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Al Held (1928–2005) was an American artist who earned his slot in the annals of American contemporary art with his bold, geometric canvases that took abstraction to another level. His free-floating, interlocked cubes and planes invited the viewer into a vertigo-inducing landscape that seemed to stretch on into infinity. Held grew up in Brooklyn and he enrolled in classes at the Art Students League, going on to study at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris in the early 1950s. The first solo exhibition of his work was staged there, in 1952 at the Galerie Huit. It was in New York, however, that new and exciting currents in the art scene were happening, and Held returned home.

Held spent 20 years teaching at Yale University’s esteemed art program, and retired as a professor in 1980. Held toiled for months and sometimes years on his immense canvases, some of which were so large that they could not be installed in a standard commercial art space. His works were avidly sought by contemporary art enthusiasts around the world and were part of the permanent collections of many institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

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