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GEORGE McNEIL: The Women Works on Paper 1938-1972

ACME McNeil Untitled Figure15 January – 6 March, 2010

ACME Fine Art’s upcoming exhibition George McNeil: The Women will feature newly acquired works on paper that have not previously been shown. The exhibition will open with a reception from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday 12 March and will be on view through Saturday 8 May 2010.

George McNeil began his artistic exploration during his teenage years in 1922 when he began art classes at the Brooklyn Museum. McNeil studied at the Art Students League, Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art and Columbia University, worked on a WPA Federal Art Project and was a founding member of American Abstract Artists. McNeil is best known as an American modernist and first-generation Abstract Expressionist painter.

George McNeil: The Women includes representations of the female figure from 1938-1972, spanning McNeil’s figurative, abstract expressionist and late figurative periods. An early ink drawing from 1938, during his time as a teacher at the Hans Hofmann School, exemplifies McNeil’s deconstruction of form that preceded his abstract expressionist works. Two unique works from Paris in 1952 show the influence of Andre Lhote, a renowned Cubist artist and teacher whose figure drawing classes McNeil briefly attended. These rare Parisian figure drawings depict stylized forms in elegant poses, yet were executed during a period in which McNeil’s works were almost exclusively abstract. Forming the centerpiece of the exhibition is a charcoal drawing from 1972 in which McNeil used strong lines and exaggerated foreshortening to render a reclining nude.

McNeil exhibited widely during his career through numerous solo and group shows at galleries and museums nationwide. McNeil’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Corcoran Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art of Los Angeles, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Farnsworth Art Museum, Walker Art Center, and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum among others.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition of works on paper by George McNeil will be on view from 12 March to 8 May 2010.

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 in Boston’s Back Bay at 38 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. Gallery hours are 11:00am to 5:30pm Tuesday through Saturday.

 

CHARLES LITTLER: Selections from the Artist’s Estate

ACME Littler Cape Cod Landscape High Res30 October – 23 December, 2009

On 30 October 2009 CHARLES LITTLER: Selections from the Artist’s Estate will open at ACME Fine Art, Boston. A reception from six to eight on Friday evening 30 October will mark the opening. The exhibition will be on view through 23 December.

ACME Fine Art’s first solo exhibition of the work of this talented 20th century modernist will feature a selection of fine examples of paintings and collages from early in Littler’s lengthy career, with work ranging in dates from the early 1950s to the mid-1960s. Cape Cod Landscape, circa 1952, an oil painting depicting Provincetown Harbor that Littler painted while in Provincetown to study with Hans Hofmann, will form the centerpiece of the exhibition. Other notable works include Red Dot Collage, circa 1958 which is a playful abstract pastel drawing accented by strips of paper collage, and punctuated by an adhesive red dot. Still Life, circa 1955, a mixed media painting in shades of gray and glossy black and white, demonstrates just how successfully Littler was able to integrate the concepts espoused by Hofmann into his own distinctive artistic expression.

Charles Littler studied at Alfred University in south central New York state, and at Hans Hofmann’s School of Art in both New York City, and in Provincetown Massachusetts. In the 1950s he was – along with James Gahagan and William Freed – one of the founding members of one of the early cooperative galleries in Manhattan called the James Gallery. In the late 1950s Littler migrated west to Arizona, where he accepted a teaching position at the University of Arizona. Shortly thereafter, Litttler and a small group of his colleagues collectively purchased an aging dude ranch to form a cooperative artists’ community which they named Rancho Linda Vista. Over time, the ranch established a group consciousness that Littler felt compelled to nurture, saying “My view of Rancho Linda Vista is that it’s a work-of-art, initiated by me and executed collaboratively by many members-past, present and future (including all of those who don’t even think of themselves as artists).” Since Littler’s death in 1991, his legacy of Rancho Linda Vista lives on, and is now populated by a younger generation of artists who continue to be inspired by Littler’s original vision.

ACME Fine Art’s CHARLES LITTLER: Selections from the Estate of the Artist will be on view at the gallery until 23 December 2009.

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 in Boston’s Back Bay at 38 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. Gallery hours are 11:00am to 5:30pm Tuesday through Saturday.

ROBERT BEAUCHAMP: ANIMALIA

ACME Beauchamp Two Apples HighRes30 October – 23 December, 2009

On 30 October 2009 ROBERT BEAUCHAMP: ANIMALIA will open at ACME Fine Art, Boston. For ACME Fine Art’s second solo exhibition of the work of this art-historically significant painter, we have selected a group of twelve important canvasses and works on paper that were created between 1965 and 1990. The theme for the exhibition is Beauchamp’s interest in the animal kingdom in his work; hence, the title: ANIMALIA. A reception from six to eight on Friday evening (the 30th) will mark the opening. The exhibition will run through 23 December.

