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 action painting, abstract expressionism, American art, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Grace Hartigan, Conrad Marca-Relli, Albert Kotin, Robert Richenburg, Joseph Stefanelli, John Grillo, John Ferren, Herbert Ferber, Seymour Lipton, Jimmy Ernst, Fried
Early American Action Painters - ArtLyst Article image

Early American Action Painters

17-06-2015
 
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Photographs by Aaron Siskind
All rights reserved by the artists and by his legal delegates.

New York School Action Painting
Post World War II Abstract Expressionist Artists in New York City represented a new artistic innovation that by the 1950's had been recognized across the Atlantic including Paris. New York School Action Painting became the leading art movement of the postwar era.The artists who were responsible for the new innovation were living in Lower Manhattan.
Expressionism had been first used in Germany in 1919in the magazine Der Sturm, regarding German Expressionism.  Alfred Barr was the first to use this term in 1929 in relation to workscreated by Vassily Kandinsky.

Early New York School Action Painters

James Brooks (1906-1992)
 

Brooks was amongst the first abstract expressionists to use staining as an important technique. According to art critic, Carter Ratcliff: 

"His concern has always been to create painterly accidents of the kind that allow buried personal meanings to take on visibility."

James Brooks, BERL, 1956.

Oil on canvas, 62 x 66 inches. 

All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates.


This painting is illustrated in the book: 

New York School Abstract Expressionists: Artists Choice by Artists  p.80 




Nicolas Carone (1917-2010)


Carone was a part of the 
Abstract Expressionist movement,
 which relied heavily on Surrealismpoetry and interpretations of Jungian psychology. He was a good friend of the American painter, Jackson Pollock and was interviewed by authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith for their biographyJackson Pollock: An American Saga.

Nicolas Carone, Untitled, 1957
Oil on canvas, 60 x 74 inches
All rights reserved by the artists or by his delegates.

This painting is illustrated in the book:

page: 96

 

Books including Nicolas Carone:

pages: 94-97

pages: 74-77

pages: 64-67





Elaine de Kooning (1918-1989)

 

Elaine Marie Catherine Fried on December 9, 1943, she married painter Willem de Kooning and used the name Elaine de Kooning. She was an Abstract Expressionist as well as a Figurative Expressionist painter in the post-World War II era and editorial associate for Art News magazine.

Elaine de Kooning, Untitled, 1957

Oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches 

All rights reserved by the artist or her legal delegates.

The painting is illustrated in the book:  


New York School Abstract Expressionists: Artists Choice by Artists 

p.104    

Books including Elaine de Kooning:

pages: 102-105

pages: 90-93

pages: 72-75


Video: Elaine de Kooning

 


Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) 


Willem de Kooning was a Dutch American abstract expressionist artist who was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and became USA citizen in 1962. In the post-World War II era, de Kooning painted in a style that came to be referred to as Abstract expressionism or Action painting, and was part of a group of artists that came to be known as the New York School.


Willem de Kooning, Gotham News, 1955-56

 Oil on canvas, 69 1/2 x 79 1/4 inches.

All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates.

The painting is illustrated in the book:


page: 108

Books including Willem de Kooning:

pages: 106-109

pages: 94-97

pages: 76-79


Friedel Dzubas (1915-1994)


Friedel Dzubas studied art in his native land before fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939 and settling in New York City. In Manhattan during the early 1950s began exhibiting his abstract expressionist paintings. His work was included in the famous "9th St." Show in New York City in 1951. After the Ninth Street Show annual invitational exhibitions were held at the Stable Gallery throughout the 1953-1957. Dzubas participated in 1951, 1953 and  in 1955. In the 1960s he became associated with Color field painting.

Friedel Dzubas, Untitled, 1957

Oil on canvas, 52 x 39 inches

All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates.

 The painting is illustrated in the book:

p.124 


Jimmy Ernst (1920-1984)

Jimmy Ernst was the son of the well know German surrealist artist,
Max Ernst.
He was part of a group of artist called The Irascibles who protested against The Metropolitan Museum of Art for not recognizing them in the exhibition of contemporary artist of 1951.

Jimmy Ernst, Playing Cards, 1953

Gouache on paper, 21 x 22 1/4 inches

All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates 

The painting is illustrated in the book:

  


Herbert Ferber (1906-1991)


Herbert Ferber until 1950 he maintained two carriers. He was a dentist and an abstract expressionist sculptor. From the 1950's on he was working as a sculptor.

Herbert Ferber, Pointer, 1957-58
Brass, 24 1/4 x 10 x 7 3/4 inches
All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates

 

The sculpture is illustrated in the book:

p.132

Books including Herbert Ferber:

pages: 130-133

pages: 118-121




John Ferren (1905-1970)


John Ferren was one of the few members of the American Abstract Artists to come to artistic maturity in Paris. Ferren said, he "literally learned art around the café tables in Paris, knowing other artists and talking." He called art the "great common denominator between knowledge and insight," and said it should explore the intuitive - the spiritual, mental, social, or psychological - forces of life. During World War II, Ferren served with the Office of War Information in the North

African and European theaters. After his military service Ferren was an early member of The Club, an organization of Abstract Expressionists, and in 1955 served as its president.

John Ferren, Untitled, 1951
Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 inches
All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates

The painting is illustrated in the book:




Perle Fine (1908-1988)

 Perle Fine was an American Abstract Expressionist painterShe was chosen by her fellow artists to show in the famous "9th St." Show held on May 21 – June 10, 1951. 

She was among the 24 out of a total 256 New York School artists who was included in all the Annuals 1951-1957. These Annuals were important because the participants were chosen by the artists themselves.

In the 1950s Fine moved to the Springs, section of East Hampton on the eastern end of Long Island where Jackson PollockLee KrasnerWillem de KooningConrad Marca-Relli and other members of the New York School found permanent residence.


Perle Fine stated the following:

" I never thought of myself as a student or teacher, but as a painter. When I paint something I am very much aware of the future. If I feel something will not stand up 40 years from now, I am not interested in doing that kind of thing."

Perle Fine, A Ceremony of aKind, 1955
Oil on canvas, 43 3/4 x 49 3/4 inches

 

 

 


Michael Goldberg (1924-2007)

He was an American abstract expressionist painter. He began exhibiting his action paintings in important group shows in galleries in New York City in the early 1950s. He exhibited in the famous "9th St." Show in 1951.

Michael Goldberg, Untitled, 1949.

Oil on canvas, 34 x 24 inches. Exhibited in the “9th St.” Show, 1951

All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates.


The painting is illustrated in the book: 

New York School Abstract Expressionists: Artists Choice by Artists  p.151

pages: 138-141




Robert Goodnough (1917-2010)


He was an American abstract expressionist painter. A veteran of World War II, Goodnough was one of the last of the original generation of the New York Schoolhe began exhibiting his work in galleries in New York City in the early 1950s. Robert Goodnough was among the 24 artists from the total of 256 participants who were included in the famous "9th St." Show, (1951) and in all the following New York Painting and Sculpture Annuals from 1953 to 1957. These Annuals were important because the participants were chosen by the artists themselves.

Robert Goodnough, Black Sticks, 1953

Wood collage, 12 x 13 5/8 inches. 

All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates.

The painting is illustrated in the book: 


Books including Robert Goodnough:

pages: 150-153


Video:
Artist Spotlight: Robert Goodnough





John Grillo (1917-2014)


John Grillo is acknowledged as perhaps the first and purest "action painter" on the West Coast and according to Thomas Albright, he was one of the most influential painters of San Francisco's school of Abstract Expressionism. In 1948 he arrived to New York City. In the rest of his life he lived, painted and exhibited in Provincetown, and Well Fleet Massachusetts and New York City.

John Grillo, Explosive Image, 1957

Oil on canvas, 50 x 58 inches. 

All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates.

Video:

  

 

Philip Guston (1913-1980)

Philip Guston in the 1950's achieved success as an abstract expressionist. During this period his paintings often consisted of blocks and masses of gestural strokes and marks of color floating within the picture plane.



Philip Guston, Dial I, 1956
Oil on canvas, 72 x 76 inches
All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates.

The painting is illustrated in the book:New York School Abstract expressionists: Artists Choice by Artists  p.172 

pages: 170-173

pages: 150-153

 

Grace Hartigan (1922-2008)


Grace Hartigan gained her reputation as part of the New York School of artists and painters that emerged in New York City during the 1940s and '50s. She was a lively participant in the vibrant artistic and literary milieu of the times, and her friends included Jackson PollockLarry RiversHelen FrankenthalerWillem and Elaine de KooningFrank O'HaraKnox Martin, and many other painters, artists, poets, and writers. She was the only woman artist in the Museum of Modern Art's legendary The New American Painting exhibition which toured Europe in the late 1950s.

Grace Hartigan, East Hampton, 1957
Oil and paper collage, 28 x 22 1/4 inches.
All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates.

