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).
London—Pace Gallery is honoured to present the first exhibition of works by Richard Pousette-Dart in London. Organized with the Pousette-Dart Estate, Richard Pousette-Dart: Works 1940-1992 will be on view from 18 January 2019 to 20 February 2019. Pace’s exhibition in London follows Richard Pousette-Dart: Beginnings, at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge which is on view until 6 January 2019. Pace’s exhibition will reveal a selection of never seen works on paper from the 1940s.
Richard Pousette-Dart was the youngest member of the first generation of Abstract Expressionists; the artist, along with several of his important contemporaries, took part in the formative meeting of Studio 35 and is included in the iconic Irascibles photograph. In 1951, Pousette-Dart moved with his young family to Rockland County where a small artistic community had formed. This meant that although he was an influential member of the New York school his remove allowed him to continue to develop and maintain a unique methodology and style. The artist’s relative longevity provided him the time to expand upon his earlier work, developing a mature body of work rooted in his mysticism, symbolism, and spiritual beliefs. As Philip Rylands, Director Emeritus of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection states, in the catalogue which will accompany the exhibition, “He engaged with one of the highest aspirations of the twentieth-century avant-garde: to paint a dimension inaccessible to photography. Others painted the fourth dimension, states of mind, consciousness per se, swift motion, or the passing of time, but Pousette-Dart painted the world of the spirit.”
The exhibition will span Pousette-Dart’s career, featuring a selection of fourteen paintings dating from 1943 to 1992, as well as works on paper from the 1940s exhibited for the first time. The works on view illuminate the artist’s development from his early work through his later presences paintings.
Pousette-Dart’s paintings display his painterly gifts in a wide range of techniques using brush, palette knife and paint squeezed directly from the tube. The uniqueness of each work illustrates the painter’s claim that, “every painting is a new experience and departure into the unknown.”
From the 1960s on, Pousette-Dart 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 and more focused on colour and light. Later works such as Presence, Blue Amaranth and Imploding Black appear at first glance to be monochromatic visual fields, however, wide spectrums of colour emerge subtly through the points of white.
The constellation of gestures in Pousette-Dart’s paintings produced what he viewed as the works’ potential for transcendence. He wrote, “Art reveals the significant life, beauty of all forms—it uplifts, transforms it into the exalted realm of reality wherein its pure contemplative poetic being takes place—wherein art’s transcendental language of form, spirit, harmony means one universal eternal presence.”
Please join us on Friday, January 18 at 5:30 PM for a panel discussion on the upcoming exhibition, Richard Pousette-Dart: Works 1940-1992, at 6 Burlington Gardens in London. We will be joined by Edith Devaney, Head of Summer Exhibitions and Contemporary Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts; Charles Duncan, Executive Director of the Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation; Dr. Jennifer Powell, Head of Collection and Programme at Kettle's Yard; and Philip Rylands, Director, Emeritus of the Peggy Guggen
2019. Pace Gallery. Paperback
70 pages: 41 color illustrations; 10 ½ inches x 9 ½ inches
Richard Pousette-Dart's talk
18 January 2019