Robert Beauchamp (1923-1995) was a central figure in the Figurative Expressionist movement that emerged out of Abstract Expressionism in New York in the late 1950s and 1960s. As ANIMALIA will demonstrate, Beauchamp’s work – especially that from the “early” period- is filled with exquisitely drawn cavorting creatures – animal and human, real and otherworldly – that fully occupy the canvas in vivid technicolor, and stimulate the viewers’ intellect and imagination to the extreme.

The Figurative Fifties – an exhibition mounted by the Newport Harbor Art Museum in 1988 – was the seminal exhibition recognizing Figurative Expressionism and the important group of artists who were its practitioners. Along with Robert Beauchamp, curators Paul Schimmel and Judith Stein included Larry Rivers, Lester Johnson, George McNeil, Jan Müller, Grace Hartigan, Bob Thompson, and Fairfield Porter, among others, as the featured artists in the exhibition, and identified them as principal participants in the movement. In his essay that accompanied the exhibition catalogue, Carter Ratcliff quoted Irving Sandler saying that Robert Beauchamp “wanted to unveil the ‘aborigine’ hiding in the civilized self.” Ratcliff then goes on to add, “A brilliant ironist, Beauchamp twisted his recollections of Gauguin’s Tahiti and the German Expressionists’ Eden into images of remarkable delicacy. He played at primitivism the way other figure painters… played at abstraction…. Yet his art mixes authentically primitive feelings with an urban and at times almost arch refinement. He implies that selves are double, brutal and sophisticated, and there is a familiar doubleness in his conception of painting.”

Later in the exhibition catalogue, in her essay titled, Aspects of Figuration in New York, Judith Stein quoted Philip Pearlstein, Lois Dodd, and Sally Hazlet saying in a published conversation that “When you first come in it’s all Beauchamp, then you begin to discover the subject matter, then you see the influences… Picasso, Degas, Gauguin, Japanese, Klimt, Schiele, de Kooning, Mantegna, Egyptian Art. But it’s all Beauchamp.”

ACME Fine Art’s ROBERT BEAUCHAMP: ANIMALIA will be on view at the gallery until 23 December 2009.

For more information on Robert Beauchamp, including extensive lists of exhibitions of his work and of museums whose permanent collections contain artwork by him, please peruse this website.

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 in Boston’s Back Bay at 38 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. Gallery hours are 11:00am to 5:30pm Tuesday through Saturday.

RICHARD FILIPOWSKI: PAINTINGS & SCULPTURE

Picture 01317 September – 24 October 2009

On 17 September 2009 RICHARD FILIPOWSKI: PAINTINGS & SCULPTURE will open at ACME Fine Art, Boston. ACME Fine Art is delighted to present in this first solo exhibition of artwork by Richard Filipowski in our gallery, a choice selection of sculpture and painting created between 1948 and 1988. We are thrilled to represent the estate of this multi-dimensional, multi-talented artist. A reception from six to eight on Thursday evening (the 17th) will mark the opening. The exhibition will run through 24 October.

Richard Filipowski (1923-2008) was a Polish émigré who began art studies in Toronto at age sixteen. That was 1939, and it is notable that in the same year he won his first important national competition – namely the Vimy Memorial Poster Competition – in Canada. Filipowski continued his artistic endeavors as a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago Bauhaus) from 1942 to 1946. While there and under the tutelage of Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, Filipowski pursued interests in painting, drawing, architecture, and sculpture, and he began exhibiting his work at local galleries. In 1944, Filipowski’s first big break came when his work was selected for a landmark group exhibition at the Julian Levy Gallery in New York that was titled Imagery of Chess. The artists comprising the “group” were expatriate European Surrealists for the most part, and they included Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp among others.

Upon receiving his degree at I.I.T. in 1946, Filipowski was invited by Moholy-Nagy to join the faculty there, and thus began a brilliant teaching career that spanned more than forty years. While in Chicago, Filipowski’s work was included in numerous group exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Illinois State Museum, the Benjamin Gallery, and at I.I.T. where he was honored with a solo exhibition in 1947. Filipowski left the Chicago area when Walter Gropius offered him the opportunity to develop and direct the Fundamentals of Design program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1950. Filipowski’s thirty seven year professorship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology began with his appointment as Associate Professor of Visual Design in the Department of Architecture in 1952. He was named Professor Emeritus by M.I.T. in 1988.

