Born in 1906 in New York, Herbert Ferber attended the City University of New York and Columbia University. From 1927-30 he studied sculpture at the Beaux Art Institute of Design and at The National Academy of Design, New York.
In 1936 he participated in First American Artists' Congress and joined the artists' Union. Considered one of the first generation abstract Expressionists, Ferber had his first solo exhibition in New York in 1937. In 1940 founded the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, as splinter group from American Artists' Congress (with Meyer Schapiro, Adolph Gottlieb, Mark Rothko, Ilya Bolotowsky, Bradley Walker Tomlin, David Smith, and others). In 1947, his collegue Barnett Newman wrote the catalogue for Ferber's first exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery. In 1950 he joined "The Irascibles" in protest against juried painting exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Herbert Ferber died in 1991 in North Egremont, Massachussets.