Press Releases

Press Releases issued by Acme Fine Art

WORKS ON PAPER

Picture 04021 November – 23 December, 2008

On 21 November 2008 WORKS ON PAPER, an exhibition of fine original watercolors and drawings from 1940 to the present, will open at ACME Fine Art, Boston. The artwork of more than twenty-five artists has been selected by gallery director David Cowan for this first-of its kind, exhibition for the gallery. A reception from six to eight on Friday evening (the 21st) will mark the opening. The exhibition will run through Tuesday 23 December.

ACME Fine Art’s WORKS ON PAPER will feature artwork that was created as early as 1915 and as recently as last week. Early modern artists whose work will be included in the exhibition are Werner Drewes, Blance Lazzell, Kenneth Stubbs, Charmion Von Wiegand, and Hananiah Harari. A fine tonal watercolor titled Bowery Beauty by Reginald Marsh will figure prominently in the selections from the first half of the 20th century, and a very rare early monotype by Edwin Dickinson round off the selection of work created early in the century.

Fine original examples of mid-century artwork by Richard Filipowski, Hans Hofmann, Jack Tworkov, George McNeil, Maurice Freedman, and Stephen Pace will be featured. Two Provincetown watercolors that date from the 1950s by the noted figurative expressionist painter Lester Johnson will also be on display. An unusual early surrealist collage dating from the 1940s by avant-garde artist Andre Racz also promises to be one of the exhibition highlights. Noteworthy examples by contemporary artists Vincent Castagnacci, Hermine Ford, George Lloyd, and Robert Kipniss will figure prominently in the exhibition as well.

For further information about this exhibition, or other gallery events please contact the gallery at 617.585.9551, or via e-mail at info@acmefineart.com.

ACME Fine Art and Design is located at 38 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday.

MICHAEL LOEW (1907-1985): EN PLEIN AIR

Picture 00417 October – 15 November 2008

ACME Fine Art’s second solo exhibition of the work of Michael Loew is comprised of a group of fine watercolors and drawings created while the artist was in residence on his beloved Monhegan Island in Maine. Loew began spending the summer months on Monhegan in 1949 and continued doing so for almost thirty years. During the early years he enjoyed sketching the island landscape in watercolors that were painted en plein air. ACME Fine Art’s exhibition will feature a fine group of such watercolors that were painted between 1949 and 1954 as well as a group of drawings from the same period.

While the influences of teachers such as Vaclav Vytlacil and Hans Hofmann can be appreciated in this early work, Michael Loew’s adaptation of modern ideas on formal structure and color yielded something completely fresh and original. The early watercolors bear witness to the artist’s fundamental interest in and adaptation of a reductive theory that always had its basis in nature. Throughout his career Loew’s point of departure was often the landscape and light of coastal Maine.

In her essay Nature Into Abstraction that was published in conjunction with Loew’s 1997 retrospective exhibition at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland Maine, curator Susan Larsen aptly describes Loew’s early geometric work as a “fusion of landscape and radical abstraction.” These watercolors visually demonstrate the fusion described by Dr. Larsen, and they capture the precise conception of an evolutionary process for the artist that ultimately led to the creation of his highly synthesized, seminal neo-plastic “Open Space” paintings of the 1970s and early 1980s.

The exhibition Michael Loew, En Plein Air will be on view at ACME Fine Art from 17 October through 15 November 2008.

For further information about this artist or exhibition, or other gallery events please contact the gallery at 617.585.9551, or via e-mail at info@acmefineart.com.

ACME Fine Art and Design is located at 38 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Friday and 11:00 to 5:00 on Saturdays.

GEORGE McNEIL: OIL PAINTINGS FROM THE 1950s AND 1960s

Picture 09417 October – 15 November 2008

An exhibition of rare and important oil paintings by George McNeil will open at ACME Fine Art’s 38 Newbury Street galleries on Friday 17 October 2008. The exhibition will be comprised of a group of 19 works from the estate of the artist that date from between 1951 and 1969. This was a period that encompassed the artist’s full-blown action paintings as well as the powerful transitional works that demonstrate McNeil’s growing interest in abstract figuration. The exhibition will be on view through the 15th of November. Exhibition catalogues are available through the gallery.

