New England Home magazine features a beautiful spread of a high-rise makeover, which showcases two fine examples by acclaimed artists Lester Johnson (1919-2010) and Peter Busa (1914-1985). It’s wonderful to see these works in an interior context and they are displayed quite beautifully among layers of gorgeous grays and pops of color. Featured in one living area is Johnson’s Two Heads (1969) and in the bedroom is Busa’s Reclining Figure (ca. 1948).
George McNeil, Wave Painting 9/26/68, 1968
oil on panel, 13 x 16 1/2″
ACME Fine Art’s George McNeil: About Place exhibition received a stellar review from Rhino Horn Artists, Adam Zucker, and Berkshire Fine Art. Access to the complete review can be found at Rhino Horn Group or Berkshire Fine Art. We are thankful for your support! For questions about the show or works exhibited, please contact the gallery at www.acmefineart.com.
What a tremendous turnout we had for our Still Life Invitational show, which was opened from 7 Nov. – 3 Jan. 2015. It was a great surprise right before the holidays when we were featured in the December holiday issue of the Improper Bostonian! The image displayed in the article is Kenneth Stubbs’s Still Life with Fruits, 1960, casein on masonite, 12 3/4 x 15 3/4″. Click here to learn more about the artist and for further details about the painting, please contact us at www.acmefineart.com.
Baltimore Technical Institute
Maryland Institute, College of Art
2003 University of Maryland, University College, Adelphi, MD
2001 James Graham and Sons, New York
2000 Cape Museum of Fine Arts, Dennis, MA
1998 Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
1997 Adirondack Community College, Queensbury, NY
1994 Provincetown Art Association Museum, Provincetown, MA
1991 Academy of the Arts, Easton, MD
1991 Susan Conway Gallery, Washington D.C.
1984 Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, Kansas
1981 University of Virginia Art Museum, Charlottesville, VA
1980 The Forum Gallery, New York
1977 University of Maryland Art Department Gallery, College Park, MD
1972 Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1967 Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD
1964 John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
1962 Castellane Gallery, New York
1961 Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
1957 University of Maryland Art Department Gallery, College Park, MD
1955 Philadelphia Art Alliance
1941 Everhart Museum of Art, Scranton, PA
1939 World’s Fair, New York
1932 Society of Independent Artists
Selected Public Collections:
Metropolitan Museum of Art
National Academy of Design
Whitney Museum of American Art
Baltimore Museum of Art
Corcoran Gallery of Art
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution
The Phillips Collection
The Newark Museum
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Wichita Art Museum
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Mead Art Museum, Amherst College
Howard University Gallery of Art
University of Maryland
Johns Hopkins University
University of Arizona
For ACME Fine Art’s first exhibition of the 2015 season Gallery Director David Cowan will present the gallery’s sixth solo show of oil paintings by 20th century expressionist master George McNeil. The exhibition will open at ACME Fine Art’s SoWa gallery on Friday, 9 January 2015. A reception will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on 6 February in conjunction with SoWa’s First Friday of February celebration. The exhibition will be comprised of a group of 18 landscape inspired paintings from the estate of the artist that date from between 1955 and 1990. The works range from small, highly abstract panels that were painted en-plein-air at the height of the Abstract Expressionist Movement, to monumental mixed media studio paintings that McNeil made from the beginning of the Figurative Expressionist Movement—mid-century through the late 20th century—as part of what later became known as the Neo-Expressionist Movement. The exhibition will be on view through Saturday, 21 February 2015. Exhibition catalogues will be 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 he 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 Societe 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 Doctorate in Education from 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 premiere galleries in New York to introduce the work of Abstract Expressionist artists. During this time, the Egan stable included Willem De Kooning, Franz Kline, Jack Tworkov, 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. 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). Today, George McNeil’s work is in the permanent collections of 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.
ACME Fine Art’s 2015 exhibition of landscape inspired paintings by McNeil starts with paintings made during Abstract Expressionism’s heyday, the 1950s. His work from the ‘50s is characterized by his signature use of multiple layers of thick impasto with interlaced textural bands and surface areas of heavy pigment. These canvasses are the boldly colorful, spontaneously conceived, emphatic, artistic statements by an artist who had found his natural expressionist’s voice. In short, they constitute classic,New York School, Abstract Expressionism. From mid-decade on, many of the painting titles take on place names, such as Antietam, Illyria, and Tharsus, and they seem to evoke the ethos of the places after which they are named.
