Sasson Soffer

Tachi Gallery
Tachi Gallery

Sasson Soffer was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1925. The son of a scribe, Soffer spent time observing and copying his father's unique rendering of Hebrew characters, a motif that would later appear in his art. With the outbreak of the Arab-Israel war in 1948 and the growing anti-Semitism in Iraq, Soffer went into hiding, and finally escaped by mule over the mountains to Teheran, where he lived for two years and began his life's work as an artist.

In 1950, Soffer arrived in the United States. Once in New York, he enrolled in Brooklyn College where he studied with Ad Reinhardt,Mark Rothko, Burgoyne Diller, and José de Rivera. Soffer dedicated the early part of his career to abstract painting and developed what would become his signature color —a deep ultramarine blue—, which he often embellished with Arabic calligraphy.

In 1954, Soffer had his first one-person exhibit, at the Artists Gallery in New York City. The next year, he was invited to show his work at the Carnegie Internationale in Pittsburgh. In 1961, Soffer had a one-person exhibit at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York City. That same year, he was once again invited to show at the Carnegie Internationale and was chosen as a New Talent, by Art in America.

Soffer was invited to exhibit at the Whitney Biennial in 1962 and won a Ford Foundation Purchase Award to the Whitney Museum. In 1966, his work was included in the Whitney Museum Annual.

In 1963, Soffer began to focus on three-dimensional works and soon became widely known for his pubic sculptures. Working with stainless steel and glass, Soffer produced many three-dimensional, monumental works, inspired by the Mobius Strip. His sculptures were exhibited at Lincoln Center, Battery Park, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Bard College, New York University, Harvard University, Hampshire College, Queens College, and Connecticut College. They are currently being exhibited in China, Israel, and Cuba. Soffer continued to paint and draw until 2009, when he passed away.