Director’s Choice: GILBERT FRANKLIN, NANNO DE GROOT, ILYA & RESIA SCHOR

For the first exhibition of the 2014 season ACME Fine Art will present a group exhibition of artwork selected by Gallery Director David Cowan. The exhibition will feature the artists Gilbert Franklin, Nanno de Groot, Resia Schor, and Ilya Schor. All four artists are well known to New England art aficionados and collectors because of their connections to the Provincetown artists’ colony. The exhibition will open on Friday 24 January and will be on view through Saturday 22 February 2014. A reception will be held on the evening of Friday, 7 February from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., and will coincide with SoWa’s First Friday festivities.

The exhibition will feature a number of important late canvases by Nanno de Groot, many of which have not been exhibited in more than four decades. A native of the Netherlands, Nanno de Groot emigrated to the U.S. following his service in the Dutch Merchant Marine at the conclusion of World War II. Always an avid draftsman,

de Groot took up painting in a decidedly avant-garde manner almost as soon as he gained access to studio space in San Francisco in 1948. De Groot’s brief career as an artist ended with his untimely death in 1963 at age 50.

De Groot’s early work was highly abstract and vaguely figurative. His artist’s emphatic gesture and his fondness for slathering on gobs of oil paint were among the most prominent features of his early period. De Groot came to prominence shortly after his move to New York in the early 1950s when his paintings were shown at Tanager Gallery, the Bertha Schaefer Gallery, and at the groundbreaking Hansa Gallery in Manhattan. These strikingly expressive abstractions were remarkably sophisticated, yet evocatively primal. Thankfully, both of these characteristics stayed with de Groot as his work progressed into the late 1950s and 1960s.

In 1956 de Groot rented Fritz Bultman’s Provincetown studio for the summer, and almost immediately Provincetown and the Cape Cod landscape began to exert a perceptible influence on his painting. These landscape-based late paintings that were inspired by the fields, forests, flowers, and even the atmosphere of the outer Cape will be the focus of this ACME exhibition. De Groot’s late paintings are vigorously and spontaneously conceived, confidently rendered, visual elegies that beautifully capture the spirit of one of the most creative periods in American art.

An impressive array of modern 20th century sculpture will be an important aspect of this year’s Director’s Choice exhibition. ACME Fine Art is delighted to announce that the gallery now represents the estate of Gilbert Franklin. We are delighted to introduce Franklin by presenting a fine group of his late 20th century bronzes as a part of this exhibition. Franklin’s illustrious career included membership in the National Academy of Design. He was a Fellow and Trustee of the American Academy in Rome, and he won the Prix de Rome in sculpture in 1948. Franklin served as Professor of Sculpture, and Chairman and Dean of the Division of Fine Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design –his alma mater- and also taught at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania during his almost four decade long career in academia.

Franklin’s sculpture was always inspired by nature, particularly the human figure, and while the level of abstraction in his work varied, his interest in the classical sculpture of Greece and Rome is often evident. Franklin said, “I do basically two types of sculpture: one figurative… the other, abstracted forms derived from natural forms found on the Cape, like shells and rocks.” His friend and colleague Michael Mazur described Franklin’s work as “characterized by a love of form, especially those sensual forms of the human body abstracted to very particular, telling, curves and volumes.”

Last summer the Provincetown Art Association and Museum mounted a beautiful, high season exhibition titled Abstract Marriage: Sculpture by Ilya Schor and Resia Schor. Following on the heels of this important museum exhibition we are delighted that we can make selections from the PAAM exhibition a fundamental component of our 2014 Director’s Choice season opener. In addition to PAAM, Ilya Schor’s work has been included in Museum shows in New York, Boston, Chicago and Milwaukee. The Jewish Museum (NYC) honored Schor with a retrospective exhibition in 1965. 

Ilya Schor was a multitalented artist who is perhaps best known as a renowned artist of Judaica. He was also an accomplished jeweler, engraver, painter, and sculptor. Three important sculptures by Schor from the 1950s will be included in this exhibition. Each piece is unique, and is crafted in brass and/or copper in a manner that brings Schor’s skills as a jeweler to the fore. These are meticulously hand wrought pieces. They are exquisitely crafted expressions that demonstrate the artist’s understanding of both Cubism and Abstract Expressionism. While there is frontality to the basic forms, each of the pieces manages to be entirely three-dimensional as well. There is a captivating complexity about Schor’s work that commands and holds the viewer’s attention.

While Resia Schor studied studio art as a young woman in Poland, (Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw) her sculptural reliefs for which she is now known, were made relatively late in life, when, after Ilya Schor’s death in 1961, she decided to make use of his workshop in the family’s Manhattan apartment. The three pieces that will be a part of the upcoming ACME Fine Art exhibition have an almost Pop sensibility. They are at once both playful and serious, thought provoking and witty, and they –while connected to no specific movement- can be seen as harbingers of Post-Modernism. As with Ilya’s work they are exquisitely crafted expressions that are rooted in the fundamentals of 20th century modernism.

Director’s Choice: GILBERT FRANKLIN, NANNO DE GROOT, ILYA SCHOR & RESIA SCHOR will open at ACME Fine Art on Friday, 24 January 2014 and will be on view through Saturday, 22 February 2014. A reception will be held on Friday February 7, between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. The entire exhibition will be viewable on-line at www.acmefineart.com .