooklyn Museum, MoMA, the Whitney Museum, and the Museo Napoleonico in Rome, among others.