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Joan Mitchell

Abstract Expressionism (group show)
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
3 February - 4 June 2017

In the “age of anxiety” surrounding the Second World War and the years of free jazz and Beat poetry, artists like Pollock, Rothko, and de Kooning broke from accepted conventions to unleash a new confidence in painting. Abstract Expressionism was born from the common experience of artists living in 1940s New York, although they were friends and colleagues, each of them had their own unique style. Unlike what came before with Cubism and Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism did not appear to follow a set formula. This diversity is a celebration of the individual artists’ freedom to express themselves.

Abstract Expressionism meant a watershed moment in the evolution of 20th-century art, yet, remarkably, there has been no major survey in Europe of the movement since 1959. With over 130 paintings, sculptures, and photographs from public and private collections across the world, this ambitious exhibition encompasses masterpieces by the most acclaimed American artists associated with the movement–among them, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Phillip Guston, Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Aaron Siskind, David Smith, and Clyfford Still, as well as lesser-known but no less vital artists.

The selection aims to re-evaluate Abstract Expressionism, recognizing that though the subject is often perceived to be unified, in reality it was a highly complex, fluid, and many-sided phenomenon. Likewise, it revises the notion of Abstract Expressionism as based solely in New York City by addressing such figures on the West Coast as Sam Francis, Mark Tobey and Minor White.

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao


Additional:

Joan Mitchell

The Water Lilies. American Abstract Art and the last Monet (group show)
Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris
13 April - 20 August 2018

In 1955, Alfred Barr brought one of Monet’s large panels of Water Lilies (W1992) into the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, at a time when these great "decorations", still in the studio in Giverny, were beginning to attract the attention of collectors and museums.

Monet was presented at that time as "a bridge between the naturalism of early Impressionism and the highly developed school of Abstract Art" in New York, with his Water Lilies seen in the context of Pollock’s paintings, such as Autumn Rhythm (number 30), 1950. The reception of these later Monet works resonated with American Abstract Expression then coming into the museum collections. At the same time, the idea of "Abstract Impressionism" was forged. The exhibition at the Musée de l’Orangerie focuses on this precise moment - when the great decorations of the master of Giverny were rediscovered and the New York School of Abstract Art was recognised - with a selection of some of Monet’s later works and around twenty major paintings by American artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Philip Guston, Joan Mitchell, Mark Tobey, Sam Francis, Jean-Paul Riopelle and Ellsworth Kelly.

Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris