ACME Fine Art’s opening exhibition for
2008 will be a survey of paintings and drawings in a variety of
media by two New York School artists who shared more than stylistic
affinities. William Freed (1902-1982) and Lillian Orlowsky (1914-2004)
led parallel lives as artists. They were husband and wife since
1942. They shared educational experiences at the Educational Alliance
Art School, the Art Students League, and most importantly- the Hans
Hofmann School of Fine Art in New York as well as Provincetown Massachusetts.
Both were employed by the Works Project Administration, he in the
Education and Mural Divisions, she in the Mural and Easel Divisions.
Furthermore, they exhibited their work in many of the same venues.
In the late 1930s and early 1940s both participated in group exhibitions
at ACA Galleries in Manhattan. In the 1950s they founded along with
a small group of friends and colleagues- one of the early artist’s
cooperative galleries in New York called the James Gallery. Both
exhibited work regularly there during the Fall and Winter months,
and at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum between April
Despite the numerous stylistic affinities that
can be seen in their work, and the other curatorial links associated
with their life-long artistic dialog and relationship, any attempt
to exhibit the artwork of Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed side
by side prior to this exhibition has been more accidental than intended.
This is probably because as the primary promoter of their artistic
careers Orlowsky always put Freed first. Interestingly, despite
consistent recognition which began with the selection of one of
her paintings for inclusion in the 1939 New York World’s Fair
exhibition, and continued with her participation in numerous group
exhibitions in New York and Cape Cod, Orlowsky’s first solo
exhibition did not happen until 1985, the year following Freed’s
death. Anyone who knew Lillian knows that she was a confident artist
who had high regard for her own work. Her deference to Freed was
more likely a product of Orlowsky’s total respect for the
artist that was her husband, and her acceptance of what she considered
to be her role in the relationship. For whatever reason, the two
never shared studios or exhibitions.
Regardless of why a joint exhibition of Freed
and Orlowsky’s work has not been undertaken in the past, ACME
Fine Art’s gallery director David Cowan’s decision to
mount a joint solo show is based on what he believes can be learned
by looking at their work side by side. Freed & Orlowsky were
both participants in the development of the radically avant-garde
movement that has come to be known as Abstract Expressionism. The
sprit of this movement and of this time helped build a community
of artists that included their friends and colleagues: Hans Hofmann,
George McNeil, Giorgio Cavallon, Mercedes Matter, Jan Muller, Myron
Stout, James Gahagan, Paul Resika, Myrna Harrison, Haynes Ownby,
and many more too numerous to mention. By looking at the work together
the curatorial intent is that Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed’s
tremendous individual artistic strengths be illuminated by proximate
comparison, and that by viewing the work in this manner we will
better understand both the artists and the spirit of their time.
ACME Fine Art’s exhibition of artwork by
William Freed and Lillian Orlowsky will open with a reception from
six to eight on the evening of Friday, 11 January 2008. The exhibition
will be on view in ACME Fine Art’s 38
Newbury Street, Boston, galleries through Saturday 9 February.
Please contact the gallery at 617.585.9551 for further details.
Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday.
For further information please
contact the gallery at 617.585.9551, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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