George McNeil was a true pioneer of American modern art. Today he is recognized as one of the few true first-generation Abstract Expressionist painters. It should also be noted, however, that McNeil’s legacy in modern art began long before his participation in the advent of the New York School. Among his other early noteworthy accomplishments McNeil was one of the founders of the American Abstract Artists group in 1936, and in 1939, McNeil was one of only five non-objective artists whose work was selected for the New York World’s Fair exhibition.

McNeil got his start as an artist as early as 1922 when while still a teenager- he attended art classes at the Brooklyn Museum. Thanks to seminal exhibitions that he viewed at the Brooklyn Museum of their Société Anonyme collection and others at the Metropolitan Museum during the 1920s, McNeil became an ardent admirer of the work of Picasso, Matisse, Duchamp, and Picabia. Between 1927 and 1932 McNeil’s studies at the Art Students League introduced him to Vaclav Vytlacil, Jan Matulka, and most importantly, Hans Hofmann. McNeil became closely associated with Hofmann during this period. In 1936 and 1937 McNeil acted as Hofmann’s class monitor, official assistant, and unofficial interpreter of Hofmann’s theories. (An often-repeated story about McNeil’s role as interpreter is that when Lee Krasner was asked what she thought of Hofmann’s theories, she responded that she could not say, because all she really understood was McNeil’s version.) The collegial atmosphere of the Hofmann School helped sponsor his lifelong friendships with artists such Giorgio Cavallon, Mercedes Matter, John Opper, William Freed, Lillian Orlowsky, and Rae Eames. Similarly, McNeil’s participation in the Federal Arts Project in the 1930s led to associations with Burgoyne Diller, Willem De Kooning, and James Brooks.

After earning his Ed.D. at Columbia University in 1943, McNeil served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. His distinguished teaching career began with a two-year post at the University of Wyoming following the war, after which he accepted the Directorship of the Pratt Institute Evening Art Program. As Director McNeil, was responsible for bringing Franz Kline, Philip Guston, Reuben Nakian, and other noteworthy artists in to teach classes. McNeil served on the faculty at Pratt from 1948 until 1981. During his tenure at Pratt McNeill also taught at the University of California at Berkeley in 1956 and 1957, and at the New York Studio School of Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture from 1966 to 1981.

In the late 1940s McNeil joined the Charles Egan Gallery in Manhattan. Egan was one of the first galleries in New York to feature the work of Abstract Expressionist artists. During this time Egan was also showing the work of Willem De Kooning, Franz Kline, Giorgio Cavallon, Philip Guston, and Robert de Niro Sr. In 1950 McNeil had his first of four solo exhibitions at the Charles Egan Gallery. Since that time McNeil’s work has been widely exhibited in galleries, in private collections, and in museum venues alike. A detailed list of solo and group exhibitions and museum collections containing the work of George McNeil follows the current exhibition catalogue images. Some of the highlights include: participation in group exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago (1947), Museum of Modern Art (1951,1959,1969, 1985), the Whitney Museum of American Art (1957,1961,1965, 1988) Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1961), and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1962,1966). McNeil’s work is in the permanent collections the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

For ACME Fine Art’s third solo exhibition of the paintings of George McNeil the gallery has chosen to focus on the artist’s fully abstract paintings from the 1950s and 1960s. This was the period when McNeil’s work first began to receive the serious critical attention that it deserved. McNeil had excellent gallery representation during this period, and his work was exhibited regularly, first at Egan (until 1954), then at the Poindexter Gallery (through 1959), and later at the Howard Wise Gallery (1960-1967.) As previously noted McNeil’s work was frequently included in significant museum venues around the country in the 1950s and the 1960s. It should also be noted that his work was regularly reviewed by such publications as Time Magazine, the New York Times, and Art News, and by writers such as Thomas Hess, Barbara Rose, Clement Greenberg, William Seitz, and Irving Sandler.

The work from 1950s is characterized by McNeil’s signature use of multiple layers of thick impasto with complexly interlaced textural bands or areas of pigment. These canvasses are the boldly colorful, spontaneously conceived, emphatic, artistic statements by an artist who has found his natural expressionist’s voice. In short they constitute classic, New York School, Abstract Expressionism.

