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The Mennello Museum of American Art presents the work of Grace Hartigan
Grace Hartigan, Reisterstown Mall, 1965, oil on canvas. Courtesy of the Perry Collection, Courtesy of Michael Klein Arts, LLC.


ORLANDO, FLA.- The Mennello Museum of American Art is presenting the work of Grace Hartigan in a solo exhibition, Grace Hartigan 1960-1965, The Perry Collection. The exhibition is on view from January 19 through March 18, 2018.

Grace Hartigan 1960-1965, The Perry Collection presents a rare selection of paintings and collages that represent Hartigan’s noted Abstract Expressionist style as it evolved in the early 1960s toward new levels of abstraction and representation. Long overlooked, Hartigan was a key innovator among the painters of the New York School.

Shannon Fitzgerald, Mennello Museum Executive Director, states “I am thrilled by the opportunity to share rare and pivotal work by Grace Hartigan with our community. As one of the most important mid-century women painters whose practice, especially in the 1950s and 60s America, was always part of art history but often undervalued for her role, contribution, and the impact she had in contemporary art as both an artist and teacher. It is special to share the Perry Collection that reflects a seminal moment in Hartigan’s exploration and innovation while also acknowledging the connoisseurship of a collector.

Hartigan's reputation as an important contemporary artist increased throughout the 1950s; she was the only woman represented in the much heralded MoMA’s 1956 show Twelve Americans that included Sam Francis, Philip Guston, Franz Kline, and Seymour Lipton; and her work was an integral part of MoMA’s New American Painting exhibition that toured eight countries in Europe in 1958 and 1959 and included Jackson Pollock, William de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell, Arshile Gorky, Clifford Still, and other leading Abstract Expressionist painters. She was the only woman artist in both exhibitions.

More recently, Hartigan has been included in survey exhibitions looking at Abstract Expressionism from the lens of the 21st Century including: Abstract Expressionist New York at MoMA, 2010 that celebrated the achievements of a generation that catapulted New York City to the center of the international art world nearly seventy years ago and the groundbreaking exhibition Women of Abstract Expressionism organized by Denver Art Museum, 2016 that celebrated the often unknown female artists of this mid-twentieth-century art movement.

Hartigan is likewise noted for her influence on three generations, during her more than 40 years teaching graduate students as director of Maryland Institute College of Art's (MICA) Hoffberger School of Painting, Baltimore.

The variety of paintings in this exhibition range from 1960 – 1965, and they are assembled by Hartigan’s Washington D.C. dealer, the late Beatrice Perry. They are characteristic of Hartigan’s style at the time, a style of vivid color and texture painted on a large scale.

Similar works of this period are found in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Albright Knox Art Gallery, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy. The selection also demonstrates the shift in mood and thought as Hartigan transitioned from her studio and work life in New York to Baltimore, Maryland where she lived, painted, and thought until her death in 2008.

I think the thing about Hartigan that I admired the most is her purposefulness in her work. No matter the economic realities or the ebb and flow of the art world she had a plan for her work and she stuck to it. Her journals are very useful when it comes to learning about her thoughts and ideas as well as the day to day struggles to make ends meet while trying to paint and build a career in New York in the 50s. —Michael Klein, Guest Curator, New York

Grace Hartigan 1960-1965, The Perry Collection is organized by The Mennello Museum of American Art and guest-curated by Michael Klein, independent curator and art historian based in New York.





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