Longtime Oak Park resident Irving Newman — a man known for his dry wit and love of art — died peacefully at home on Oct. 21, 2021. Born on Feb. 2, 1934, in the Bronx he was educated there, first in yeshiva and then at James Monroe High School. After two years serving in the U.S. Army, he attended Brooklyn Community College and developed an interest in architecture and art, which he honed studying at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
He began painting, his style gravitating toward geometric abstraction, inspired by artist Josef Albers. Throughout the 1960s, he would come home from work, put on music — Brahms and Beethoven were his favorites — and paint and draw. He presented his work in exhibits at noted galleries, such as New York’s A.M. Sachs Gallery, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.
He left New York to travel the world, studying architecture and art in the 1970s, working for long stretches in Israel and London, where he met his future wife, Erusha Joseph, in 1976. They married on April 8, 1984, and this brought Irving from London to Oak Park, where Erusha was already residing.
He continued his work in architecture and was on the team that designed O’Hare Airport’s Terminal 5, but largely put his art away. His work was rediscovered in 2019 when he had his last exhibit — at Studio 8 in Forest Park.
Upon retirement, Irving and Erusha traveled frequently — to India and Israel, Australia and Europe — and entertained a wide circle of friends in Oak Park.
Irving Newman is survived by his wife, Erusha, and extended family members. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to any Parkinson’s foundation or organization.