The decade of the 1960s was an important period of transition for McNeil. In the 1960s his forms while often equally textural rich and complex- in many cases carried figural or landscape associations. Frequently the titles of these paintings such as Nassau or Rhoda- echo such associations. (Some were in fact painted en-plein-air.) During this period McNeil began to experiment with abstracted vaguely figural shapes, and an enhanced sense of spatial depth. In a number of the canvasses that were painted near the beginning of the decade, he also often employed a lighter even feathery- almost frenetic gesture. By the end of this pivotal decade, the figure had become more fully sensate in McNeil’s work; nonetheless, the expression remained an abstract vehicle used by the artist as an additional tool in his visual language. These paintings display the artist’s struggle to convey more than he could otherwise do using what had become his traditional means. These are compelling transitional works that like the artist- are rich in complexity and are often enigmatic. These too are the works that led the emotionally charged Neo-Expressionist canvasses that became McNeil’s hallmark in the 1970s, ’80s & ’90s.

For further information about this artist or exhibition, or other gallery events please contact the gallery at 617.585.9551, or via e-mail at info@acmefineart.com.

PETER BUSA: INDIAN SPACE & BEYOND

Picture 0775 September – 11 October, 2008

ACME Fine Art’s opening exhibition of the Fall season will feature paintings and works on paper by the noted New York School artist Peter Busa. The exhibition will open to the public on 5 September 2008. A reception celebrating the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery is planned for the evening of Friday, 12 September from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. At a special Gallery Talk on Saturday 13 September 2008, at 1:00 p.m., Christopher Busa –the artist’s son- will present a lecture called The Life, Times, & Artwork of Peter Busa. All events are open to the public at no charge.

Peter Busa (1914-1985) was a central figure in the development of the New York School as it emerged in the early 1940s. During that time Busa -along with Matta, Baziotes, Pollock, and Motherwell- pioneered the development of automatic painting and drawing techniques that became identified with Surrealism initially and Abstract Expressionism later on. It was also during this period that Peter Busa’s work was exhibited regularly at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery in Manhattan, culminating with a solo exhibition there in 1946.

Busa’s early work is of two types. The first employed the automatic techniques that he and his Surrealist compatriots pioneered. Busa’s canvases of this type rely heavily on poured and/or dripped paint and date from the mid-1940’s typically. The second type of painting was commonly more geometric -often angular- and these paintings were heavily influenced by Native American art. It was Busa’s interest in Native American design motifs and the consequent balance of positive and negative aspects of space; however, that led to the development of the style of painting with which Busa’s name is most closely associated today: Indian Space Painting.

In fact, Peter Busa was one of a small group (which included Will Barnet and Steve Wheeler) of twentieth century American, avant-garde artists whose work was most profoundly influenced by Native American art and spirituality. Busa’s Indian Space Paintings bear witness to these influences with an aesthetic balance and primal strength all their own. It is important to note that even early on in his career Busa had an ability to synthesize and marry diverse ideas. This can be seen clearly in his efforts in the 1940s and 1950s to balance the positive and negative space in his automatically conceived paintings and drawings, while at the same time using –even celebrating- the spontaneously expressive event in his geometric paintings. This was in stark contrast to the approach taken by most of the artists working within the Indian Space idiom at that time.

During the 1950s and through the 1960s and 1970s Busa began to explore the expressive limits of abstraction on one front and those of geometric minimalism on the other, often working at the extreme ends of the spectrum, and at other times somewhere in between. By the 1980s Busa had once again begun to synthesize and marry the ideas that he continued to find compelling. His late work does achieve a successfully integrated amalgam of approaches to color, form, and expression in a visually convincing way that is completely original, and unique to Peter Busa.

ACME Fine Art’s second solo exhibition of paintings and drawings by Peter Busa will take a retrospective view of the artist’s career. The artwork is drawn from private collections as well as from the estate of the artist, and has been chosen and organized to illustrate the connections between the variety of formal conceits described above. The exhibition will include a select group of Indian Space Paintings, important Abstract Expressionist and Minimalist works, and an excellent selection of paintings that defy such simple categorization. Collectively the artwork dates from between 1945 and 1983.

Peter Busa’s work has been widely exhibited since his inclusion in the New York World’s Fair exhibition in 1939. Since that time his work has also been included in exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution, to name a few. It is also worth noting that canvasses by Busa were included in eight Whitney Museum of American Art Annual Exhibitions between 1946 and 1972. Work by Peter Busa is in the permanent collections of all of the Museums listed above.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition of paintings by Peter Busa will open on 5 September and run through 11 October 2008. For further information about this artist or exhibition, or other gallery events please contact the gallery at 617.585.9551, or via e-mail at info@acmefineart.com.

