Press Releases

Press Releases issued by Acme Fine Art

WILLIAM FREED & LILLIAN ORLOWSKY: Together

11 January – 9 February, 2008

ACME Fine Art’s opening exhibition for 2008 will be a survey of paintings and drawings in a variety of media by two New York School artists who shared more than stylistic affinities. William Freed (1902-1982) and Lillian Orlowsky (1914-2004) led parallel lives as artists. They were husband and wife since 1942. They shared educational experiences at the Educational Alliance Art School, the Art Students League, and most importantly- the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art in New York as well as Provincetown Massachusetts. Both were employed by the Works Project Administration, he in the Education and Mural Divisions, she in the Mural and Easel Divisions. Furthermore, they exhibited their work in many of the same venues. In the late 1930s and early 1940s both participated in group exhibitions at ACA Galleries in Manhattan. In the 1950s they founded along with a small group of friends and colleagues- one of the early artist’s cooperative galleries in New York called the James Gallery. Both exhibited work regularly there during the Fall and Winter months, and at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum between April and October.

Despite the numerous stylistic affinities that can be seen in their work, and the other curatorial links associated with their life-long artistic dialog and relationship, any attempt to exhibit the artwork of Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed side by side prior to this exhibition has been more accidental than intended. This is probably because as the primary promoter of their artistic careers Orlowsky always put Freed first. Interestingly, despite consistent recognition which began with the selection of one of her paintings for inclusion in the 1939 New York World’s Fair exhibition, and continued with her participation in numerous group exhibitions in New York and Cape Cod, Orlowsky’s first solo exhibition did not happen until 1985, the year following Freed’s death. Anyone who knew Lillian knows that she was a confident artist who had high regard for her own work. Her deference to Freed was more likely a product of Orlowsky’s total respect for the artist that was her husband, and her acceptance of what she considered to be her role in the relationship. For whatever reason, the two never shared studios or exhibitions.

Regardless of why a joint exhibition of Freed and Orlowsky’s work has not been undertaken in the past, ACME Fine Art’s gallery director David Cowan’s decision to mount a joint solo show is based on what he believes can be learned by looking at their work side by side. Freed & Orlowsky were both participants in the development of the radically avant-garde movement that has come to be known as Abstract Expressionism. The sprit of this movement and of this time helped build a community of artists that included their friends and colleagues: Hans Hofmann, George McNeil, Giorgio Cavallon, Mercedes Matter, Jan Muller, Myron Stout, James Gahagan, Paul Resika, Myrna Harrison, Haynes Ownby, and many more too numerous to mention. By looking at the work together the curatorial intent is that Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed’s tremendous individual artistic strengths be illuminated by proximate comparison, and that by viewing the work in this manner we will better understand both the artists and the spirit of their time.

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, 11 January 2008. The exhibition will be on view in ACME Fine Art’s 38 Newbury Street, Boston, galleries through Saturday 9 February. Please contact the gallery at 617.585.9551 for further details. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday.

HERMAN MARIL in New England

30 November, 2007 – 5 January, 2008

2008 marks the centennial year of Herman Maril’s birth. ACME Fine Art is delighted to open this important year with the first in a series of exhibitions that have been organized to honor this accomplished artist and educator. This will be ACME Fine Art’s second solo exhibition of paintings by Herman Maril and it will open with a reception on Friday 30 November 2007 from six to eight in the evening.

From early on in his career Herman Maril’s work has been highly regarded. After a chance meeting on Cape Cod in the 1930s, Duncan Phillips became one of Maril’s most significant patrons. Today the Phillips Collection contains thirteen paintings by Herman Maril. In addition to the Phillips Collection, Maril’s work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Academy of Design, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Baltimore Museum of Art to name a few. Centennial exhibitions during the course of 2008 and 2009 are planned at the Walters Museum of Art, Baltimore, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum on Cape Cod, and the Ward Museum at Salisbury University in Maryland.

Although Maril is most frequently associated with the communities of artists in Maryland –where he taught on the College Park campus for more than thirty years- and Provincetown –where he painted each summer in his East End studio for more than thirty years as well- Herman Maril should not be thought of as a regionalist artist. His work addresses in both style and substance, themes that are universal in nature. While in one sense they are timeless, in another they very much capture the spirit of the age in which they were created. As with his good friends and colleagues Karl Knaths and Milton Avery, Herman Maril’s work began with a basis in cubism, and developed into a personal modern idiom that has thus far defied art historical categorization.

