Pop (Isidor) Wiener

The “naïve painter”, Pop (Isidor) Wiener (born 1886), father to Dan Weiner and father-in-law to Sandra Weiner, found himself in a multi-generationally creative family. When Dan was young, he expressed a deep interest in becoming a painter. Pop being a working-class Russian immigrant rejected the idea of Dan becoming a painter. To fulfill his creative appetite, Dan became a successful photographer participating in The Photo League where he met his soon to be wife, Sandra, in 1940. Shortly after Pop turned sixty-five and retired, Dan and his brother, Sam, gifted him a set of watercolor paints to occupy his time and cope with the grief of losing his beloved wife, Dora, who died in 1950. Dan was so impressed with Pop’s resilience and commitment to painting that he encouraged him to work in oils on canvas. Pop’s paintings drew influence from his early life in Durleshty, Russia as well as being inspired by Rumanian folk art and carpets. At times his tableaus reflect the news of the day, or biblical events, or were even based on photographs Dan took in his travels while on assignments as a photojournalist. Pop faced much loss for periods of his life with the death of his middle son, Maxwell, dying from a car accident in 1917, his wife Dora dying in 1950, and the tragic death of Dan dying from a plane crash while on assignment in 1959. Pop, with a vital and childlike spirit, created over two hundred paintings in the span of his artistic career. After hearing of Grandma Moses, he reidentified himself as “Grand Pa” Wiener. His body of work and legacy through his family should have a lasting impact on the history of photography and folk art alike.

Bock, J. (1974). Pop Wiener: Naïve Painter. University of Massachusetts Press.



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