This was the period that brought McNeil’s work the serious critical attention that it deserved. He had excellent gallery representation at mid-century, and his work was exhibited regularly, first at Egan (until 1954), then at the Poindexter Gallery (through 1959), and later on at the Howard Wise Gallery (1960-1967). 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 decade of the 1960s was an important period of transition for McNeil. In the early 1960s his forms—while still equally textural, rich, and complex—in many cases carried figural as well landscape associations. Frequently the titles of these paintings—such as Pamplona, Bosra, or Rhoda—echo this transition. McNeil made several trips abroad in the ‘60s and began to experiment with making plein-air landscapes at sights where important Impressionist landscapes had been painted. Of course, McNeil’s versions bear no resemblance to his predecessors’. Instead, as demonstrated in paintings like Les Bruyeres, and Le Raincey, they are boldly colorful, raw, spontaneous, unedited, utterances in thicker than thick oil paint. Modest in size, each of them captures a moment while packing a visual wallop.
This was a pivotal decade for McNeil during which the figure emerged and became identifiable. By the end of it, 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 evocative transitional works, including Ballet Dancer #8 and Bather #25, led the way to the emotionally charged Neo-Expressionist canvasses that became McNeil’s hallmark in the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s.
George McNeil’s late century, riotously expressed Neo-Expressionist works complete the exhibition and they demonstrate a culmination of McNeil’s artistic prowess. In paintings such as Now Street #2, 89 West 6th Street, and St. Marks Place,McNeil integrates figurative expression with a gritty urban landscape, successfully capturing a fully realized synthesis of his creative ambition, while also conveying an indelible rendering of both time and place.
ACME Fine Art is located at 450 Harrison Avenue in Boston’s SoWa Arts District, and is open from 11:00am to 5:30pm Tuesday through Saturday. GEORGE McNEIL: ABOUT PLACE will be on view at the gallery from 9 January through 21 February 2015. It will also be on view online at www.acmefineart.com.
Benjamin Altman Prize, National Academy of Design
Norman Wait Harris Bronze Medal, Chicago Art Institute
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2013 James Lechay: Flower Paintings, 1960s through 1990s, Spanierman Gallery,
New York, NY
1997 James Lechay, Paintings, Provincetown Art Association and Museum,
1985 James Lechay, Kraushaar Galleries, New York, NY
1972 James Lechay: Selected Work, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
1971 Luther College Centennial Union
1955 James Lechay, January 24th through February 19th, Kraushaar Galleries,
New York, NY
1946 New York in Watercolor by James Lechay, Macbeth Gallery, New York, NY
1936 James Lechay: Exhibition of Paintings, Another Place, New York, NY
Selected Group Exhibitions
2014 Still Life Invitational 2014, ACME Fine Art, Boston, MA
2013 Eye on UI Faculty: Byron Burford, Stuart Edie, and James Lechay,
FIGGE Art Museum, Davenport, IA
2012 Summer Selections, Spanierman Gallery, New York, NY
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA
Ferargil Galleries, New York, NY MacBeth Gallery, New York, NY
Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA
National Academy of Design Museum, New York, NY
National Museum of American Art-Smithsonian, Washington, DC
New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NE
Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY
University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, IA
University of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie, WY
Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS
FIGGE Art Museum, Davenport, IA
James Lechay was born in New York, NY on July 5, 1907 to Russian immigrant parents.
He received a degree in psychology from the University of Illinois in 1928 and returned to
New York to study art privately with his elder brother, artist Myron Lechay, but otherwise was a self-taught artist. Lechay taught painting and drawing at the University of Iowa starting in 1945 until his retirement in 1971. He also taught workshops at various other institutions such as Stanford, New York University, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. During the course of his career he received countless medals, awards, and honors for his work. Lechay exhibited with the likes of Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Jules Olitski, Nathan Oliveira, Helen Frankenthaler, and Alice Neel to name only a few. He lived out his retirement in Wellfleet, MA until his death on August 11, 2001 at the age of 94.
In time for the Holiday Season, ACME Fine Art will mount a group exhibition of still lifepaintings made by a select group of 20th and 21st century artists. The exhibition is titled STILL LIFE INVITATIONAL 2014, and it will open on Friday, 7 November 2014, and will be on view through Saturday, 3 January 2015. An Opening Reception will be held in conjunction with SoWa First Fridays from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on the 7th of November.
The exhibition will feature a fine group of paintings and sculpture that were hand selected by Gallery Director David Cowan. Cowan has included fresh artwork by popular Gallery Artists: Kenneth Stubbs, Lester Johnson and George Lloyd, as well as new work by contemporary artists: Mike Wright, Donald Beal, and Richard Baker. Rounding out the lineup will be a small group of elegant mid-century modern paintings from an important local collection by noted modernist James Lechay.
Art Historians credit Dutch and Flemish painters of the 17th century with creating the first important artworks in the still life genre. The tradition of still life painting flourished throughout western art for centuries thereafter, with important examples painted by such esteemed artists as Brueghel, Chardin, Cezanne, Braque, Gris, and Lhote. The genealogy of American still life painting dates from as early as the 18th century, and its lineage includes works by such artists as Copley, Peale, Harnett, Hartley, O’Keefe, and Demuth.
