The Denver Art Museum presents the first full-scale museum presentation celebrating the female artists of the Abstract Expressionist movement. The exhibition brings together 51 paintings to examine the distinct contributions of 12 artists who played an integral role in what has been recognized as the first fully-American modern art movement. It presents a nuanced profile of women working on the East and West Coasts during the 1940s and ’50s, providing a new perspective on this important chapter in art history.
“For millennia women have been creators and innovators of artistic expression,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “Few women have found their way into the accounts of art history, and not until the 20th century have they received some of the credit that is long overdue. We are delighted to be the first U.S. museum to tell these stories of the most prolific female Abstract Expressionists.”
Deborah Remington, Exodus, 1960. Oil paint on canvas; 71 × 62 in. Private collection. Courtesy of the Deborah Remington Charitable Trust for the Visual Arts.
Deborah Remington, Apropos or Untitled, 1953. Oil paint on canvas; 39 × 51 in. Denver Art Museum: Vance H. Kirkland Acquisition Fund, 2015.225. Courtesy of the Deborah Remington Charitable Trust for the Visual Arts.
Elaine de Kooning, Bullfight, 1959. Oil on canvas; 77-5/8 × 131-1/4 × 1-1/8 in. Denver Art Museum: Vance H. Kirkland Acquisition Fund. ©Elaine de Kooning Trust.
Ethel Schwabacher, Antigone I, 1958. Oil paint on canvas; 51 × 85 in. Collection of Christopher C. Schwabacher and Brenda S. Webster. ©Estate of Ethel Schwabacher.
Grace Hartigan, New York Rhapsody, 1960. Oil on canvas, 67 3/4 x 91 5/16.” Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. University purchase, Bixby Fund, 1960.
Helen Frankenthaler, Western Dream, 1957. Oil paint on unsized, unprimed canvas; 70 × 86 in. Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, New York. ©2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photograph by Rob McKeever, courtesy Gagosian Gallery.
Jay DeFeo, Untitled (Everest), from the Mountain series, 1955. Oil paint on canvas; 96 × 74 in. Collection of the Oakland Museum of California. Gift of Jay DeFeo. ©2015 The Jay DeFeo Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Joan Mitchell, Hudson River Day Line, 1955. Oil paint on canvas; 79 × 83 in. Collection of the McNay Art Museum. Museum purchase with funds from the Tobin Foundation. ©Estate of Joan Mitchell.
Judith Godwin, Epic, 1959. Oil paint on canvas (diptych); 82 × 100 in. On loan from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC. Gift of Caroline Rose Hunt. Photograph by Lee Stalsworth. ©Judith Godwin.
Lee Krasner, Charred Landscape, 1960. Oil paint on canvas; 70 × 98 in. Collection of Craig A. Ponzio. Photograph by William J. O’Connor. ©2015 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Lee Krasner, The Seasons, 1957. Oil and house paint on canvas; 92-3/4 × 203-7/8 in. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from Frances and Sydney Lewis by exchange, the Mrs. Percy Uris Purchase Fund and the Painting and Sculpture Committee 87.7. Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins. ©2015 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Lee Krasner, Untitled, 1942. Oil paint on linen; 21 × 27 in. Collection of the University Art Museum, California State University Long Beach. Gift of the Gordon F. Hampton Foundation, through Wesley G. Hampton, Roger K. Hampton, and Katharine H. Shenk. ©2015 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Mary Abbott, All Green, about 1954. Oil paint on linen; 49 × 45-1/8 in. Denver Art Museum: Gift of Janis and Tom McCormick, 2013.250. ©Mary Abbott.
Perle Fine, Early Morning Garden, 1957. Oil paint and collage on canvas; 44 × 36 in. Image courtesy McCormick Gallery, Chicago Collection Art Enterprises, Ltd., Chicago. ©AE Artworks, LLC.
Perle Fine, Summer I, 1958-59. Oil paint and collage on canvas; 57 × 70 in. Collection of Craig A. Ponzio. Image courtesy McCormick Gallery, Chicago. ©AE Artworks, LLC.
Sonia Gechtoff, The Beginning, 1960. Oil paint on canvas; 69 × 83 in. Denver Art Museum: Vance H. Kirkland Acquisition Fund, 2015.62. ©Sonia Gechtoff.
Exhibition was organized by DAM and curated by Gwen Chanzit. It will travel to the Mint Museum in October 2016 and to the Palm Springs Art Museum in February 2017.
Images courtesy Denver Art Museum