CHARLES LITTLER: 1950s and 1960s

Featured

ACME Fine Art’s first exhibition and opening reception of the 2013 Fall Season will also mark the Grand Opening of the gallery’s new location at 1 Thayer Street in Boston’s SoWa Arts District. ACME’s new street level gallery space is located at the corner of Harrison Avenue and Thayer Streets in the South End. The Opening Reception will coincide with SoWa’s regular First Friday events on Friday, 6 September 2013 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

True to the gallery’s ongoing commitment to showcase important American artists of the 20th century, the premiere exhibition in ACME Fine Art’s new gallery space will be a select group of paintings and drawings made in the 1950s and 1960s by noted Abstract Expressionist artist Charles Littler. Littler was a New York School practitioner who emerged from his studies with Hans Hofmann in New York and Provincetown in the early 1950s with a fully articulate and masterfully elegant mode of visual expression that won the immediate respect of his colleagues. In 1952, he, along with Jim Gahagan, founded the James Gallery on 10th Street in Manhattan. The James Gallery is noteworthy for being among the first of a number of important artists’ cooperative galleries that championed Abstract Expressionism in the early 1950s. During this period, Littler’s artwork was featured in solo exhibitions at the James Gallery and the Glidden Gallery in New York, and was also included in a number of group exhibitions at venues such as the New York Center Gallery and at the prestigious149th Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1957 Littler abandoned the New York art scene and moved to Tucson Arizona, where he taught at the University of Arizona for the next twenty-six years. During this period Littler’s artwork was included in numerous group exhibitions throughout the Southwest, and he was honored with solo exhibitions at the Tuscon Art Center, the Ohio University Art Gallery, and at the University of Arizona. Littler considered his most important artistic accomplishment, however, to be the founding of a communal residential artists’ environment in Oracle Arizona called Rancho Linda Vista. To quote him, “my view of Rancho Linda Vista is that it’s a work of art, initiated by me and executed collaboratively by many members, past, present, and future.” Today –now in it’s third generation- the community that Littler initiated is still thriving.

This will be ACME Fine Art’s second solo exhibition of artwork by Charles Littler. For this exhibition, Gallery Director David Cowan has selected a group of paintings and drawings that span, not only Littler’s transition from east to west, but also demonstrate the artist’s transition from pure Abstract Expressionism to the Figurative Expressionist idiom that seems to have come naturally in conjunction with his relocation from New York to Arizona. It is likely no coincidence that while Littler’s artwork was trending figural, the Figurative Expressionist movement associated with his artist colleagues Jan Muller, Lester Johnson, George McNeil, Robert Beauchamp and Bob Thompson was emerging in avant-garde circles in New York and in Provincetown.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition: CHARLES LITTLER: 1950s and 1960s will be on view from Friday, 6 September through Saturday, 19 October 2013. New gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and by appointment. For further information about the exhibition, artist, or the gallery please call 617.585.9551 or contact us at info@acmefineart.com.

JACK TWORKOV WORKS ON PAPER

An important exhibition of works on paper by noted twentieth century modernist Jack Tworkov will open on Friday 24 September 2010 at ACME Fine Art in Boston. A reception from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. that evening will be held at the gallery. The retrospective exhibition will be comprised of paintings, drawings, and collages culled by Gallery Director David Cowan from private collections and from the estate of the artist. Noteworthy examples from the artist’s early years, as well as from his abstract expressionist heyday and his late geometric periods will be on view through 6 November 2010. 

Tworkov was born on the cusp of the twentieth century in Biala, Poland, emigrated to the United States in 1913, and went on to become one of America’s most important and influential modern artists. Tworkov is perhaps best known as one of the original action painters in New York in the 1940s and 1950s. His arrival at avant-garde abstract expressionism as his means of expression came following a perhaps surprisingly traditional education that included study at the National Academy of Design with Charles Hawthorne, at the Art Students League with Boardman Robinson and Guy Pene du Bois, and in Provincetown Massachusetts with Ross Moffett.