The artwork selected for ACME Fine Art’s STILL LIFE INVITATIONAL2014 spans from the early 1950s through today, and ranges stylistically from Cubism, to Abstract Expressionism, to Magic Realism and beyond. For Precisionists and Expressionists alike Cubism played an important role in modern American still life painting and sculpture. Early in the 20th century many American artists went abroad to study with artists like Lhote, Ozenfant and Leger, and brought the avant-garde style back home with them, subsequently affecting- through influence and teaching- an entire generation of modernists in the U.S.
For the Cubists painters, the still life was a perfect point of departure to display the multifarious points of view absorbed by the picture plane of their canvases. American artist/teacher Ambrose Webster, whose Fauvist canvases were exhibited in the Armory Show of 1913, studied with Lhote in France in the 1920s. Shortly thereafter he opened his School of Modern Painting in Provincetown Massachusetts, and it became an important point of dissemination for Cubism. For Webster’s protégé Kenneth Stubbs -perhaps Webster’s most important student- the still life became one of his primary subjects. Three of Stubbs’ still life paintings –rarely seen since they were originally exhibited in the 1950s- will form the locus mundi of this exhibition.
Hans Hofmann is often credited with being the most influential teacher of artists in the last century. Given his roots in European Cubism, it is perhaps not surprising that Hofmann’s teaching method invariably involved the still life. Hofmann’s students –regardless of where their journey to artistic maturity may have taken them- interpreted the still life repeatedly as an exercise under the maestro’s tutelage. Hofmann’s influence on at least two generations of American painters was enormous both directly and indirectly. Although Lester Johnson did not study with Hofmann, Cameron Booth and Alexander Masley –Johnson’s early teachers- both did. The Expressionist still life that evolved during the late 1950s and 1960s can be seen in the paintings of Lester Johnson, and James Lechay, and when it collides with a Post-Modern approach to Cubism, in the paintings of George Lloyd (who studied with Johnson at Yale) and in the constructions of Mike Wright. Richard Baker and Donald Beal may appear at first glance to be more traditional in their approaches; however, both of these contemporary artists use traditional techniques to coax the viewer to a place beyond the mere ordinary reality.
ACME Fine Art’s STILL LIFE INVITATIONAL 2014 will be on view from 7 November to 3 January 2015 in our Harrison Street Galleries, and also on view at www.acmefineart.com and on our ARTSY site: https://artsy.net/acme-fine-art. For further information about the exhibition or the artists please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.585.9551.
ACME Fine Art will open the Fall season with an exhibition of large and important canvases by the Figurative Expressionist master, Lester Johnson. The exhibition, titled Lester Johnson: Classical Themes, will open on Friday, 19 September, and will be on view through Saturday, 25 October 2014. A reception in conjunction with SoWa’s First Friday festivities will be held on Friday, 3 October between 5:00 and 8:00 in the evening.
This will be ACME Fine Art’s fourth solo exhibition of Lester Johnson’s work and it will feature nine seminal 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 groundbreaking 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 became Lester Johnson’s hallmark.
The paintings selected by Gallery Director David Cowan for this exhibition demonstrate the artist’s interest in classical art and architecture, and they collectively display this thematic thread in Johnson’s paintings from the specific period between 1964 and 1968. Johnson’s interest in classical form can be seen in subject matter, in such paintings as Polykliton Figure, and his brilliant series of Three Graces canvases, and in structural form in monumental paintings such as Milford Bathers, Silhouette and Archway. Despite the artist’s use of and reference to the antique in these works, it would be a mistake to view them as anything other than trailblazing statements in the Figurative Expressionist movement.
Lester Johnson is one of a 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.
Exhibition catalogues are available through the gallery, and the entire exhibition is viewable on line both at www.acmefineart.com and at ACME Fine Art’s ARTSY web site. For more information about the exhibition or the artist please contact the gallery at email@example.com or 617.585.9551.
George McNeil (1908-1995) Kips Bay, 1966, oil on panel, 11 3/4 x 15″
This year ACME Fine Art will for the first time open the gallery’s ever-popular annual Summer Salon exhibition in the gallery’s new exhibition space at 1 Thayer Street / 450 Harrison Avenue in Boston’s South End. The exhibition will open on Friday, 11 July. A reception will be held in conjunction with SoWa’s First Friday events from 5:00 to 8:00 on the evening of Friday, 11 July. The exhibition will be on view through Saturday,16 August. Please note that the gallery will be closed from 4 July through 7 July in celebration of the holiday.
