Michael Mazur dead at 73 of heart failure

Michael Mazur, “Rain I,” 2008, oil on canvas, 42″ x 48″

Michael Mazur, a relentlessly inventive printmaker, painter and sculptor whose work encompassed social documentation, narrative and landscape while moving back and forth between figuration and abstraction, died on Aug. 18 in Cambridge, Mass. He was 73 and lived in Cambridge and Provincetown, Mass. According to William Grimes’s obit in the NY Times, the cause was congestive heart failure. “Mr. Mazur first came to public notice in the early 1960s with two series of etchings and lithographs depicting inmates in a mental asylum in Howard, R.I. The series, �Closed Ward� and �Locked Ward,� rendered with the hand of a master draftsman, showed human beings in unbearable torment.

“These lost souls, John Canaday wrote in The New York Times, ‘have the terrible anonymity of individuals who cannot be reached, whose ugly physical presence is only the symptom of a tragic spiritual isolation.’ Mr. Mazur�s restless artistic temperament led him to explore a variety of styles and media, shuttling between realism and abstraction. He produced narrative paintings like ‘Incident at Walden Pond,’ a triptych from the late 1970s depicting the aftermath of a rape, and, beginning in the 1990s, abstract landscapes based on his own vascular system and on Chinese landscapes of the 12th to 15th centuries. ” Read the rest of the NY Times obit here.


  1. So sad. Two years ago I had a short email correspondence where Mr. Mazur very pleasantly agreed to be interviewed by a rather unimportant grad student. Sadly I was never able to do that interview but I will always be touched by his willingness to meet and his kindness to a student.

  2. You are lucky…. though his art is wonderful and inventive….sadly I found the man was simply a pompous ass.

  3. I really love this work from Mazur. Does anyone know if it's still available if I want to buy it?

  4. Elizabeth Harper


    this article by the great John Yau gives a taste of what a remarkable and generous man Mazur was. He was deeply beloved by fellow artists, writers, students and friends.

  5. Elizabeth Harper

    Contact Ryan/Lee Gallery in New York for work like the above.

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