Happy Birthday Al Held!! Born in America in 1928, Al Held was an Abstract Expressionist painter. After serving in the Navy, he studied art first at the Art Students League in New York City, then in Paris at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere. Held struggled to find his niche, but did become known for his large hard-edge canvases. Following a brief period where he painted in only black and white, he returned to more colorful work. The painting below was painted in 1982.