The theme for ACME Fine Art’s second solo exhibition of paintings by Herman Maril is IN NEW ENGLAND. The common denominator for this chronologically diverse survey is the New England region as locale. The early paintings date from the 1930s and 1940s and were painted either in Cummington Massachusetts where the artist spent several summers teaching, or on Cape Cod where many early summer vacations were spent. In 1948 Maril and his wife Esta began spending summers in Provincetown and in 1958 they bought what had been the Long Point Post Office after the building had been floated across the harbor to Provincetown and relocated on Bradford Street. The later paintings in the exhibition date from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and were painted either on Cape Cod or on frequent summer trips along the coast of Maine –including Monhegan Island.

HERMAN MARIL In New England will be on view in ACME Fine Art’s 38 Newbury Street, Boston, galleries through Saturday 5 January 2008. Please contact the gallery at 617.585.9551 for further details. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday.

MAINE MODERN TWO

12 October – 24 November, 2007

On 12 October 2007 an exhibition of paintings by distinguished modern artists associated with the state of Maine will open at ACME Fine Art, Boston. A reception from six to eight on Friday evening (the 12th) will mark the occasion. This is the second group exhibition on this theme mounted by gallery director, David Cowan. The exhibition is appropriately titled MAINE MODERN TWO. It will run through Saturday 24 November.

MAINE MODERN TWO will feature artwork that was created as early as the 1920s and as recently as last week. Early modern artists whose work will be included in the exhibition are Marguerite Zorach and Maitland De Gorgorza. Fine examples of mid-century modern painting by Michael Loew, William Kienbusch, Dorothy Eisner, Maurice Freedman, Panos Ghikas, and Charles Duback will be also be on display. Contemporary examples by Stephen Pace, Philip Malicoat, George Lloyd and Robert Hamilton will figure prominently in the exhibition as well. An additional highlight of the exhibition will be three important abstract canvasses by Will Barnet that were recently on view at the Montclair Museum of Art as a part of the artist’s solo exhibition there.

MAINE MODERN TWO will be on view at ACME Fine Art, Boston from 12 October through 24 November, 2007. ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday.

KENNETH STUBBS – Provincetown Watercolors 1934-1963

7 September – 6 October, 2007

ACME Fine Art’s autumn season will open with a retrospective exhibition of watercolors by the noted 20th century modern artist Kenneth Stubbs. The exhibition will be comprised of a fine group of eight rare watercolors that were painted during the artist’s summer sojourns to Cape Cod between 1934 and 1965.

Kenneth Stubbs was a gifted artist and teacher who had an unwavering allegiance to modernism. In the early 1930s he studied in Provincetown with E. Ambose Webster, who is considered by many to be Provincetown’s first important modernist. Webster’s Summer Art School was the first of numerous art schools on Cape Cod to emphasize a modern point of view. Stubbs was one of Webster’s most important students, and Webster became to Stubbs a mentor, an inspiration, and a colleague. Like his mentor, Stubbs was dedicated to the dissemination of modern ideas through his artwork and teaching. He taught for many years at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C., and the Corcoran also became an important venue for the exhibition of his work.

In recent years the Cape Cod Museum of Art and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum have mounted retrospective exhibitions of paintings and drawings by Kenneth Stubbs. ACME Fine Art has represented the artist’s estate since 2002, and in 2003 an exhibition of landscapes titled Shorescapes, was the gallery’s first solo exhibition of Stubbs’ work. It was one of the gallery’s most successful shows to date, drawing an enormously positive response from fans of more traditional forms of expression and from dyed in the wool modernists alike.

Stubbs had a fundamentally clear and consistent artistic vision; yet, he –unlike many artists of his generation- was able to grow artistically without ever needing to negate or reject what had gone before. The watercolors that comprise the basis for this exhibition were selected to demonstrate the remarkable arc of Stubbs’ growth as an artist, and to reflect the artist’s changing points of view towards the Cape Cod scenery that was so frequently his inspiration. Many of these watercolors have not been exhibited since they were painted; yet, each retains a freshness and clarity of vision that gives the entire group a timelessly contemporary appeal.

