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.