Filipowski worked back and forth between two and three-dimensional artwork throughout his career. Both aspects of his work – painting and sculpture – have been widely exhibited and collected. In addition to those institutions already mentioned, Filipowski’s work has been exhibited at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, the DeCordova Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, the De Menil Museum, Houston, and the Noguchi Museum, in New York City. Large scale commissioned sculptures were an important aspect of Filipowski’s body of work. Some of those included commissions for Temple Israel, Swampscott MA, Temple Emmanuel, Dallas TX, Temple B’rith Kodesh, Rochester NY, Trinity Lutheran Church, Philadelphia PA, and the North End Branch of the Boston Public Library. Today, examples of Richard Filipowski’s painting or sculpture are in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Addison Gallery of American Art, and the Walter Gropius House Museum among others.

ACME Fine Art’s RICHARD FILIPOWSKI: PAINTINGS & SCULPTURE will be on view at the gallery until 24 October 2009.

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.

The Watercolors of TONY VEVERS

Picture 01220 March – 8 May, 2009

On Friday, 20 March 2009 THE WATERCOLORS OF TONY VEVERS, an exhibition of landscape-inspired abstractions by Tony Vevers from the 1950s, will open at ACME Fine Art, Boston. A reception from six to eight on Friday evening (the 20th) will mark the opening. The exhibition will be on view through 8 May.

Upon emigrating from England to the United States in 1940 at the age of fourteen, Tony Vevers was impressed by the sprawling lushness of the American landscape. This connection to and appreciation of the American landscape quickly formed a theme in Vevers’ artistic pursuits, a theme that continued throughout his lengthy career as an artist and educator. Vevers was surrounded by art as a boy, and he was eager to undertake the serious study of painting and drawing as soon as he could. He welcomed the opportunity to do so at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville CT, where he particularly enjoyed painting the landscape en-plein-air. In 1946 Vevers went on to study at Yale University where he earned his BA degree in Drawing and Painting in1950.

Following graduation from Yale Vevers spent time traveling in Italy. While there his focus was on abstracting the landscape in oil paintings and in watercolors. Of this period Vevers said, “When I first got there I tried to do a more abstract figuration. By the end of my stay, I was taken with the idea of working abstractly through nature, something I’ve always done.”

Upon his return to the US, Vevers attended the Hans Hofmann School in New York. While many of his colleagues’ work adopted a more distinctly non-objective, abstract expressionist style, Vevers work consistently maintained a connection to nature. In fact, by 1955 Vevers was beginning to incorporate the human figure into his work. This was at a time when such a thing was almost taboo among the art world’s avant-garde elite.

The watercolors that will be featured in ACME Fine Art’s upcoming exhibition include two early Italian landscapes, and a group of four exceptional shoreline-inspired abstractions painted in Provincetown from 1958. This was a period that was particularly rich both with respect to the history of the arts in Provincetown but also in Vevers’ own development as an artist. At that time he was exhibiting his work at a relatively small gallery known as the Sun Gallery on Commercial Street in Provincetown. His colleagues in the gallery were such artists as: Jan Muller, Bob Thompson, Lester Johnson and Red Grooms, and all were breaking new ground by bringing the “subject” back to modern art.

Vevers exhibited at many notable institutions throughout her career, including Indianapolis Art League, IA; Boston University Art Gallery; Cape Museum of Fine Arts; Copenhagen City Gallery, Denmark; Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA; Guildhall Museum, East Hampton, NY; and the Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis, IA. Vevers’ work is represented in the permanent collections of the Isaac Delgardo Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA; Farleigh-Dickinson University, NJ; Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; Walter Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC; Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA.

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.

 

STEPHEN PACE: EARLY WORK

ACME Pace 55-06 High Res20 March – 8 May, 2009

STEPHEN PACE: EARLY WORK, ACME Fine Art’s second solo exhibition of Stephen Pace’s abstract expressionist works, will open on 20 March 2009. This exhibition will focus on watercolors and oil paintings that were created between 1950 to 1955. This was an important developmental period for Pace, one that traces his growth from student at the Hans Hofmann School to accomplished member of the New York School. A reception from six to eight on Friday evening (the 20th) will mark the opening. The exhibition will run through 8 May. Exhibition catalogues are available by contacting the gallery.

