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Janice Biala

Artist Statement


Janice Biala (1903 – 2000) was an American artist born in Biala Podlaska, a small city in eastern Poland. After immigrating to America in 1913 with her family, she attended New York’s public schools and at the age of 20 she enrolled at the National Academy of Design. Janice studied under Charles Hawthorne and Edwin Dickinson who both dramatically impacted her artistic practice. She convinced her brother, Jack Tworkov, also an artist, to attend an artist colony in Provincetown, MA with her where they honed their individual styles.

Janice Biala painted under various names but after her divorce she took the name of her birthplace, Biala. She was married twice and had a long-term relationship with Ford Madox Ford, the author.

Biala is a modernist and her work lies between figuration and abstraction. She transformed her subjects into shape and color using a relaxed approach to interpreting realism. Her work includes still-life, landscape and portraiture.

Janice painted over eight decades and on two continents. She stated, “I always had the feeling that I belong where my easel is. I never have the feeling of nationality or roots. In the first place, I’m uprooted person. I’m Jewish. I was born in a country where it was better not to be Jewish. Wherever you go, you’re in a sense a foreigner. I always felt that wherever my easel was, that was my nationality.” (In the New York Times, Sunday, June 25, 1989, article by Michael Brenson entitled “Three Who Were Warmed By the City of Light: Biala, Joan Mitchell, Shirley Jaffe”, 31-32.)

Her works are in collections at MoMA, Centre Pompidou, Art Institute of Chicago, Carnegie Art Museum, San Diego Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of Art, amongst others.