The Ten Whitney Dissenters

At the 1981 memorial service for Louis Schanker friends and relatives were appropriately surrounded by his works at the Martin Diamond Gallery on Madison Avenue. Schanker died at the age of 78, only blocks away during this successful show of his oils and sculpture.   Ilya Bolotowsky, a long time friend and fellow artist related how he had envisioned the formation of a new group.  He said that he enlisted Schanker to get like-minded artists Schanker Ten Listtogether because of his wide circle of friends.  A page from Schanker’s sketchpad lists the members of the group in his own hand.  They included: Lou Schanker, Ilya Bolotowsky,  Ben-Zion, Marcus Rothkowitz, Adolph Gottlieb, Joe Solomon, Nahum 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


Exhibitions of The Ten

 December 16, 1935 - January 4, 1936: "The Ten: An Independent Group" at the Montross Gallery, 785 Fifth Avenue, NY

Ben-Zion, Ilya Bolotowsky, Adolph Gottlieb, Louis Harris, Jack Kufeld, Marcus Rothkowitz [Mark Rothko], Louis Schanker, Joseph Solman, Tschacbasov

January 1936: Municipal Art Gallery (Exhibition and gallery opened January 7, 1936)

November 10 - 24, 1936: Galerie Bonaparte, 12 Rue Bonaparte, Paris, France

December 14, 1936 - January 2, 1937: Montross Gallery

Ben-Zion, Ilya Bolotowsky, Lee Gatch, Adolph Gottlieb, Louis Harris, Jack Kufeld, Mark Rothkowitz [Mark Rothko], Louis Schanker, Joseph Solman

May 1937: Georgette Passedoit Gallery

Lee Gatch, Adolph Gottlieb, Jack Kufeld, Joseph Solman, Ilya Bolotowsky, Louis Schanker, Ben-Zion, Louis Harris, Mark Rothkowitz [Mark Rothko]

November 5 - 26, 1938: "The Ten: Whitney Dissenters" exhibition at the Mercury Galleries

Ben-Zion, Ilya Bolotowsky, Adolph Gottlieb, John D. Graham, Louis Harris, Earl Kerkam (guest), Ralph M. Rosenborg, Marcus Rothkowitz [Mark Rothko], Louis Schanker, Joseph Solman.

October 23 - November 4, 1939: Bonestell Gallery

Ben - Zion, Ilya Bolotowsky, David Burliuk, Earl Kerkam, Karl Knaths (guest), Jean Liberte (guest), Ralph Rosenborg, Marcus Rothkowitz (Mark Rothko), Louis Schanker, Joseph Solman.

In addition to the above exhibitions, The Ten held an exhibition and auction in Brooklyn to benefit Spanish children for the American League Against War and Fascism on December 3rd, 4th and 5th, 1938 at 85 Clark Street.



                                Clippings from "The Ten"