Although he had exhibited with the Societe Anonyme in New York as early as 1929 and was employed in the easel division of the WPA from 1935 to 1941, significant notoriety for Tworkov did not come until the mid-1940s in conjunction with his exploration of abstraction. Following a hiatus from painting from 1941 to 1945 to support the war effort, Tworkov began exhibiting his abstract work at the Egan Gallery in Manhattan in 1945. Now famous as one of the premiere galleries to exhibit the work of abstract expressionist artists, Egan also represented Franz Kline, George McNeil, Willem de Kooning and Giorgio Cavallon during this period. Egan mounted annual solo exhibitions of Tworkov’s work between 1945 and 1954, and it was during this timeframe that Tworkov developed his mature abstract expressionist voice, thereby establishing himself as one of the few true first-generation abstract-expressionists.

Today, Jack Tworkov’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Phillips Collection, to name just a few. The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Walker Art Center Minneapolis, MN have all mounted solo exhibitions of Tworkov’s work. Most recently retrospective exhibitions of Tworkov’s work have been mounted at the U.B.S Gallery in Manhattan and at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in Massachusetts. (Jack Tworkov’s complete curriculum vitae is available on the ACME Fine Art web-site.)

JACK TWORKOV Works on Paper will be on view at ACME Fine Art in Boston from 24 September to 6 November 2010. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday. The exhibition can be viewed on-line at acmefineart.com. Please contact the gallery for further information.

ACME FINE ART Will Be Open This Weekend for South End Open Studios

south end oepn studios
Please join us this weekend for South End Open Studios, Saturday & Sunday September 21 & 22 11am – 6 pmACME Fine Art will be open along with over 120 artists studios, indie designers and crafts people, who will be selling their wares outdoors at the Sowa Open Market. This is SoWa’s biggest weekend of the season!!Picture 065

ACME Fine Art’s exhibitions: CHARLES LITTLER: 1950s and 1960s and Big Paintings, Small Group will be on view through Saturday, 19 October 2013. The entire exhibition is online at  www.acmefineart.com.New gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and by appointment. For further information about the exhibition, artist, or the gallery please call 617.585.9551 or contact us atinfo@acmefineart.com.

Artist Biography: Boris Margo

Boris Margo (1902-1995)

Education:
Polytechnik Art School, USSR
Futemas,USSR
Pavel Filonov School, USSR

Exhibitions:
Roerich Museum, 1932 (solo)
Cincinnati Art Museum, 1939
Art of This Century, Peggy Guggenheim, 1943
Critics Choice, Cincinnati, 1945
Whitney Museum of American Art, 1946-66
National Academy of Design, 1946
Library of Congress, 1944, 1946
Armory Show NY, 1945
American University, 1946
Betty Parsons Gallery, 1947-62
San Francisco Art Museum, 1944
Art Institute of Chicago, 1947 (prize)
Brooklyn Museum, 1947 (retrospective)- 68
Carnegie Institute, 1952
Corcoran Gallery of Art, biennials 1947-63
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, 1962
Venice Biennales, 1956, 1970
Sao Paulo Biennale
Associated American Artists

Member:
MacDowell Colony fellow

Collections:
Museum of Modern Art
Collections Continued:
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Art Institute of Chicago
Addison Gallery of American Art
National Museum of American Art
Brooklyn Museum
Sao Paulo Museum of Art
Provincetown Art Association and Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artist Biography: James Gahagan

James Gahagan (1927 – 1999)

Following in Hofmann’s footsteps, James Gahagan was an accomplished painter as well as a beloved teacher and mentor to others. Inspired by nature, his sensitivity to color relationships and spatial dynamics made him one of the most skillful American colorists.

Born in Brooklyn in 1927, Gahagan claimed that his serious interest in art did not manifest until he was in high school, though some of his earliest memories included selling large scale, hand-drawn renditions of Disney characters to his family members for twenty-five cents.

Gahagan’s ideas about color challenged the accepted norms of the day, even at an early age. Arguing emotionally with a high school art teacher about his use of “invented colors” in a landscape painting, he defended his artistic license: “To me it just seemed the natural thing to do. I just perceived color as beautiful and used it freely, even as I tried to capture the scene I was viewing or imagining.”

Gahagan was one of the many artists in the late 1940s that were able to pursue their studies thanks to the G.I Bill. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he attended Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont (1947-51) where he studied with two former Hofmann students. He soon moved to New York, where he himself began attending the Hans Hofmann School of Art and became involved with the then-burgeoning abstract movement. His visual vocabulary developed during his years as Associate Director of the Hofmann School and as Hofmann’s assistant during the creation of two major mosaic murals in New York City.

