Landmarks of 20th Century American Art

Monday, Dec 10, 2018 from 10:00am to 5:30pm

475 Park Avenue at 57th Street
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Each work in the show represents a point of departure for the Artist and for American art. An early, still life painting by Willem de Kooning created between 1928 and 1929 is shown alongside an influential abstraction by Arshile Gorky from the same years. Each of these is a precursor of works, and whole movements, to come. Elie Nadelman’s Two Circus Women, a seminal life-size plaster sculpture from the same time, is now a well-known image, as it served as the model for the monumental, marble sculpture in the promenade of the David H. Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center. Major still life paintings by Preston Dickinson and Marsden Hartley from the 1920s are these Artists’ unique impressions of their subjects, while a rare, abstract painting by Man Ray is more an expression of the act of painting itself.

The striking and elegant 1935 terra cotta and silver sculpture, Leaning Figure, by Alexander Archipenko will be shown with a Mother and Child oil on canvas by Arshile Gorky from 1937. The 1940’s yield an iconic Barn Abstraction painting by Charles Sheeler, a rare, major oil painting, Sea and Boat Fantasy, by John Marin and a startlingly original, pivotal oil by the African-American master, Norman Lewis. These works, taken together, exemplify dramatic changes in American art during this time. The 1950’s and 1960’s were turbulent times in American art; although non-objective art is not shown here, as it would require an entire exhibition of its own, the exhibition will show important social realist examples by Philip Evergood and Raphael Soyer; a mystical and mysterious portrait of his muse by the iconoclast, John Graham; an abstracted portrait of critic, Harold Rosenberg, by Elaine de Kooning; an elegant wood-and-found-object sculpture by Louise Nevelson and important paintings by Gregory Gillespie and George Tooker.

Completing this look at a century of American art is a “story quilt” by the percipient and courageous Faith Ringgold, an Artist known for paintings characterized by an outspoken activism that is as relevant and necessary today as it ever was.

The exhibition, Landmarks of 20th Century American Art, is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue with complete documentation and a scholarly text for each work on exhibit.  

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