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Laguna Beach CA Branch

Essie Pinsker will prove to be one of the more interesting biographies among those of 20th-century American artists. A New Yorker born and bred, she was among those first feminists to entrust her two children to a housekeeper and go to work. Her fierce independence was further manifested when her husband refused to travel summer after summer, she went to Europe by herself to study and become absorbed in the great art and tradition of that continent.

Although she currently resides in southern California, Pinsker approaches her art with the cosmopolitan gusto of her heritage. She received a B.A. from Brooklyn College as a young woman before succeeding at eleven separate careers over the next 45 years. As a progressive, dynamic, and tirelessly innovative woman, her jobs included modeling, merchandising, advertising, public relations, newspaper reporting, magazine editing, fashion consulting, curating, teaching, being a fashion editor and art lecturer, all before taking the plunge in her most challenging profession as a sculptor. While raising young children in the early ’60s, she studied both sculpture and painting at New York University, The Art Students League, The Museum of Modern Art, and The New School. She also took graduate courses at Columbia University in New York, as well as at Cambridge University and Oxford University in England.

She worked traditionally in bronze for the first several years; then, inspired by sculptors David Smith and Henry Moore, she conquered the difficulties of welding while learning to work in stone, and found direct carving to be a compelling vehicle to communicate her own emotions into the powerful sculptures she was starting to create. During this process of learning, she journeyed to Pietrasanta, Italy,to investigate the techniques with marble used by Italian carvers. Back home in her studio—first located in New York’s Union Square, later in the Soho District, and finally Long Island City—she mastered the use of an air hammer, compressor, cut-off wheels, and other sophisticated tools needed to fine-tune her stylistic direction toward monumental works.

In 1981, she was given a one-woman show at Madison Avenue’s Bodley Gallery in New York City, and later was honored with sculpture awards in the Knickerbocker Artist 24th Annual Exhibition and The Metropolitan Life Art Show. In 1987, she received another solo exhibition at New York’s renowned Vorpal Gallery located in Soho. Over the years, Pinsker’s work also appeared in numerous group ...


In an Art Exhibition in the Cittadella della Pace, City of Peace, Italy, Essie, whose works in marble, bronze and steel have been acquired by twenty-one museums worldwide, reached her career zenith when her bronze Isaiah sculpture was shown in the same room with original drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. This major exhibit ran for over a month from November through December 2002. After this, Isaiah found its home in the permanent collection in the Papal Chapel in Rondine, City of Peace in Arezzo, Italy.

“The Rondine invitation meant more to me than one can possibly imagine,” Pinsker says. “I don’t remember anything in my life of art that excited me as much as when I realized I was going to be a part of an International City of Peace. The very concept of a city devoted to fostering international peace in these times of such grave global unrest seemed to be the most noble of endeavors. Then to learn that Isaiah would be shown in the same room with a collection of da Vinci drawings was the dream of a lifetime.”

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