The Ten Whitney Dissenters

At the 1981 memorial service for Louis Schanker friends and relatives were appropriately surrounded by his works. He died at the age of 78 only blocks away from the Martin Diamond Gallery on Madison Avenue, (where the memorial was held,) during a successful show of his oils and sculpture.   Ilya Bolotowsky a long time friend and fellow painter with a large, white, handlebar moustache related how he had
envisioned the formation of a new group.  He said that he enlisted Lou to get people Schanker Ten Listtogether because of his wide circle of friends.  A page from Schanker’s sketchpad lists the members of the group in his hand.  They included: Lou Schanker, Ilya Bolotowsky,  Ben-Zion, Marcus Rothkowitz, Adolph Gottlieb, Joe Solomon, Tschacbasov, Lou Harris, Ralph Rosenborg.  A tenth guest artist, Yankel Kufeld, participated in many shows to round out the group. Marcus Rothkowitz later shortened his name to Mark Rothko.

In the catalog from a show at Mercury Gallery in 1937 their mission is described as, “a protest against the reputed equivalence of American painting and literal painting.”  

[Interview with Bernard Braddon and Sidney Schectman, owners of Mercury Gallery Conducted by Avis Berman At New York, New York 1981 October 9 for Smithsonian, Archives of American Art 

They were variously described as expressionist, radical, cubist, and experimentalist. Schanker and Bolotowsky were in the awkward position of having their works included at the Whitney simultaneously with “The Ten” exhibits.  The group demonstrated a social consciousness by mounting an exhibit for the American League Against War and Fascism to benefit Spanish children. In addition to the Mercury Gallery they exhibited at the Montross,  Bonestell and Georgette Passedoit galleries in Manhattan and the  Galerie Bonaparte in France.

  "Musicians" by Louis Schanker is a study almost abstract in form, but instead of the flat, two-dimensional objective in this type of composition, there is a plasticity in the forms and a gamut of quivering color in their description which make it an outstanding painting of this show [at Georgette Passedoit Gallery].               
Art News, 1937

                                Clippings from "The Ten"