Born 1934 in Omaha, Nebraska, he became a noted figurative expressionist painter in the New
York art scene from 1958. While in high school he frequented jazz nightclubs in Omaha listening
to Sarah Vaugh, Ella Fitzgerald and etc…In the early 1950s, he studied in Paris with Ossip
Zadkine and André Lhote but was most influenced by the work of Chaim Soutine, who had died
a decade earlier. In that time, Milder spent two summers living with the Arabs in North Africa.
Back to America,1956, he spent one semester at the Chicago Art Institute, then traveled to
Mexico studying the Pyramids. He exhibited in Pueblo, Mexico, where he was awarded the
Certificate of Mexican Artist. Back in America, Milder studied in Provincetown, Mass. with
Hans Hoffmann. There, he was in group exhibitions at the Sun Gallery. He together with Bob
Thompson and Red Grooms founded The City Gallery, and Delancey Street Museum in New
York City. Milder’s first exhibition originally was with Allan Stone Gallery, 1960, then Martha
Jackson became Milder’s dealer, and Walter Chrysler was his first collector. Milder’s first
Museum exhibition was in Puerto Rico at the Museum of Rio Piedra,1960. During this time
Allan Kaprow gave his first Happening in New York City at Ruben Gallery, when he invited
Milder and Bob Thompson to be participates in his first Happening and to paint a panel as part of
the performance. Red Grooms, Bob, and Jay participated in many of Kaprow’s Happenings
From the 1960s to the ’70s. Reference on those Happenings in NYC can be founded by Mildred
L. Glimcher’s book Happenings in New York City, Pace Gallery.
Milder was influenced by the Hasidic mysticism of his ancestors, numerology, and Kabbalah.
In the 70's he started to write a book called the Genesis of Western Alienation, in the book he
experiences the America jazz clubs, which taught him polyphonies and hermeneutics, keeping
both sides of the brain working. Milder discovered while he was writing this book that there was
a school in Florence, during the Renaissance, which taught Kabbalah to Michelangelo, Sandro
Botticelli and other Renaissance artists the school was run by Pico de Mirandola and Cosmo Di
Medici. The school allowed for individual interpretation. With all these combinations of
knowledge, generated a style that was very personal. Thomas Hess mentioned that Milder, along
with eight other artists, was the original Figurative Expressionists. Milder was invited in 1999 as
a major example of Figurative Expressionism for a solo exhibit in the museum of fine arts in
Brazil. Milder had shown in Brazil in the best Museums for about 15 years. And was the first
American to be invited in 2010 to create a public permanent graffiti mural in the Rebolsas ave.
São Paulo, Brazil. Rifka Milder is a painter and Jay Milder’s daughter and was a good friend of
Basquiat in High School when she invited him to Jay’s studio and it was the first time he saw
that loose painting style, which Basquiat commented how he would like to be free as Jay’s.
Milder always was a Figurative Expressionist where he states his beliefs in the dialect
perspective, he is considered one of the top thee Figurative Expressionist with George McNeil
and Robert Beauchamp as April Kingsley stated in her book, Emotional Impact, p. 04, 2015.
Kingsley was the curator at the Eli Broad Museum when she presented a major exhibition of
Figurative Expressionism, 2014-15.
Milder was invited for 3 months solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil when they gave him the title of Cultural of the Arts Ambassador.
Milder was part of the major exhibition Inventing Downtown, Artists-run Galleries in New York
City 1952-1965, curator by Melissa Rachleff at Grey Gallery, 2016-17. Milder was invited for
solo exhibition at a major museum in Havana, Cuba for 2020.
Museums Exhibitions and Collection
2020 Casa Museo de Mexico, Havana, Cuba.
2019 Provincetown Museum, MA. Figurative Animistic Expressionism, September 19, 2019
2016 Museo de Arte e Origins/Museum of Art and Origins, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2008 The Eli Broad Art Museum, Michigan
2009 National Museum of Brasilia, Federal District, Brazil (solo)
2006 Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (solo and extended for two months)
2003 Museum of Modern Art, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil (solo)
Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, Spain
1999 National Museum of Fine Arts, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (solo)
1993 Greenville Museum, Greenville, SC
1978 Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Caroline (30 paintings at Horus Richter Wing at the
1972 The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA, (solo)
1964 Joslyn Museum, Omaha, NE, (solo)
1961 Museo de Belas Artes Atheneu Puertoriqueño, San Juan, Puerto Rico, (solo)
1960 Museo de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, (solo)
Delancey Street Museum, New York, NY, (solo)
Historical Group Show Exhibition
2016-17 - Grey Art Gallery, NYU, Inventing Downtown - Artists-run Galleries in New
York City, 1952-1965. Curator Melissa Rachleff.