A staunch activist for artists’ rights, Gahagan was a motivating force among his New York contemporaries, acting as a principal organizer and the first elected President of the Artist Tenants Association. In this role, Gahagan led a successful strike by artists to win zoning for artists’ lofts in New York in 1962. This resulted in the establishment of several early artists’ buildings, including the Westbeth, one of the largest artist’s community buildings in the world. In a 1962 article in the New York Times Magazine, the artist spoke for many of his colleagues when he described the artist’s classic battle between a life of financial stability and one of artistic integrity: “It becomes a sort of contest of values… Do we give up our personal freedom and artistic goals and a way of life for job security, a developmental higher salary, Blue Cross insurance policies and a new car? And is it a fair trade? We’ve decided it isn’t. In the end, we feel we have more, not less.”

Gahagan taught painting at Pratt Institute (1965-1971), Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts (1968-1971), and Goddard College (1971-1979), where he became Chairman of the Art Department. He opened the James Gahagan School of Fine Arts in Woodbury, Vermont during the summers of 1971-1974 and was invited to be a visiting artist at Notre Dame University (1978) and at Humboldt State University in California (1989). He was invited to teach at the founding of the prestigious Vermont Studio Center (1984-1999) and in 1991-92 became the resident Artist/Critic at the International Art Workshop in New Zealand.

He has exhibited his work extensively in New York and Provincetown, and has also periodically shown in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Paris. His work is represented in the public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia; and the University Art Museum in Berkeley, among others.

He died at his home in Woodbury, Vermont in 1999 at the age of 71.

Education:
Hans Hoffman School of Fine Arts
Goddard College, Plainfield, VT
School of Printing Trades, New York

Awards:
Longview Purchase Grant, 1959
Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Award, 1984

Selected Exhibitions:
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia, PA, 1954
James Gallery (founding member) NYC, 1954 (solo), 1955 (solo), 1956, 1957
Sun Gallery, Provincetown, MA 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959
H.C.E. Gallery, Provincetown, MA, 1956, 1957
Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown MA, 1956, 1978, 1981,
1990, 2000, 2001
United Nations Sponsored Traveling Exhibit to 64 Nations, 1957
University of California Berkeley, 1960
Museum of Modern Art, NYC, 1960
Chrysler Museum, Provincetown, MA, 1962
Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, 1963
Bradford College, MA, 1967 (solo)
Bundy Museum, Waitsfield, VT, 1967 (solo), 1976
Bard College, 1968 (solo)
The Fleming Museum, Burlington, VT, 1976
Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY, 1977
Goddard College, VT, 1978, 1970, 1951 (solo)
Tirca Karlis Gallery, Provincetown, MA, 1981, 1982 (solo), 1983, 1984 (solo),
1985 (solo), 1986 (solo)
Dibden Gallery, Johnson College, VT, 1984 (solo)
Vermont Council on the Arts, Governors Pavilion Building, Montpelier VT, 1989
The Hillyer Gallery, Smith College, 1994
Clarke Galleries, West Palm Beach, FL, 2000 (solo)
James Gahagan & Hank Jensen, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, 2002
James Gahagan at Mid-Century, ACME Fine Art, Boston, MA, 2008

Selected Collections:
Metropolitan Museum Archives, New York, NY
The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA
Berkeley Museum, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA
Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis MA

 

 

ACME FINE ART’s 11th Annual SUMMER SALON

5 July – 17 August, 2013

This year ACME Fine Art will open the gallery’s much-anticipated annual  Summer Salon exhibition in new digs at 450 Harrison Avenue, Suite 308  in Boston’s South End. The opening will coincide with SoWa’s First  Friday events on Friday the 5th of July, and the gallery will be open  from 3:00 to 8:00 on that evening. The exhibition will be on view through Saturday  17 August.

This year’s Summer Salon will feature a variety of summer-themed  artworks created during the twentieth century at New England’s renowned  summer art colonies, as well as a selection of Gallery Director David  Cowan’s personal favorite works reprised from gallery and museum  exhibitions of the 2012/2013 season. Highlights will include a very  rare, early watercolor of the Provincetown waterfront by Edwin  Dickinson, a mid-career gem titled Polynesian I (small version) by Hans  Hofmann, an important oil painting titledSeaside Holiday by Kenneth  Stubbs that was featured in the recent Tides of Provincetown exhibition  mounted by the New Britain Museum of American Art, and an oil painting  by Dorothy Eisner from her celebrated Croquet Series that was created on Cranberry Island, Maine during the 1970s. Other artists whose artwork will form a part of the exhibition include: Michael Loew, Charles Littler, Myrna Harrison, Haynes Ownby, George  Lloyd, William Freed, Lillian Orlowsky, Maurice Freedman, Panos Ghikas,  Daniel Brustlein, and Jack Tworkov.