Although today he is widely recognized for his contemporary figurative paintings and watercolors, Stephen Pace made his name in the art world in the 1950s and early 1960s for his non-objective Abstract Expressionist canvases. During this period Pace found representation at the Howard Wise Gallery in New York, and Wise mounted five solo exhibitions of Pace’s work over the course of two decades. His work was also included in group exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art (four times) during this period.

Following military service in World War II, Pace came to New York and studied with the man who is widely recognized as one of the 20th century’s most important and influential art educators, Hans Hofmann. As a post-war student of Hofmann, Pace is today labeled a second generation Abstract Expressionist; however, throughout the 1950s during the heyday of the Abstract Expressionist movement, Pace’s contemporary work was exhibited along side the most respected of the first generation artists. Hans Hofmann had high regard for Pace, and in a LOOK magazine story from 1959 he described Pace as an “original talent.” In connection with an exhibition of paintings by Pace at the Walker Art Center in 1961 Hofmann said that Pace was a “great contemporary talent… with great plastic imagination and immense vitality and inventiveness in the realm of color.”The focus of ACME Fine Art’s upcoming exhibition of Stephen Pace’s non-representational work will be the paintings produced between 1950 and 1955. The idea is to trace Pace’s exploration and development from the point of interface with maestro Hofmann through this highly productive five-year period, which culminated in the establishment of his mature, unique, expressionist voice. As it still can be seen today in his contemporary canvases, this work is at once lyrical, and poetic; however, these early paintings demonstrate a fearless vigor and bold masculinity that is uniquely both compelling and provocative.

Exhibition catalogues are available upon request.

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.

ROBERT KIPNISS: PAINTINGS

Untitled Big Branches9 January – 14 March, 2009

On 9 January 2009 ROBERT KIPNISS: PAINTINGS, an exhibition of recent paintings by artist Robert Kipniss, will open at ACME Fine Art, Boston. A reception from six to eight on Friday evening (the 9th) will mark the opening. Robert Kipniss will give a gallery talk on 5 Decades of Painting on Saturday, 10 January at 3 PM. The exhibition will run through 14 March.

There is a quiet beauty about Robert Kipniss’ paintings that makes his work accessible to many viewers; however, to see his work as merely beautifully rendered landscape and still life paintings is to overlook much of their content. A reviewer for Time magazine once eloquently described paintings by Robert Kipniss as existing in the “twilight zone between recollection and imagination….” The writer then went on to add that the work offers “the appearance of reality and the ambiance of dreams.” Certainly there is a dreamlike quality about Kipniss’ mature work that attracts the viewer’s eye through the immediate recognition of something vaguely familiar… almost like déjà vu. The elements of recognition, familiarity, and time – along with the artist’s thoughtful elimination of superfluous detail – give the work a timeless quality that is at once compelling and often haunting.

In fact, Kipniss does paint from memory and from his imagination. Many of his landscape paintings call upon visual recollections from his college years in Springfield, Ohio, from long walks in Central Park in the 1950s & ‘60s, and from more recent observations in the countryside of northwestern Connecticut where he currently spends time on weekends. All of his contemporary work is created north of New York City in a studio high above the Hudson River in which the windows have been blacked out as if to eliminate the distractions of the mundane world beyond his canvas. Artistic license notwithstanding, it seems clear that the nature of Kipniss’ recollection is more poetic than documentary, and that his carefully and elegantly composed tonal canvases rely more on his personal artistry than on precise memory.

The imagery in Kipniss’ paintings – the small town Main Street, the naked branches of a copse of trees in winter, or the tea kettle and cup, for example – carries with it associations that are distinctly different to each viewer: yet, these associations are meaningful to all of us on both on a conscious, and – most importantly – on a subconscious level. It is this connection between artist and viewer that makes Kipniss’ work at once so thematically universal and so psychologically charged. It is because the paintings are so rich with meaningful associations that connect to each our own personal histories, that they live a life beyond the quiet beauty that is immediately evident.

Although several early works will be included for the sake of providing context, ACME Fine Art’s first solo exhibition of paintings by Robert Kipniss will be principally comprised of work created since 2003. A number of paintings forming ACME Fine Art’s exhibition were a part of the artist’s 2005 retrospective exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art and are illustrated in the monograph that accompanied that exhibition. This occasion marks the first time that most have been exhibited since then, and the first time that they have been offered for sale. We are delighted and honored to represent Robert Kipniss, and we are deeply grateful to him for making this exhibition possible.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition ROBERT KIPNISS: PAINTINGS will be featured here at www.acmefineart.com.

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.

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.