David Aronson

American, 1923-2015

Three Musicians IV

1972 Encaustic on Panel

David Aronson created works in a variety of mediums that spoke to personal struggles with identity, religion, and his role as an artist, which were signature themes for the Boston Expressionist movement of which he was a part.

Aronson’s interest in art ultimately took precedence over his father’s desire for him to become a rabbi, and he enrolled as a student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 1941.  He inspired numerous artists at the Museum School and later at Boston University.  Throughout his life, Aronson’s artwork embodied his complex relationship with religion.  The scenes from the life of Christ that Aronson painted throughout the 1940s and 1950s, with distinctive figuration that resembled a self-portrait, provoked both the mainstream and religious press.

Aronson often combined the ancient and the religious with the contemporary and secular. His work after 1960, including sculpture, became more lyrical and concentrated on individual figures over complex compositions, although the merging of the spiritual and the secular always remained of interest.

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Hyman Hershman and the Shaw Family, 2014.17