Timed to coincide with what promises to be a blockbuster exhibition  titled Pioneers of Provincetown that is being mounted this summer by  the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, this year’s Summer Salon  will also include a number of significant artworks by artists who will  be featured in the PAAM exhibition. The theme of the PAAM exhibition is  “the genesis of the Figurative Expressionist Movement in Provincetown.”  In concert with this, ACME Fine Art will feature Figurative  Expressionist works by such pioneers of that movement as Jan Muller,  Lester Johnson, Tony Vevers, Jay Milder, and George McNeil.

ACME Fine Art’s 11th Annual SUMMER SALON exhibition will open on  Friday, 5 July 2013 and will be on view through Saturday, 17 August  2013 at the gallery’s interim location: 450 Harrison Avenue, Suite 308,  Boston, MA 02118. Parking is available. Please contact the gallery at  617.585.9551 orinfo@acmefineart.com for further information about exhibitions or artists. Summer Gallery Hours are 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

INTERIORS

13 April – 25 May, 2013
INTERIORS is the title of a six-artist group exhibition that will open at ACME Fine Art in Boston on Saturday, 13 April 2013. The exhibition will feature classic paintings by twentieth century modern artists who practiced in Provincetown as well as cutting edge contemporary artwork created specifically for this exhibition by artists who have been fellows at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. The exhibition will be on view through 25 May, 2013 at the gallery and on-line at http://www.acmefineart.com.

The six artists included in this distinguished group are:

Maurice Freedman was very much a “mid-century modern” artist. Freedman’s brilliantly colorful paintings of interior scenes at once visually recall his study with Max Beckman during the first half of the twentieth century and at the same time illuminate his own personal outward-looking experiences of both Provincetown and his studio in New York. His work expressively captures both time and space.

Mary Hackett was a self-taught painter and longtime resident of Provincetown. Her scenes of everyday life contain numerous symbolic and memory-laden objects placed in an often naïvely constructed space that together create an autobiographical narrative that is so compelling that Hackett has developed a formidable cult following among those fortunate enough to know and collect her rare creations.

Sharli Powers Land was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in 1969-‘70. Her boldly evocative paintings have an uncanny appeal with a dynamic composition and a palette that is downright explosive. Land’s interior views capture a sense of place while often making reference to a place in time through the incorporation of formal references to her contemporaries such as Mary Hackett and Myron Stout.

Samuel Messer was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in 1981. Messer is currently Associate Dean of the Art program at Yale University. His interior portraits are wildly expressive paeans to his subject. They convey an all-encompassing vision of their sitter through the loosely rendered likeness that is central to the composition and through the complex interior environment created by Messer.

Meghan Gordon was a recent fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center. Gordon’s artwork relies heavily on art-historical research. She creates paintings/drawings, objects, film, and installations that create an alternative art history that actively engages and challenges the observer. The interior is consistently a crucial theme and component of Gordon’s artistry.

Paul Kelly is a contemporary artist living in Provincetown whose subject matter is most often Cape related. Kelly’s paintings have an elegantly edited quality both in palette and in composition. The resultant views appear both true to their location and completely abstract, simultaneously. Like Freedman, this artist is interested in the view through the opening; however, in Kelly’s interiors all but the essential has been eliminated.

Beyond the obvious links having to do with the outer Cape, the INTERIORS exhibition will explore common threads in the genre as evidenced in the works by these six important 20th and 21st century artists. Some of the common threads are: visual and formal interests in the relationships between inside and out vis-à-vis the notion of containment, the use of personal objects as symbols and the meanings associated with them, the manipulation of perspective to enhance a sense of space and volume, the introduction of historical references and the connections such references make with the observer, and how the introduction of the figure –portrait or self-portrait- animates the interior.

A special Exhibition Preview Event to benefit the Fine Arts Work Center will be hosted by the Galleries at 38 Newbury Street on Friday 12 May. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres, catered by MAX Ultimate Food, will be served between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. In celebration of National Poetry Month, special guests at the event will also include Robert Pinsky, US Poet Laureate (1997-2000), and poet John Murillo, Fine Arts Work Center writing Fellow (2007-2008). Tickets for the preview can be purchased through the Fine Arts Work Center (www.fawc.org/tickets) or by phone at 508-487-9960 x 101. Please contact the gallery for further information.

