Abe Ajay

1919 – 1998
An artist with a spirited sense of humor, Abe Ajay is noted for his constructions and collages. In 1968 he created a vocabulary of three-dimensional geometric forms to use in his art.

Ajay’s parents emigrated as children from Syria during the Turkish persecutions of the 19th century. They met and married in 1916, settling in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Abe Ajay was their second son, born in 1919. He started his artistic life as a child, drawing racing cars, biplanes, and heroes. He discovered serious art, in the form of Syrian Orthodox icons, while he was an altar boy for his parish. Other early influences included Van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo.

Ajay originally worked as a commercial artist, as well as being a WPA artist during the depression. He was able to turn entirely to his professional career in 1963. He had his first solo show a year later. He has since had numerous solo and group shows in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Los Angeles, CA. His art is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the National Museum of American Art, the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and many others. He has maintained a studio in Bethany, CT since 1949.