About Tully Filmus

Tully Filmus, 1903–1998, artist.

A tailor, drawing by Tully Filmus
Drawings of a tailor by Tully Filmus.

Tully Filmus immigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of 10 from Ataki, Bessarabia. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Barnes Foundation, and spent 2 years in Europe on a scholarship. Settling in New York, he shared a studio with Willem de Kooning. He taught at the Cooper Union from 1938–50. He was known for his portraits of notable people, like Eleanor Roosevelt and Jonas Salk, as well as many works on Jewish themes.

In the words of Isaac Bashevis Singer:

Tully Filmus is an artist who refuses to be hypnotized by fashion. He is not afraid of “telling a story” even though this is considered a terrible sin among the art critics of today. He is not against experiment but will not take part in a “revolution” which has already all the signs of a cliché. Tully Filmus is still observing nature and drawing from its treasures. His courage in being true to himself and his concept of art evokes admiration for him and his work.1Filmus, Tully. Tully Filmus: Selected Drawings. With an essay by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1971, inside front cover.

Ismar David designed the book, jacket and chapter titles for Tully Filmus: Selected Drawing in 1971. The publication won a Certificate of Award at the Twenty-seventh Annual Philadelphia Book Show in 1972.

On press for Tully Filmus, Selected Drawings
Tully Filmus (wearing beret) and Ismar David (to his right) inspect a sheet, while printing Tully Filmus, Selected Drawings, 1971. Ismar David papers, box 10, folder 254, Cary Graphic Arts Collection, RIT.
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