The Birth of Abstraction
In the a showcase of works on paper, Menconi + Schoelkopf highlights the American push into modernism
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In March, Menconi + Schoelkopf will present the second of a twopart exhibition of a century of American works on paper.the series spans from the end of the Civil War to the middle of the 21st century.the first part focused on the formation of American art societies, while the second will highlight the 21st century push into modernism, beginning with the 1913 Armory Show and onward through the art form’s coming of age in the 1950s.“the century is really a crescendo, but it was too big to do in one breathe, so we split it up,” says Jonathan Spies, gallery director at Menconi + Schoelkopf.
Included in the exhibition is a
1921 John Marin watercolor titled
Red and Green and Blue,autumn. “This watercolor is the most abstract thing you’ll find in his career, but it’s also in such stunning condition, it really just pops out when you look at it,” says Spies.“it competes favorably with anything created in the last 25 years, much less the last century.”
With works like this, Marin, a very popular and commercially successful artist in his own time, also sowed the seeds for the abstract expressionist movement that exploded onto the art scene two decades later.
The 21st century saw an opening up of the art world in both subject matter and the artists who participated on a professional level, and the Menconi + Schoelkopf show represents that with works from artists like Alma Thomas. “Thomas really highlights the line we want to trace, with the broadening acceptance of abstraction as well as new voices in the art world,” Spies says.“she was an African-american woman who worked in a variety of contexts other than art, but made a huge impact in
Menconi + Schoelkopf
Stuart Davis (1892-1964), Study for ‘Combination Concrete’ No. 2, 1956. Gouache on board, 14 x 10½ in., signed at lower center: ‘Stuart Davis’.