ACME Fine Art and Design is located at 38 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. Summer Hours are 11:00 to 5:00 Tuesday through Saturday, and other times by appointment.

MAURICE FREEDMAN: SELECTED OIL PAINTINGS

5 September – 11 October, 2008

On Friday, 5 September 2008 an exhibition of important oil paintings by the noted twentieth century expressionist painter Maurice Freedman will open at ACME Fine Art, 38 Newbury Street Boston, MA. A reception marking the occasion of the artist’s first solo exhibition at ACME Fine Art will take place on the following Friday, 12 September 2008 between 6:00 and 8:00 in the evening.The exhibition will feature a fine selection of works that date from as early as 1946, and will contain a variety of genres including, interiors, landscapes, and figural compositions, all painted in Freedman’s unique and distinctly expressionist manner. These boldly colorful canvases successfully convey –without self-consciousness- the spirit of the time in which they were painted, and they continue to delight the eye and the intellect.

Maurice Freedman’s art education began at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1919. He also attended classes at the Massachusetts College of Art before moving to New York in 1927 to study at the Art Students League. Freedman’s formal education was completed with three years of study in Paris at the Academie L’hote.

Even at an early age Freedman’s richly colorful, wildly expressive canvases, were at once both modern and accessible. Positive critical response to his work came soon after his return to the U.S. In 1934, one of Freedman’s paintings was included in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Annual Exhibition, and in the same year he signed with Midtown Galleries in Manhattan. Since that time his work has been included in museum exhibitions at the Carnegie Institute, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Americam Academy of Arts & Letters, the Washington University Art Gallery, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Today Maurice Freedman’s work is in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, Carnegie Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition of paintings by Maurice Freedman will open on 5 September and run through 11 October 2008. For further information about this artist or exhibition, or other gallery events please contact the gallery at 617.585.9551, or via e-mail at info@acmefineart.com.

SUMMER SALON 2008

27 June – 16 August, 2008

Twentieth century American painting from New England’s summer art colonies will be the focus of ACME Fine Art’s summer-long SUMMER SALON exhibition. The –something for everyone- exhibition will open on Friday 27 June and will remain on view through 16 August 2008.

More than thirty artists and over forty works will be included in the exhibition that will present a stylistic cross section of modern art in America. Coastal New England art colonies such as Monhegan Island and Cranberry Island in Maine, and Westport and Provincetown in Massachusetts are the sources for much of the artwork that will comprise the exhibition, and the New England coastline will be the loosely interpreted theme. Artwork from the early twentieth century will include paintings by, Edwin Dickinson, Blanche Lazzell, Werner Drewes, Ross Moffett, Grace Martin Taylor, Agnes Weinrich, T. Lux Feininger, and Howard Gibbs. Fine examples by mid-century artists such as: Hans Hofmann, Jack Tworkov, George McNeil, Charmion Von Wiegand, Lester Johnson, Myron Stout, Stephen Pace, Maurice Freedman, Karl Knaths, Peter Busa, Herman Maril, Philip Malicoat, Nanno de Groot, Kenneth Stubbs, James Gahagan, Haynes Ownby, Gil Franklin, William Freed, Leo Manso, Lillian Orlowsky, and Michael Loew will all be included.

ACME Fine Art is delighted to announce that the gallery now represents the distinguished artist Robert Kipniss. Several of Mr. Kipniss’s canvasses will hang in the gallery for the first time as a part of the Summer Salon exhibition. The exhibition will also feature a fine selection of paintings by other late twentieth century and contemporary artists such as, George Lloyd, Robert Beauchamp, Dorothy Eisner, Rose Basile, Tony Vevers, and Myrna Harrison.

ACME Fine Art and Design is located at 38 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. Summer Hours are 11:00 to 5:00 Tuesday through Saturday, and other times by appointment.

