Harold Thurman

A native of Louisville,  Harold Thurman earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky. He met classmate and future wife Sue M. Thurman, museum director and later vice president for development at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. After he earned a Master of Arts degree from the University of Louisville in 1949, the couple then married and moved to New York in the summer of 1950, where she enrolled in a graduate fellowship at Columbia University before becoming director of the Junior Art Gallery in Kentucky in 1952. Harold Thurman later served as art supervisor in Corydon, Indiana in the late 1950s. After their son Blair was born in 1961, they moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, so he could teach at Newcomb-Tulane College. He was awarded a top prize at the Eighteenth Annual Louisiana State Art Exhibition that same year. In the late 1960s, during his wife’s directorship at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Massachusetts, Thurman contributed to exhibit graphics for the museum; he even designed the catalog for their second Andy Warhol retrospective in 1966, with ICA hosting a performance by The Velvet Underground, part of Warhol’s multimedia show Exploding Plastic Inevitable. After the couple divorced, he moved to Brookline, Massachusetts, to become a founding faculty member of the art department at the University of Massachusetts. He would teach in Boston for thirty years before moving back to his hometown in Louisville, Kentucky.  Although he worked with oil paintings, Thurman also specialized in electrostatic printmaking techniques used in producing artists’ books. His artworks were exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England; the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; and the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts, among others. In his work, Thurman paints with spontaneity and creates his art without presenting a political or social theme–“areas of color take delight in each other’s presence, while lines curve or straighten with deft tension.”