The Birth of Ab­strac­tion

In the a show­case of works on pa­per, Menconi + Schoelkopf high­lights the Amer­i­can push into mod­ernism

American Fine Art Magazine - - Gallery Preview: New York, Ny -

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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’.

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