LEO MANSO: COLLAGES

9 May -21 June 2008

Leo Manso (1914-1993) was one of the most highly regarded artists and teachers of his generation. His work was widely exhibited and collected throughout his distinguished career. Today, his work is in the permanent collections of numerous public and private institutions, including: the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the National Academy of Design, among others. As an educator Manso’s credentials are no less distinguished. He served on the faculty of The Cooper Union and the Art Students League, and was co-founder of The Provincetown Workshop School of Art.

During the latter half of his artistic career Manso principally focussed his energies on collage and sculptural assemblages, many of which were based on Italian Renaissance or Eastern themes. His work from this period—especially the mixed media collages—won him considerable recognition. Regarding Manso’s collages, Robert Motherwell said it best: One of collage’s masters during the past decade is Leo Manso, whose impeccable sense of placement and musical silence amidst a noisy world calls up the Quattrocento of Manso’s beloved Italy, if not its grandeur. Manso’s work is small in scale, secular and intimate in its subjects, but no less implacable in its ethical integrity, its aesthetic of formed sensuousness. Seductively beautiful as the work is at first sight, it holds its own like iron, a visual poetry that never compromises, never loses its inner life. (1991)

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition of collages by Leo Manso will open with a reception on Friday 9 May from 6 to 8 p.m. in the evening. The exhibition will be on view through 21 June 2008.

ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.

HOWARD GIBBS (1904-1970)

9 May -21 June 2008

Howard Gibbs’ last solo exhibition in Boston was at the Margaret Brown Gallery in 1955. ACME Fine Art is delighted to announce the artist’s return to Boston in a survey exhibition of Gibbs’ oil paintings and works on paper that date from between the early 1920s and the late 1950s. The exhibition will consist of more than one dozen works. It will include Gibbs’ early fauvist inspired landscapes that show the distinct influences of his study in France before the War, as well as a fine selection of his distinctive later canvasses that demonstrate the artist’s ability to fully yield to his powerfully expressive avant-garde instincts.

The Baltimore Museum of Art (1954) and the De Cordova Museum (1956) both honored Gibbs with solo exhibitions during his lifetime. More recently – in the Fall of 2007 – the Cape Cod Museum of Art mounted a retrospective exhibition of the longtime Cape Cod artist’s work. Artwork by Howard Gibbs has also been included in group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Today his work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Addison Gallery of American Art, the De Cordova Museum, and the Cape Cod Museum of Art.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition of the artwork of Howard Gibbs will open with a reception on the evening of Friday, 9 May 2008 from 6 – 8 p.m. The exhibition will be on view through 21 June 2008. Exhibition catalogues are available through the gallery.

ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street, Boston.

The Late Paintings of JACK TWORKOV

28 MARCH – 3 MAY, 2008

ACME Fine Art is delighted to announce the Spring exhibition of important oil paintings by one of New York School’s most distinguished practitioners, Jack Tworkov. The exhibition will feature paintings from the final 15 years of Tworkov’s distinguished career. It will open with a reception from 6 to 8 on the evening of Friday, 28 March, and will be on view through Saturday, 3 May 2008.

Jack Tworkov was born on the cusp of the twentieth century in Biala, Poland, emigrated to the United States in 1913, and went on to become one of America’s most important and influential modern artists. Tworkov is perhaps best known as one of the original New York School painters. His arrival at avant-garde action painting as his means of expression came following a perhaps surprisingly traditional education that included study at the National Academy of Design with Charles Hawthorne, at the Art Students League with Boardman Robinson and Guy Pene du Bois, and in Provincetown Massachusetts with Ross Moffett.

Although he had exhibited with the Societe Anonyme in New York as early as 1929, and was employed in the easel division of the WPA from 1935 to 1941, significant notoriety for Tworkov did not come until the mid-1940s in conjunction with his exploration of abstraction. Following a hiatus from painting from 1941 to 1945 to support the war effort, Tworkov began exhibiting his abstract work at the Egan Gallery in Manhattan in 1945. Now famous as one of the premiere galleries to exhibit the work of abstract expressionist artists, Egan also represented Franz Kline, George McNeil, Willem de Kooning and Giorgio Cavallon during this period. Egan mounted regular solo exhibitions of Tworkov’s work between 1945 and 1954, and it was during this timeframe that Tworkov developed his mature abstract expressionist voice, thereby establishing himself as one of the few true first-generation abstract-expressionists.