Selected Solo Gallery Exhibitions
2019 Provincetown Art Museum, Sept. 19.
2016-17 Quogue Art Gallery, Noah’s Ark: Many Views, Hamptons, NY.
2005, 2004, 2003 - Celebration, Lohin Geduld Gallery, New York, NY.
2001 Andre Zarre Gallery, New York, NY.
Hugo Pagano Gallery, New York, NY.
1998 Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York, NY.
1997 Retrospective show, Hugo Pagano Gallery, New York, NY.
1996 Horace Richter Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel.
1995 Kathleen Ross Gallery Soho, New York, NY.
1994 Alitash Kebede Gallery, Los Angelos, CA.
1991 Private Stories, Alitash Kebede Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA.
Schick Art Gallery Museum, Skdmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY.
Virginia Beach Center for the Arts, Virginia Beach Center for the Arts, Va.
1990 Horace Richter Gallery, Jaffa, Israel.
1988 Girgis & Klym Gallery, Fitzroy, Australia.
1987 Richard Green Gallery, catalog: “Jay Milder–Messiah on the IND,” Martha Henry, cura-
tor, New York.
Harcourts Contemporary, San Francisco, CA.
1986 Sid Deutsch Gallery, New York, NY.
Gallery Four, Charlotte, VA.
1982 Oscarsson Hood Gallery, New York, NY.
1979 Ingber Gallery, New York, NY.
1978 Art Latitude, New York, NY.
1977 Bienville Gallery, New Orleans, LA
1975 Lerner Heller Gallery, New York, NY.
1963-65 Martha Jackson Gallery, New York.
Yale School of Art and Architecture, Seven Younger Painters
1963 Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, HO.
1960 Zabriskie Gallery, New York, NY.
Allan Stone Gallery, NY.
Delancey Street Museum, New York, NY.
1959 Martham Gallery, Omaha, NE.
1958 The City Gallery, New York, NY.
Artist in Residence
1971 City College, City University of New York, NY
1970 Chrysler Museum School, Norfolk, VA
1969 Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, MD
1965-69 Yale University, once per month talking with graduate students, Honorary position.
1965 Brandies Institute, Sant Susanna, CA
1962-64 Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH
Honors and Awards
1999 Cultural Exchange Representative between America and Brazil at
Belles Artes Museum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
1998 National Endowment for the Arts.
Participation in Arts Conference, Lubjana, Yugoslavia
1991 Critic Donald Kuspit lecture on Milder’s work during the “Jay Milder: Urban
Visionary - Retrospective Show 1958-1991,” Virginia Beach Museum, VA.
Honored as Professor Emeritus at city College of New York.
1966 National Graphics Award.
1965 Rainbow Arts Foundation Award, Exhibition Museum, Guadalajara, Mexico
1964 Ohio State Painter’s Award.
1955-66 Mexican Artists Award, Puebla, Mexico.
2017 Melissa Rachleff, Inventing Downtown, Grey Gallery Exhibition Catalog.
2016 Judith E. Stein, Eye of the Sixties, mentioned Milder several occasions.
2015 April Kingsly, Figurative Expressionists, pages 04, 28, 37, 39, 40.
2014 Adam Zucker, Rhino Horn, Provincetown Museum Exhibition
2006 Museum of Modern Art, Jay Milder Expressionism, Rio de Janeiro, 2006.
1991 New England Center of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn, CT, Jay Milder: Urban Visionary,
Catalog Essays by Peter Selz and Judith Stein.
1990 David Anfam, Abstract Expressionism, London, Thames and Hudson, p.162.
1987 Donald Kuspit, Jay Milder at Green Gallery, Art Forum, Dec.1987, p. 111.
1986 Mourrice Tuchman, The spiritual in Abstract Painting 1890-1985, Los Angeles
County Museum of Art, 1986, p. 136-137.
1981 The Sun Gallery, Provincetown, MA
1980 The Messiah, Richard Green Gallery, NYC.
1980 American Figurative Painting, Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA
1977 Dorothy Suckler Gees, Provincetown Painters, Everson Museum of Art,
1972 Barry Schwartz, Jay Milder’s Developing Vision of Absurdity.
1970 Stephen Pepper, Rhino Horn, New York, NY.