From Picasso to Fontana » Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum


January 23, 2015 through April 13, 2015

In the 1960s works by some of the most significant European artists of the first half of the twentieth century—including Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso, as well as seminal contemporary figures, such as Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, Pierre Soulages, and Antoni Tàpies—were donated to or purchased for the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum (then the Washington University Gallery of Art). William N. Eisendrath, Jr., served as curator and later the first director of the Museum during this period, shepherding the collection as it grew to include over fifty new acquisitions of European modernism and cutting-edge post-World War ll abstraction. Among the works that entered the collection at this time is Pablo Picasso’s Women of Algiers, Variation “N” (1955), one of a series of fifteen paintings that Picasso made after Eugène Delacroix’s well-known painting The Women of Algiers in their Apartment (1834) in the Musée du Louvre in Paris. A gift of Etta Steinberg to commemorate the 1960 dedication of Washington University’s Steinberg Hall, it demonstrated the Museum’s commitment to collecting contemporary European trends.

Building on the legacy of collecting and exhibiting art of the time established by his predecessors H. W. Janson and Frederick Hartt, Eisendrath presented a series of landmark international loan exhibitions that reinforced the significance of European and American modernism, including exhibitions of the work of Alexander Calder, Max Ernst, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee. Under his leadership, the Museum also hosted traveling exhibitions of some of the most experimental art of the post-World War ll period, bringing the work of a new generation of European and American abstract artists to the contemporary scene in St. Louis. These exhibitions encouraged donations of both European modernism and postwar abstraction by many prominent St. Louis collectors—including Morton D. May, Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., the Sydney M. Shoenberg family, Etta Steinberg, and Florence and Richard K. Weil, among others—significantly enriching the Museum’s collection. Part of a series of exhibitions looking at the development of the Kemper Art Museum’s collection in the 1940s, the 1950s, and now the 1960s, this exhibition presents, on view together for the first time, the seminal artworks that entered the collection under Eisendrath’s leadership.

Richard Pousette-Dart’s painting Blue Presence (1958) is included in this exhibition.

Support for the exhibition is provided by the William T. Kemper Foundation, the Hortense Lewin Art Fund, the Yeatman Fund, and members of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.

Image credit
Pablo Picasso, Les femmes d’Alger (Women of Algiers), Variation “N”, 1955. Oil on canvas, 45 x 57 5/8″. Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. University purchase, Steinberg Fund, 1960. © 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Richard Pousette-Dart » Pace Gallery, Chelsea » Extended through February 14, 2015

We are pleased to announce that Richard Pousette-Dart, an exhibition on view at Pace Gallery, 510 West 25th Street in New York, has been extended through February 14, 2015. The exhibition features works examining the artist’s use of geometric imagery from the late 1960s through the mid-1980s.

Richard Pousette-Dart » Pace Gallery, Chelsea

November 7, 2014 through January 10, 2015

Opening Reception: Thursday, November 6, 2014, 6­–8 PM
Location: Pace Gallery, 510 West 25th Street, New York, NY

Pace Gallery is pleased to present its first exhibition of work by Richard Pousette-Dart. The exhibition will feature twelve paintings and ten works on paper examining the artist’s use of geometric imagery from the late 1960s through the mid-1980s. To accompany the exhibition, Pace will publish a catalogue featuring a new essay by critic Alex Bacon, quotations from the artist’s notebooks and excerpts of scholarly texts by Robert Hobbs, Sam Hunter, Carter Ratcliff, Barbara Rose, Philip Rylands, Martica Sawin, Lowery Stokes Sims and Robert Storr.

The exhibition focuses on this period of Pousette-Dart’s work and attests to his lifelong and unflinching belief in art as a vital force of life. He wrote of his art as “a quest for reality; not the obvious surface reality of outer forms but the related continuing realities of all the sights and sounds, sensations, dreams, memories…the intuitive visions that are part of the daily life of all of us.”

The exhibition explores Pousette-Dart’s use of geometric imagery, in particular the rectangle and the circle, which he believed to be universal symbols of cosmic forces. Pousette-Dart applied his paint in impasto points, creating thick layers over several applications. This technique rendered his forms with a “dynamic edge of creation” or “trembling edge of awareness.” “In Pousette-Dart’s mind the edge is more than the formal fact of the separation between forms within a painting,” wrote Lowery Stokes Sims. “It is a metaphor for the boundaries, the fragile point of balance, between opposites, which are mutable and in constant flux.”

The constellation of gestures in Pousette-Dart’s paintings—what he called presences—generated what he viewed as the works’ transcendental potential. “Art reveals the significant life, beauty of all forms—it uplifts, transforms it into the exalted realm of reality wherein its pure contemplative poetic being takes place—wherein art’s transcendental language of form, spirit, harmony means one universal eternal presence,” he wrote.

The exhibition will be on view at Pace Gallery, 510 West 25th Street, New York, NY from November 7, 2014 through January 10, 2015.