ACME Fine Art’s retrospective exhibition of watercolors by Kenneth Stubbs will open with a reception at the gallery from 6 to 8 o’clock on Friday evening 7 September 2007. The exhibition will run through 6 October 2007. ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday.

LESTER JOHNSON – Figurative Oil Paintings from the 1960s

7 September – 6 October, 2007

ACME Fine Art’s Fall season will open on Friday, 7 September 2007 with an exhibition of oil paintings by the noted figurative expressionist artist Lester Johnson. A reception at the gallery from six to eight that evening will kick off the exhibition.

Lester Johnson is one of the relative handful of avant-garde artists who abandoned non-figurative painting in the 1950s in order to harness the power of the human figure as a primary vehicle for artistic self-expression. Today Johnson is recognized as one of the most important and influential painters of his generation. Since his first solo exhibition at New York’s Artists Gallery in 1951, Johnson’s work has been featured in more than 100 solo exhibitions, and included in important group exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to name just a few. Lester Johnson’s work is in the permanent public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, National Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. (Complete lists of permanent Collections and Exhibitions, and a chronology is available on-line at acmefineart.com.)

ACME Fine Art’s first solo exhibition of Lester Johnson’s work will feature fifteen oil paintings from what was a pivotal decade for Johnson: the 1960s. During the 1960s the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York, and the H.C.E. and the Sun galleries in Provincetown were frequent venues for Johnson’s contemporary work. It was also during this decade that Johnson’s paintings were selected for inclusion in seminal exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His canvases from this period are bold and vigorously expressive regardless of scale, and they demonstrate a poetic virtuosity that has become Lester Johnson’s hallmark.

Much has been written about Lester Johnson and his work from the 1960s. The quotations selected for this piece were chosen for their eloquence and insight into the artist and his work, and they are intended to both illuminate the paintings, and to shed light on Lester Johnson’s place in American art history. Speaking about his own work from this period Johnson said the following: “There is no balance in my paintings because balance seems to me to be static. Life, which I try to reflect in my paintings, is dynamic…. To me my paintings are action paintings -paintings that move across the canvas, paintings that do not get stuck, but flow like time.” To which the noted critic and art historian Dore Ashton added: “And so they did.”

LESTER JOHNSON: Oil Paintings from the 1960s will be on view at ACME Fine Art, Boston through 6 October 2007. ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday.

LESTER JOHNSON – Figurative Oil Paintings from the 1960s

7 September – 6 October, 2007

ACME Fine Art’s Fall season will open on Friday, 7 September 2007 with an exhibition of oil paintings by the noted figurative expressionist artist Lester Johnson. A reception at the gallery from six to eight that evening will kick off the exhibition.

Lester Johnson is one of the relative handful of avant-garde artists who abandoned non-figurative painting in the 1950s in order to harness the power of the human figure as a primary vehicle for artistic self-expression. Today Johnson is recognized as one of the most important and influential painters of his generation. Since his first solo exhibition at New York’s Artists Gallery in 1951, Johnson’s work has been featured in more than 100 solo exhibitions, and included in important group exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to name just a few. Lester Johnson’s work is in the permanent public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, National Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. (Complete lists of permanent Collections and Exhibitions, and a chronology is available on-line at acmefineart.com.)

ACME Fine Art’s first solo exhibition of Lester Johnson’s work will feature fifteen oil paintings from what was a pivotal decade for Johnson: the 1960s. During the 1960s the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York, and the H.C.E. and the Sun galleries in Provincetown were frequent venues for Johnson’s contemporary work. It was also during this decade that Johnson’s paintings were selected for inclusion in seminal exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His canvases from this period are bold and vigorously expressive regardless of scale, and they demonstrate a poetic virtuosity that has become Lester Johnson’s hallmark.

Much has been written about Lester Johnson and his work from the 1960s. The quotations selected for this piece were chosen for their eloquence and insight into the artist and his work, and they are intended to both illuminate the paintings, and to shed light on Lester Johnson’s place in American art history. Speaking about his own work from this period Johnson said the following: “There is no balance in my paintings because balance seems to me to be static. Life, which I try to reflect in my paintings, is dynamic…. To me my paintings are action paintings -paintings that move across the canvas, paintings that do not get stuck, but flow like time.” To which the noted critic and art historian Dore Ashton added: “And so they did.”

