GEORGE MCNEIL: At Mid-Century

12 January – 18 February, 2006

For ACME Fine Art’s first exhibition of 2006, gallery Director David Cowan has assembled an extraordinary collection of mid-century paintings by one of America’s original action painters, George McNeil. The exhibition will open on Thursday 12 January 2006 with a reception for 6 to 8 in the evening, and it will feature more than a dozen vintage oil paintings by McNeil, who is generally regarded as one of the 20th Century”s top expressionist painters.

McNeil’s lengthy and illustrious career as an artist and educator spanned more than sixty years. Remarkably, his work was consistently avant-garde throughout his career. Always an expressionist, McNeil’s early work picked up where his studies with Jan Matulka, Vaclav Vytlacil, and Hans Hofmann in the late 1920s and early1930s left off. His work evolved from the post-cubist abstract expressionism of the late 1930s through the figural expressionism of late 1960s and 70s to emerge as full-blown neo-expressionism from the 1980s forward. Recent museum and gallery exhibitions of McNeil’s work have focussed on the dramatic late paintings for which he is well known; however, ACME Fine Art’s January exhibition will feature a fine and rare group of McNeil’s abstract expressionist paintings that were created between 1949 and 1969.

George McNeil is considered a first generation New York School artist. He was present for and a first hand participant in the birth of abstract expressionism, but even prior to that McNeil had earned a place in American art history of the twentieth century. In 1936 McNeil, and a small group of modern artists that included Ibram Lassaw, and Ilya Bolotowsky founded the American Abstract Artists group. Later in the same decade McNeil was one of only a handful of non-objective painters to be included in the New York World’s Fair Exhibition of 1939. Along with Franz Kline, Willem DeKooning, and Giorgio Cavallon, McNeil was one of the original stable of artists who showed their work with Charles Egan at his ground-breaking New York gallery in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Most of the paintings assembled for ACME Fine Art’s current exhibition have not been exhibited since they were originally shown as contemporary at the Egan, Poindexter, and Howard Wise Galleries in New York in the 1950s and 1960s. Each painting selected for the exhibition constitutes abstract expressionism in its purest form. Each is directly and spontaneously expressed using color and texture in ways that are characteristic only to George McNeil.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition GEORGE MCNEIL: At Mid-Century will run through 18 February 2006. Gallery hours are 11 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Exhibition catalogues are available through the gallery. ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay. For further information please contact the gallery at 617.585.9551, orĀ info@acmefineart.com.