Today, Jack Tworkov’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Phillips Collection, to name just a few. The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN have all mounted solo exhibitions of Tworkov’s work. (Jack Tworkov’s complete curriculum vitae is available on the gallery web-site.)

ACME Fine Art’s first solo exhibition of paintings by Jack Tworkov will feature eleven important late canvasses that date from between 1971 and 1981. Tworkov’s work from this period is commonly referred to as geometric or minimal, and it has been often misinterpreted as a repudiation of abstract expressionism; however, while it is true that the artist did believe that the painterly self-expression of the 1950s had become hackneyed, his late paintings were more about the addition of the intellect, vis-à-vis formal structure or planning, than about the elimination of the subconscious impulse. In an interview with Phyllis Tuchman published in Artforum magazine in 1971, Tworkov stated: ”I think that it’s a very important aspect of an artist’s work to learn from the unexpected, to learn from accident. But I believe for myself in a kind of reconciliation between that and thoughtfulness…I think that both are integral processes, that the problem is to keep the painting open to both impulses.” Quotations such as this, selected from reviews, essays, and interviews, all written when the artwork was contemporary, accompany the reproductions in this announcement in an effort to amplify understanding as it relates to the artist’s stated intention to integrate “thoughtfulness” with “Impulse.”

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition of artwork by Jack Tworkov will open with a reception from six to eight on the evening of Friday 28 March 2008 and will be on view through 3 May 2008. ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street, Boston.

JAMES GAHAGAN at Mid-Century

15 February – 22 March, 2008

Following military service in World War II and with the help of the G.I. Bill, James Gahagan studied painting at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art in New York. He went on to become the Assistant Director of the School, a position he held between 1952 and 1958. He was also Hans Hofmann’s chief assistant on two important large-scale mural projects at 711 3rd Avenue in New York City during 1956 and 1957. Gahagan exhibited his work at the H.C.E., Tirca Karlis, and Sun Galleries in Provincetown, and at the James Gallery – of which he was a founding member- in New York City. Gahagan was an important member of what has been called the second generation of the New York School, and he counted William Freed, Lillian Orlowsky, Robert de Niro Sr., Sidney Gordin, Myrna Harrison, Myron Stout, Jan Muller, and Joseph Stefanelli among his close friends and colleagues. Gahagan was a dedicated educator throughout his career. In addition to founding an eponymous summer art school on his property in Vermont in 1971, Gahagan held teaching positions at Pratt Institute, Columbia University, Goddard College, Notre Dame University, and the Vermont Studio School. Today his work is in the permanent collections of the Art Museum of the University of California, Berkeley, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Cape Cod Museum of Art, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and numerous other public and private collections.

James Gahagan’s work from all periods is characterized by a bold and confident use of color, applied to the canvas in a variety of expressionistic means. While Gahagan’s paintings may at times seem to convey a sense of landscape or the heavens, his work is always fully abstract with a tremendous sense of depth and balance. In talking about his own work, Gahagan offered the following in a 1991 interview with Tina Dickey:

Most artists would avoid talking about the particularity of any content in painting. Most of them generalize about aesthetic theory, formal things; what do we mean by composition, balance and tension, and so on? There are times when we avoid what those balances and equilibriums might mean expressively. But, when we do talk to each other, and what we do demand of the work when we look at other people’s work, and what the audience does expect, is that it means something to them in their lives, some experience shared that they can translate, something purely emotional.

I’d gone through passages in my own development where I said ‘The aesthetic content and significance is what [I am] aiming for; that’s enough, in fact, everything else is superfluous.’ And then that changed because I realized for myself –and I’m going to underline it, for myself, because I was trying to broaden my view, not narrow it- I had to find some way in the work to make other comments on my life experience small as they might be, some area, some room in the painting for that.

ACME Fine Art’s 2008 exhibition of paintings by James Gahagan will feature a fine group of fifteen abstract expressionist canvases that date from between the mid-1950s and the mid-1960s. The gallery is delighted to honor the memory of this talented artist with his first solo exhibition in Boston. The exhibition will open with a reception from and will be on view through 22 March 2008. Please contact ACME Fine Art at 617 585 9551 or info@acmefineart.com for further information.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition of artwork by William Freed and Lillian Orlowsky will open with a reception from six to eight on the evening of Friday 15 February 2008 and will be on view through 22 March 2008. ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street, Boston.