LESTER JOHNSON: Oil Paintings from the 1960s will be on view at ACME Fine Art, Boston through 6 October 2007. ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday.

ROSE BASILE – In Provincetown

4 May – 9 June, 2007

The work of the noted contemporary artist Rose Basile will be featured in a solo exhibition of her recent oil paintings at ACME Fine Art in Boston. The exhibition will open with a reception from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday evening 4 May 2007, and will be on view through Saturday June 9.

Rose Basile chronicles through her paintings the day to day life of the common person on Cape Cod and coastal New England. Basile uses symbolism, and formal composition to elevate and transform how we see what might otherwise seem mundane. She does so with a willingness to address political issues without regard for political correctness and with a sense of humor that proves itself to be universal. There is an apparent lack of self-consciousness in Basile’s aesthetic that connects her to a visual tradition of twentieth century Provincetown artists such as Oliver Chaffee, Marsden Hartley and Mary Hackett. While there may be thematic similarities with these artists as well, Basile’s canvases speak in a strong voice that is hers alone.

For ACME Fine Art’s first solo exhibition of paintings by Ms. Basile, Gallery Director David Cowan has selected a group of paintings that date from as early as 2000, which were painted in Basile’s Provincetown studio. Several of the paintings are from the artist’s acclaimed Fishermen Series that was exhibited in 2004 at the Roche Jones Duff House & Garden Museum in New Bedford Massachusetts. The Fishermen Series was created over the course of a decade -between 1993 and 2003- as a lamentation of the dying fishing industry. Many of the paintings from this series employ Christian iconography, and draw on renaissance compositional traditions that together achieve a powerfully mannered 21st century artistic statement. Literary references abound in Ms. Basile’s work, and one important example that will be featured in the ACME Fine Art exhibition is an almost monochromatic painting titled Don Quixote of Nantucket Sound that addresses the political debate over windmill farms proposed off the Cape Cod coastline.

GRACE MARTIN TAYLOR – White-line Woodblock Prints, Printing Blocks & Monotypes

4 May – 9 June, 2007

On Friday 4 May 2007 an exhibition of white-line woodblock (“Provincetown”) prints by the noted artist Grace Martin Taylor (1903-1995) will open at ACME Fine Art in Boston. The exhibition will feature more than one dozen of Taylor’s distinctive white-line prints, which were created in small editions between 1928 and 1985. In addition, a fine selection of rare watercolors and drawings that were studies for the prints will be shown alongside them. Another important highlight of the exhibition will be the first-ever exhibition of three double-sided, hand-carved, wooden printing blocks created by Ms. Taylor during the 1930s. This also marks the first time that any of the artist’s color wood printing blocks have been offered for sale.

Her cousin and mentor, Blanche Lazzell, introduced Grace Martin Taylor to the printmaking technique that led to what is now commonly referred to as the “Provincetown” print. It was Lazzell who encouraged Taylor to travel to Provincetown to study. In her first summer there Taylor took a course of fifteen private two-hour lessons from her cousin in what Lazzell called “Color Wood Block Printing, one block method.” Both women were West Virginia natives who came to spend many a summer in Provincetown, where they enjoyed the collegial atmosphere of the art colony, and where they produced some of what is now considered their best work. One of Grace Martin Taylor’s earliest efforts in the Provincetown Printing technique –possibly done during her first summer there- is titled Sails and Gulls, and it will figure prominently in the ACME Fine Art exhibition.

Grace MartinTaylor earned her A.B. and M.A. degrees from the University of West Virginia. In addition to studying with Blanche Lazzell, she also studied with Henry McCarter, and Arthur Carles at the Pennsylvania Academy, with Emil Bisttram in Taos, New Mexico, and with Hans Hofmann at his School of Fine Art in Provincetown. Taylor’s work has been exhibited extensively. Notable venues include: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Academy of Design, Smithsonian Institution, Baltimore Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Most recently, four of her white-line woodblock prints were featured in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s 2002 exhibition From Paris to Provincetown.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition of print work by Grace Martin Taylor will open with a reception between 6 and 8 on the evening of Friday, 4 May 2007. ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday.

FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING

23 March – 28 April, 2007

For much of the twentieth century the concept of figuration in contemporary modern art was taboo. In the heyday of the Abstract Expressionist movement most avant-garde artists eliminated all traces of representation from their often-enormous “action” paintings. However, the power associated with the human figure was found compelling by a number of artists who, whether they were trained in the classical tradition or not, found themselves rebels, either against traditional representation or the concept of non-representation, or both. For the exhibition that opens on 23 March 2007, ACME Fine Art has assembled an excellent group of more than twenty paintings and drawings that together illustrate and explore how some notable twentieth century artists -all of whom considered their work “modern”- used figuration in their work.

The artwork making up the exhibition was created between 1915 and 2000, and this breadth of time is reflected in the visual variety of work that will make up the exhibition. The earliest painting in the exhibition is a 1915 tonal masterpiece by Edwin Dickinson called Boy Provincetown. Mid-century artwork by such artists as Jack Tworkow, Lester Johnson, Mercedes Matter, Bob Thompson, Dorothy Eisner, George McNeil, Stephen Pace, Tony Vevers, Maurice Freedman, and Jo Cain will be included. In addition to those of George McNeil important late twentieth century artwork by Robert Beauchamp, and the contemporary artist Simon Gaon will also be represented. Some of these artists have been categorized as “realists”, some as “figural expressionists” or “neo-expressionists”; while others defy categorization altogether. What the artists have in common, and what the artwork demonstrates, is the common understanding that the presence of the human figure by its very nature regardless of how it is rendered- enhances communication with the viewer, imparts tremendous power, and has the potential to convey a wide variety of human emotions.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition of figurative artwork by modern artists is titled FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING, and it will open with a reception from six to eight in the evening on Friday 23 March 2007. The exhibition will run through 28 April 2007. The gallery is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday. Please contact the gallery at 617.585.9551 for further information.

NANNO de GROOT: EARTH, SEA & SKY

9 February – 17 March, 2007

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition NANNO DE GROOT: EARTH, SEA & SKY opens with a reception on Friday 9 February 2007 from 6 to 8 in the evening. The exhibition will feature a substantial group of important oil paintings form the artist’s Provincetown period. Gallery Director David Cowan collaborated with the artist’s widow, Pat de Groot, in selecting a group of paintings that would individually and collectively demonstrate the remarkable emotional range of this talented abstract expressionist painter, and that would also exemplify the simple yet powerful beauty that his late work achieves.

The Dutch born artist Nanno de Groot (1913-1963) emigrated to the U.S. following his service in the Dutch Navy in the early 1940s. His painting career began when he moved to New York City in the late 1940s, built a painting studio, and began painting in a highly sophisticated, abstract mode. The 1950s were a time of great creativity for de Groot. It was the height of the abstract expressionist movement in New York, where de Groot’s highly abstract, deftly expressed, linear figure canvasses were exhibited at the Stable Gallery, the Bertha Schaefer Gallery and at the Hansa Gallery. In the mid-1950s de Groot discovered the Provincetown art colony, and spent his first summer there in 1956. De Groot quickly became a prominent member of the Provincetown community of artists, where he regularly showed his work in solo exhibitions at Nat Halpert’s H.C.E. Gallery from that first summer on.

The early 1960s saw de Groot and his wife Pat buy land, then design, and build a house on the bay in Provincetown. By 1962, they had taken up permanent residence there. De Groot’s paintings from this period remained abstract; however, instead of using the human form as his inspiration, de Groot’s inspiration now came from the landscape around him. Most commonly he painted open fields, flowers, and the sea, and his work from the 1960s reflects and expresses this artist’s profound artistic connection with nature. There is a bravura and vitality about these paintings that also reflects the personality of the artist. The canvasses are typically thick with oil paint that appears to have been almost frenetically applied however elegant the result. De Groot’s fields wave as if in a wind created by the artist’s dramatic gesture, and his seas writhe with an underlying energy that is in no way dissipated by the medium. The overall effect is reminiscent of his Dutch kinsman Van Gogh’s late landscapes, but in a scale, and with a focussed expressive quality that is unique to Nanno de Groot.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition NANNO DE GROOT: EARTH, SEA & SKY will be on view from 9 February through 17 March 2007. The exhibition will also be viewable on-line at www.acmefineart.com after 12 February.