An exhibition of works by the renowned early Modernist E. Ambrose Webster (1869-1935) will open at ACME Fine Art on Friday, 6 November 2015. A reception in conjunction with First Friday festivities will be held from 5:00pm to 8:00pm that evening. This unique exhibition will present a new look at the master through the eyes of one of his most successful students, Kenneth Stubbs. The paintings and studies sourced from the Stubbs family collection present new insight into the mind of the artist and the plans behind his masterworks in color and composition. The exhibition will be on view through Saturday, 12 January 2016, and can also be seen online at www.acmefineart.com.
The exhibition at ACME will celebrate Webster’s riotous new color, while also examining the quiet compositional genius that underpins all his best work. Stubbs and Webster shared an intense interest in the mathematics and geometry that guided classical and medieval art, and applied the same concepts to their own work. Stubbs’ unique collection includes studies for Webster’s famous cubist inspired nudes, as well as studies for non-objective works, of which Webster made only one finished oil.
Webster was one of the first artists to settle in the now famous art colony of Provincetown. Struck by the quality of the coastal light, he took up residence there after returning from France in 1898. Shortly after, he began to teach summer classes, which quickly grew in popularity. In the winters, he traveled to the tropics and Bermuda, where he painted some of his most impressive and daring landscapes—two of which are included in this exhibition.
Webster, in insisting on the primacy of color, was truly among the vanguard Modernists in America. Two of his paintings hung in the 1913 Armory Show alongside other renowned Modernists such as Hopper, Demuth and Hartley. The novel and inspired approach to color presented in Webster’s Fauvist paintings influenced the development of a number of his contemporaries. Artist Houghton Cranford Smith observed of Webster’s color: “This was all new stuff in Provincetown—we were not used to such bright colors…[Webster] opened my eyes to the marvelous things color can do for objects.”
Following his Fauvist works, Webster began an exploration of Cubist techniques. Stubbs recognized Webster’s genius and appreciated the analytical process with which he approached these new cubist inspired compositions. He once said of Webster: “He was by far the most inspiring teacher I had.” After Webster’s death, Stubbs remained an ardent admirer and organized a series of exhibitions of Webster’s work. These shows led to numerous private and museum purchases, and a new recognition of Webster’s contributions to the development of Modern art. Now the Stubbs’ collection continues to provide a unique and insightful view into the work of Ambrose Webster.
AMBROSE WEBSTER: SELECTIONS FROM THE COLLECTION OF KENNETH STUBBS will be on view from 6 November 2015 to 12 January 2016 at 450 Harrison Avenue in Boston, and online at www.acmefineart.com. Please contact the gallery with questions about the artist, or the exhibition.