MICHAEL LOEW: WORKS ON PAPER at ACME FINE ART

3 February – 2 March, 2013

A retrospective survey of watercolors and drawings by noted abstract expressionist artist Michael Loew will open on Saturday 9 February at ACME Fine Art in Boston. A reception from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. will mark the occasion. The exhibition will be on view through Saturday 2 March at the gallery and on-line at http://www.acmefineart.com.

This will be the third solo exhibition of Michael Loew’s popular abstractions; however, it will be the first that runs across periods in the artist’s body of work, and the first that focuses exclusively on works on paper. The exhibition will be composed of works created between the late 1930s and 1985, and it highlights drawings and watercolors that were made as studies for paintings or murals, as well as finished, stand alone artworks. All stand on their own merit as outstanding examples –not only of Michael Loew’s creative powers- but also, of the artistic spirit of modernism in the twentieth century.

Michael Loew was a master of weaving geometry with nature. He seemed to delight in exploring the limits of nature based abstraction. Throughout his career one can see a back and forth between the almost totally abstract, and the representational. Although it is impossible to say how and where Loew’s modern tendencies originated, it is fair to say that his experiences, his education, and his own interests led him in a distinctly avant-garde direction very early on. On the side of experience, one might point out his collaboration with DeKooning on a 1939 NYC World’s Fair mural that led to a life-long friendship that must have influenced Loew. Certainly, his post war training under one of the most important nature-based abstract expressionists, Hans Hofmann, also proved to have had significant influence. Then, there was his study abroad at the Atelier Leger. Although various influences may have come to bear on Michael Loew, his work is always in his own true voice, and that voice is consistently clear, concise, and elegantly expressive.

Michael Loew’s artistic talents were recognized as early as 1929 when he won the Sadie A. May Travelling Fellowship, and the honors continued with awards such as the National Endowment for the Arts Grant, the Judith Rothschild Grant, and the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Today, Loew’s work is in the permanent collections of Art Museums such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, and the Albright Knox Art Gallery.

A comprehensive exhibition catalogue including an essay by Susan C. Larsen is available through the gallery. Please contact ACME Fine Art for further information about Michael Loew, or this exhibition.

Lillian Orlowsky & William Freed: EMERGING at MID-CENTURY

17 November – 22 December 2012

An exhibition of paintings and works on paper titled: Lillian Orlowsky & William Freed: EMERGING at MID-CENTURY will open with a reception from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, 17 November 2012 at ACME Fine Art’s 38 Newbury Street gallery in Boston. The exhibition has been curated by the Provincetown Art Association and Museum’s Executive Director Christine McCarthy. With the intention of taking a fresh look at the body of work created by the two well-known New York and Provincetown based abstract expressionists, McCarthy focused on works in the artists’ estates that have not been previously exhibited. As a result, in addition to important oil paintings dating from as early as the couple studied with Hans Hofmann; the exhibition will also include a series of large freely executed tempera on paper still-life abstractions, as well as a fascinating group of modern fabric designs from the 1940s and 1950s by Orlowsky.

Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed met while both were Works Project Administration artists in New York in the late 1930s. Orlowsky is credited with introducing Freed to Hans Hofmann shortly after Hofmann established his School of Art in Manhattan, and the couple were among the first of Hofmann’s students to move to Provincetown during the summer months to participate in Hofmann’s School there as well.

Orlowsky and Freed developed lengthy and significant personal and professional relationships with Hofmann while building important careers in the avant-garde world of modern art in their own rights. In the mid-1950s, along with a group that included artists such as Jim Gahagan, Charles Littler, Robert Henry, Haynes Ownby and Myrna Harrison, they formed the nucleus of the James Gallery, an early artists’ cooperative gallery on 12th Street in Manhattan. Since that time, their artwork has been exhibited in numerous commercial galleries and in museum venues. Artwork by Lillian Orlowsky and also by William Freed is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Cape Cod Museum of Art, and of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum to name a few.

The exhibition Lillian Orlowsky & William Freed: EMERGING at MID-CENTURY will be on view at ACME Fine Art from Saturday 17 November through Saturday 22 December 2012. Sales from the exhibition will benefit the Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Foundation Grant program.