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.

Burgoyne Diller’s “Thinking Balance” for a Thinker

Lisa N. Peters

Burgoyne Diller, "Thinking Balance," 1933, oil and sand on canvas, 17 x 14 inches

Burgoyne Diller, "Thinking Balance," 1933, oil and sand on canvas, 17 x 14 inches

The eightieth birthday of the distinguished bioethicist and philosopher Daniel Callahan occasioned the publication by the Hastings Center (a nonpartisan institution dedicated to bioethics and the public interest) of a compendium of Callahan’s articles. For the cover of this publication, the Hastings Center asked us for permission to reproduce Burgoyne Diller’s Thinking Balance (ca. 1933), which we were delighted to provide.  With its planes of color, both divided by and cut through by curved and straight lines, and its suggestion of a mind in motion, this painting seems just right to reflect on Callahan’s wide-ranging and penetrating consideration of some of the most profound issues of our time, including the definition of death and what limits if any should be placed on medical technology to prolong life.  An intellectual artist, Diller would certainly have been honored by this association.

Thinking Balance and other works by Burgoyne Diller belong to the Diller estate, which is represented by Spanierman Gallery.

Willem De Kooning Drawings

Willem de Kooning Drawings

"de Kooning Drawings" (New York: Walker House, 1967)

Carol Lowrey

In 1967, Walker House published de Kooning Drawings, part of a series of illustrated books devoted to various aspects of art history.  As you can see, the cover is relatively simple, consisting of a reproduction of Willem de Kooning’s signature and the word “drawings” in the lower right.  Inside, readers are presented with facsimile reproductions of twenty-four figure drawings executed in charcoal in 1966. I’m not at all surprised that the publishers decided to do a book featuring a selection of drawings by this pioneering Abstract Expressionist.  An artist who viewed drawing as part and parcel of the creative process, Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) drew incessantly throughout his career, creating highly animated works that stand out for their spontaneity, fluidity and lack of finish.  As the art historian Paul Cummings has pointed out, his drawings were part of  “the process of evolving a vocabulary of images and strokes to be used in the paintings.  The painterliness inherent in his manner of using charcoal can be observed in the way he pushes tones and the emphatic, dark, defining lines” (“The Drawings of Willem de Kooning” in Willem de Kooning: Drawings, Paintings, Sculpture, 1983, 22).  Continue reading

Video: Elaine Grove on Dan Christensen's plaid paintings

In this video clip Elaine Grove and Ira Spanierman discuss Dan Christensen’s Dark Tulip (1970), a painting that was hanging in Dan and Elaine’s loft for many years:
Here is the full video featuring a walk-through of the whole exhibition. We want to thank Elaine again for coming in and talking about her late husband’s work for this video as well as the catalog that accompanied the show. It gives invaluable insight into Christensen’s work and life.

Betty Parsons in Maine

Katherine Bogden

Betty Parsons - Moonlight, Maine, 1972

Betty Parsons, "Moonlight-Maine," 1972, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 20 inches

I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn’t deeply in love with the state of Maine. There is something in the wild, coastal waters and thick, old-growth woods that instantly casts away the urbanite in me and calls forth my rural roots. For someone working in the field of 19th and 20th century arts, this is probably a good thing, for countless painters have traveled to our easternmost state to paint and take in the area’s plethora of natural beauty.

These works are, for the most part, easy to recognize—sometimes almost down to the exact location. There are others, however, that represent the state in a less literal manner. One such painting is Moonlight—Maine by Betty Parsons. Intrigued by this dramatic painting, we recently decided to see what more there was to know about Betty Parsons and my favorite state.

Although it is well-known Parsons traveled widely, we didn’t know if she had spent extensive time in Maine or merely passed through. What first clued us in that she might have spent extensive time there was a very brief quote from a 1975 New Yorker profile written by Calvin Tompkins in which Parsons states:

After Europe, I went out to Wyoming for three weeks and stayed with my friend Hope Williams, who has a ranch near Cody. I did a lot of painting there. And then I was at my cottage in Maine for two weeks. Continue reading