Pat Lipsky (1941- ) Fusillade, 2005, oil on canvas, 52 x 79 3/4″
This year’s Summer Salon will feature a variety of summer-themed artworks created during the twentieth century at New England’s renowned summer art colonies, as well as a selection of important works reprised from gallery and museum exhibitions of the 2013/2014 season. Highlights will include a beautifully expressive, fully abstract oil on paper by Hans Hofmann, a monumental canvas by contemporary painter Pat Lipsky, and an important oil painting from the mid-1960s held over from our critically acclaimed recent exhibition of works by Jack Tworkov. Other artists whose artwork will form a part of the exhibition include: Edwin Dickinson, Michael Loew, George McNeil, Charles Littler, Kenneth Stubbs, Dorothy Eisner, Maurice Freedman, Hayes Ownby, Panos Ghikas, William Freed, Lillian Orlowsky, Sharli Powers Land, Philip Malicoat, Daniel Brustlein, Robert Beauchamp,Tony Vevers, and Lester Johnson. Sculpture by Gilbert Franklin, Ilya and Resia Schor, and paintings by contemporary artists, Rose Basile, Myrna Harrison and George Lloyd will round out the exhibition.
Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) Untitled, 1962, oil on paper, 23 5/8 x 11″
ACME Fine Art’s 12th Annual SUMMER SALON exhibition will open on Friday 11, July 2014 and will be on view through Saturday, 16 August 2014. This will be ACME Fine Art’s firstSummer Salon at 1 Thayer Street / 450 Harrison Avenue in Boston. Parking is available at the Albany Street parking lot at the south end of the building. Please contact the gallery at 617.585.9551 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about exhibitions or artists. Summer Gallery Hours are 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and by appointment.
Pat Lipsky Swann, 2005, oil on canvas, 32 ¾ x 55 ¾”
PAT LIPSKY at ACME FINE ART
We are delighted to announce that ACME Fine Art now represents the acclaimed contemporary painter Pat Lipsky. Lipsky paints bold geometric canvasses using a surprisingly painterly approach that, combined with a richly evocative palette, yields something truly fresh and original. She has been the recepient of the prestigious Adolf and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant and twice received Pollock Krasner Foundation Grants. Lipsky’s paintings have been included in exhibitions at the National Academy Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Students League, and the Norton Museum of Art. Her work is in the permanent collections of such institutions as the Brooklyn Museum, the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Walker Art Center, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Examples of Lipsky’s work that are currently available are now on view at www.acmefineart.com.
Pat Lipsky began exhibiting her work in the 1960s at the Andre Emmerich Gallery soon after earning degrees at Cornell University and at Hunter College. Her gestural abstractions from that period were well received by the public and the critics. The past twenty years have seen Lipsky move into geometric abstraction in a big way. Recent exhibitions have been glowingly reviewed in Art in America, The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Partisan Review, and Art New England. Writing for the New York Sun, David Cohen described Lipsky as …not merely the dean of contemporary geometric abstraction, but its dominatrix. He went on to describe her work by saying: She offers color and shape relationships within structures of unrelenting rigidity, and it is not always clear whether the formal disciplines to which she subjects the eye are for her own satisfaction or for the viewer’s. A steely, seemingly dispassionate composure contains seething reserves of aesthetic emotion.
Lipsky’s paintings are large, at first simple, and then engagingly complex. Her compositions are made up of many layers of carefully studied, hand-applied pigment. They tantalize the eye, engage the head, and upon careful study do reveal the artist’s humanity, in a way that cannot help but reach the heart. Perhaps the best description of Lipsky’s recent canvasses that we have read was written by Stephan Westfall for Art in America: …her work has evolved into a geometric abstraction that features a shallow space composed of overlapping rectangles of various flat colors. Because the rectangles are made freehand, and the colors are arrived at through a patient buildup of successive coats of paint, a subtle gestural quality has been retained, animating the paintings far more than we’ve come to expect from Minimalist or Neo-Geo art. …one gets the sense of Lipsky’s painting being a one-woman operation once the canvas is primed, and its animate spirit the result of a human body determining the scale of the paintings and making them with a deliberateness and persistence that doesn’t rely on tape to find an edge.
George, 1999, oil on canvas, 41 7/8 x 65 1/8″
Pat Lipsky’s paintings need to be seen first hand to be fully appreciated. Plans are underway to mount a retrospective exhibition at ACME Fine Art of Lipsky’s geometric work in the coming calendar year. Please stay tuned for details. For complete biographical information visitwww.acmefineart.com.
The New York Times, 4 April 2003:
Ms. Lipsky’s compositions distantly resemble piano keyboards, enhancing the feeling of Bach-like musicality. The more you gaze at them, the more absorbing they become. -Ken Johnson