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Milton Resnick, 87; Abstract Expressionist

March 22, 2004|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Milton Resnick, an abstract expressionist painter whose work is in the collections of many major American museums, has died. He was 87.

Resnick died March 12 at his home on the Lower East Side of New York City. The cause of death was suicide.

Resnick was born in the Ukraine; his family emigrated to the United States when he was 5 and settled in Brooklyn, N.Y.

As a teenager he enrolled in a commercial art program at the Pratt Institute, but was encouraged to pursue fine arts.

A year later, Resnick left home after a disagreement with his father over his plans to pursue art.

He supported himself by working as an elevator boy and studied at the American Artists School in New York City.

In the mid-1930s, he worked on the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project in New York.

Drafted into the Army at the outset of World War II, Resnick served in Iceland and Europe and lived in Paris for three years after the war.

He returned to New York in 1948 and enrolled in abstract expressionist painter Hans Hofmann's school.

Resnick had his first one-man show in 1955. By then, his work reflected a passionate conglomeration of strongly marked shapes.

Over the next few years, his pieces became increasingly large, approaching mural size.

According to the Britannica Encyclopedia of American Art, Resnick's best paintings are lyrical and evocative, and call forth a train of nature images.

His work can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, both in New York City.

He is survived by his wife, Pat Passlof, who is also a painter.

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