Sneak Peek: Stephen Pace, “Untitled (#55-06)”

Stephen Pace - Untilted (#55-06), 1955

Stephen Pace, "Untitled (#55-06)," 1955, oil on canvas, 55 x 72 inches, signed and dated lower right: "Pace-55"

In September 2011, Spanierman Modern will hold an exhibition of Abstract Expressionist paintings by Stephen Pace (1918—2010).  Included in the exhibition will be Pace’s Untitled (#55-06), a turbulent canvas which exemplifies the artist’s work of the period.

Previously, Stephen Pace’s Untitled (#55-06) was exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art’s Special International Circulating Exhibition “U.S. Representation: Fourth International Art Exhibition, Japan.” Organized by MoMA, the exhibition opened at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo on May 23, 1957, followed by a six month tour of several cities in Japan.

Stephen Pace - Poindexter Gallery and MoMA labels on verso

Poindexter Gallery and MoMA labels on verso.

Stephen Pace was selected by Frank O’Hara for inclusion in the exhibition which featured “younger” American artists; other artists included Sam Francis, Alfred Leslie, Raymond Parker, Milton Resnick, Jan Muller, Helen Frankenthaler, Cy Twombly, Joan Mitchell, Mitchael Goldberg, Grace Hartigan, Larry Rivers, Robert Goodnough and Elaine de Kooning.

The exhibition at Spanierman Modern will open September 9, 2011 and remain on view until October 1.

Detail of checklist from MoMA's 1957 Special International Circulating Exhibition: "U.S. Representation: Fourth International Art Exhibition, Japan.” Photograph courtesy the Museum of Modern Art.

From the Archives: Interview with Betty Parsons

Betty Parsons

Betty Parsons

In 1977, Helene Aylon, friend of Betty Parsons, interviewed the then seventy-seven year old artist; the interview appeared that same year in Woman Art Magazine.

This interview, of which an excerpt is posted below, includes conversation between Parsons and Aylon which touches on everything from the artist’s relationship with other female artists to her views on Abstract Expressionism (and many topics in between).

This is an enlightening, empowering interview—and certainly well worth a read!

Read the full interview on our website.

HA: You knew Martha Graham, Marlene Dietrich, and after all, you played tennis with Greta Garbo!

BP: Two or three times. Interesting the way I met her. I was asked on Christmas Eve by her ghost writer, Salka Fiertel. She said, “Come over and we are going to dress the tree.” I got there and Salka said, “go up to the attic and bring down a great big box of Christmas dressings…” So I went up there, and Greta and I stared at each other over the top of the box.

Continue reading

Betty Parsons: Travels, Both Literal and Metaphorical

Betty Parsons and Timmy, on the Beach at Southold, Long Island

Betty Parsons on the Beach at Southold, Long Island, photograph, Parsons Estate

Lisa N. Peters

While working on our third exhibition of the art of Betty Parsons (1900-1982), opening February 9, I was once again amazed by Parsons.   She seems to have lived several lives at once and didn’t compromise on any of them.  Her New York gallery is viewed today as the most important and groundbreaking of the Abstract Expressionist era.  She championed the artists she showed, both famous (Jackson Pollock, Barnet Newman, Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko) and little known, with relentless energy and passion.  Friendship was important to her, and she kept close contact with her inner circle of friends; her work as a dealer was integral with her social life.  In addition to the artists she exhibited, her friendships included a surprising list of other well-known figures in the arts, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Martha Graham, Ezra Pound, Janet Flanner, and even Greta Garbo (for whom she was at times mistaken). Continue reading

Jimmy Ernst and The Irascibles

Updates: At Spanierman Modern we have a Jimmy Ernst exhibition on view until February 6, 2010, if you’re interested! Also, read a post about Jimmy Ernst’s autobiography, A Not-So-Still Life.

Earlier this week, Sarah Hardin, head gallery Archivist, found an original issue of Life Magazine from January 15, 1951, which included a photograph of ”The Irascibles”—a group of artists who protested the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rejection of abstract works, eventually affecting a change in the museum’s plan for its upcoming exhibition, as the caption for the photograph notes.  The group consisted of most of the leading figures in the New York School, and among its members was Jimmy Ernst (1920-1984). This was a timely discovery, as the gallery, which represents Ernst’s estate, is preparing an exhibition of his work that will open January 5, 2010.

A son of surrealist Max Ernst and the art historian Louise Straus-Ernst, Jimmy Ernst spent his childhood in the company of Paul Klee, Alberto Giacometti, Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and André Breton, who were among his parents’ close friends.  After emigrating to the United States in 1938, he worked in the mail room and film library of the Museum of Modern Art and later for Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery.  He began to paint in the early 1940s, creating works that evolved from surrealist images in the mode of his father to abstract freeform compositions filled with intricate quill-like markings.  Ernst was one of few artists of his time to be embraced by both the Abstract Expressionists and the literate, often elitist artists of pre- and postwar Europe, who frequently saw the younger Americans as upstarts who lacked intellectual rigor.

A scan of the magazine article is shown below. The photograph caption reads: Continue reading