Richard Pousette-Dart (b. 1916, Saint Paul, Minnesota; d. 1992, New York) was the youngest artist of the New York School’s first generation of Abstract Expressionists. During his career, Pousette-Dart created a lexicon of biomorphic and totemic forms that provided rich visual and symbolic sources that he would explore throughout his long career in a multitude of painterly approaches. He is recognized for his painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture, which are unified by his expressive use of gesture, form, and color. Never embracing action painting and instead pursuing his own aesthetic, Pousette-Dart sought universal significance in his art, expressed through nonobjective means.
Pousette-Dart’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1963, 1974, 1998); Museum of Modern Art (1969); The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1997); and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as well as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy (2007). Recent monographic presentations have been held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2014); The Drawing Center, New York (2015); Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (2018); and Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine (2018).
New York—Pace Gallery is pleased to announce Richard Pousette-Dart: The Centennial, an exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birthday. This exhibition also marks the 75th anniversary of his first gallery show, held at Artists’ Gallery, New York, in 1941. Two years later, Pousette-Dart had a solo exhibition at the Willard Gallery, at what is now Pace’s 32 East 57th Street gallery, where Richard Pousette-Dart: The Centennial will occur. Pace will publish a catalogue to accompany the exhibition, with a new essay by art historian Martica Sawin. A public opening will be held at 32 East 57th Street, on Wednesday, September 14, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Richard Pousette-Dart: The Centennial will present a selection of eighteen paintings spanning four decades, from the 1940s through the 1980s. The works on view relate the artist’s development from his early Abstract Expressionist works to his later paintings that he called “presences.” Pousette-Dart’s paintings display remarkable experimentation and a wide range of techniques with brush, palette knife and even paint squeezed directly from the tube. The uniqueness of each work proves the painter’s claim that “every painting is a new experience and departure into the unknown.”
The youngest of the first generation of Abstract Expressionists, Pousette-Dart made works in the 1940s and 50s that resulted from his encounters with his materials, with intuition guiding his innovations in form, line, and color. From the 1960s on, he began creating paintings with “points” of paint rather than gestural lines and strokes. Some canvases are built up with heavy impasto and display a strong physicality, while other paintings are more thinly layered in their use of color and light. Later works appear at first glance to be dominated by monochromatic visual fields—although upon closer inspection they contain surprisingly wide spectrums of color that emerge subtly through the points of white. These are paintings that reward sustained viewing.
The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation has announced the conservation of the artist’s landmark painting Presence, Healing Circles (1973), a triptych that has been on view in the main lobby of the North Central Bronx Hospital since it was commissioned over forty years ago. The carefully cleaned work has been reinstalled on the publicly accessible ground floor of Gouverneur Health Care, on New York’s Lower East Side. The Foundation will also be hosting a centennial event at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Hess Theater with a panel featuring Jennifer Powell, Barbara Rose, Patti Trimble, Adam Weinberg, and Christopher Wool. The speakers will discuss the restoration of Presence, Healing Circles, Pousette-Dart’s life, art, teaching and legacy, on Thursday, September 29, at 6:30 p.m.
Richard Pousette-Dart (1916–1992) was a pioneer of the New York School, although he took his own path throughout his career. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, he grew up in Westchester County, New York, part of a family immersed in the arts. Living in Manhattan during the 1930s and 1940s, Pousette-Dart was the first of the New York School painters to create a mural-size easel work, in 1941–42. He participated in the pivotal Subjects of the Artists and Studio 35 groups, and was featured with key Abstract Expressionists in the iconic “The Irascibles” photograph taken in 1950 by Nina Leen. Pousette-Dart relocated to Sloatsburg, New York, in 1951, and resided in Suffern, New York, from 1958. Teaching at the New School of Social Research, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, the Art Students League and Bard College, his students include Saul Leiter, Ai Weiwei and Christopher Wool.
Pousette-Dart’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1963, 1974, 1998); a widely touring show organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1969); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1997); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (2007); The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (2010); Luhring Augustine, New York (2011); Philadelphia Museum of Art (2014); and The Drawing Center, New York (2015).
In Pousette-Dart’s lifetime his work was exhibited in the Whitney Annual and Biennial exhibitions seventeen times, the Art Institute of Chicago Annual exhibition five times and the Carnegie International twice. Other important group exhibitions include the Venice Biennale (1948, 1982); Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1951); and Documenta II (1959). Pousette-Dart’s work has been discussed and reappraised by art historians and artists, among them Alex Bacon, Britta Buhlmann, Charles H. Duncan, Robert Hobbs, Sam Hunter, Hilton Kramer, Donald Kuspit, James K. Monte, Stephen Polcari, Joanna Pousette-Dart, Carter Ratcliff, Barbara Rose, Lowery Stokes Sims, Roberta Smith, Robert Storr and Christopher Wool.
Pace has represented Richard Pousette-Dart since 2013. This is the second exhibition of his work at the gallery.
Richard Pousette-Dart: A Centennial Celebration
Public Program – Symposium and Reception
Thursday, September 29, 6:30–9 p.m.
Whitney Museum of American Art
Floor Three, Susan and John Hess Family Theater
99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014
Please join the Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation at the Whitney Museum of American Art on Thursday, September 29, 6:30–9 p.m. for a symposium and reception celebrating Richard Pousette-Dart. The speakers, who will address Pousette-Dart’s art, teaching and life, areJennifer Powell, Senior Curator Programme and Collection, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; Barbara Rose, art historian and critic; Patti Trimble, poet and former studio assistant; Adam Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Mus
2016. Pace Gallery. Paperback
58 pages: 32 color illustrations; 10 ½ x 9 ½ inches