The painting is illustrated in the book:

p.176

Books including Grace Hartigan:

pages: 174-177

pages: 162-165

pages: 116-119

Hans Hofmann (1880 – 1966)

Hofmann's art work is distinguished by a rigorous concern with pictorial structure, spatial illusion, and color relationships. His completely abstract works date from the 1940s. Hofmann believed that abstract art was a way to get at the important reality. He famously stated that "the ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak"

Hans Hofmann, Laburnum, 1954 

Oil on canvas, 40 x 50 inches 

All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates.

The painting is illustrated in the book:

Books including Hans Hofmann:

New York School Abstract Expressionists: Artists Choice by Artists 
pages: 182-185

American Abstract Expressionism of the 1950s: An Illustrated Survey pages: 166-169 

Video: Hans Hofmann 


Franz Kline (1910 – 1962)


By the 1950's Franz Kline realized that small-scale sketches can be expanded to yield dramatic effect. This technique continued until his death.


Franz Kline, Chief, 1950
Oil on canvas, 58 3/8 x 6 feet 1 1/2 inches
The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates

The painting is illustrated in the book: 

pages: 186-189




Albert Kotin (1907-1980)

Albert Kotin belonged to the early generation of American 
expressionists. He participated in the "9th St." Show, (1951) and in all the invitational New York Artists' Annuals 1953-1957.
These shows were significant because the participants were chosen by the artists themselves.

 

 

Albert Kotin, Predators, 1951

Oil on canvas,36 x 28 inches. 

Exhibited in the “9th St.” Show, 1951All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates. 

 

Books including Albert Kotin:

pages: 206-209

pages: 190-193

pages: 140-143

Video: Albert Kotin-Abstract Expressionism-New York School 1950s action painting

 

Seymour Lipton (1903-1986)

Seymour Lipton was an American abstract expressionist sculptor. He was a member of the New York School who gained widespread recognition in the 1950s. He initially trained as a dentist but focused on sculpture from 1932. His early choices of medium changed from wood to lead and then to bronze, and he is best known for his work in metal. He made several technical innovations, including brazing nickel-silver rods onto sheets of Monel to create rust resistant forms.Seymour Lipton, Storm Bird, 1953Nickel-silver on steel, 20 x 35 1/4 x 11 inches

All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates.

 

The sculpture is illustrated in the book:



New York School Abstract Expressionists: Artists Choice by Artists 
p.227

Books including Seymour Lipton:

New York School Abstract Expressionists: Artists Choice by Artists 

pages: 210-213


George McNeil (1908-1995)

 

McNeil moved to full abstraction by 1936. His early 1950s paintings were: “both abstract and expressionist” with an active surface “ very moving, full of feeling, emotional” displaying the “painterly touch” that was identified with the artists exhibiting at the Charles Egan Gallery.

 

 


George McNeil, The British Navy, 1957

Oil on canvas, 66 x 66 inche inches. 

All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates.

 

The painting is illustrated in the book:

Conrad Marca-Relli (1913-2000)

 

Conrad Marca-Relli, a member of the New York School’s first generation, was a pioneer of Abstract Expressionism. He is most celebrated for his large-scale collages, composed of pieces of canvas or natural linen overpainted with gestural brushstrokes. In 1967, William Agee, then curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, praised Marca-Relli’s work, claiming that his “achievement has been to raise collage to a scale and complexity equal to that of monumental painting.”

 

Conrad Marca-Relli, Untitled,1958
Oil on canvas-collage on canvas, 38 x 47 1/2 inches
All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates.

 

Reproduced in the book:



Books including Conrad Marc-Relli:

pages: 234-237 

 

Joan Mitchell (1926 – 1992)

Mitchell lived and worked primarily in France.  While her dramatic, lushly painted works possess an active, gestural quality that connects her work to New York School artists such as Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and Philip Guston.



Joan Mitchell, Lady Bug, 1957

Oil on canvas, 6′ 57/8 x 9′ inches

All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates.

Jackson Pollock (1912 – 1956) 

Jackson Pollock, was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. He was well known for his unique style of drip painting.During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety; he was a major artist of his generation. Regarded as reclusive, he had a volatile personality, and struggled with alcoholism for most of his life. In 1945, he married the artist Lee Krasner, who became an important influence on his career and on his legacy.

 

Jackson Pollock, Number 3, 1949: Tiger, 1949

Oil enamel, metallic enamel, string and cigarette fragment

on canvas mounted on fiberboard, 62 1/8 x 37 1/4 inches

All rights reserved by the artist or his legal delegates.

Reproduced in the book: 

pages: 278-281  

 

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