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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art illustrates the connection between artists in the museum's collection
Joan Miró, Le lézard aux plumes d’or, 1971, artist’s book © 2013 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

CHARLOTTE, NC.- The story of the Bechtler art collection is one of relationships. There were the relationships members of the Bechtler family forged with the modern artists they collected. And then there were the relationships some of the artists in the collection had with each other.

The Bechtler collection includes works by several artists who knew each other well, who often exhibited together, and who learned from each other in the context of shared stylistic movements, personal experiences and intellectual inquiry.

Artistic Relationships: Partners, Mentors, Lovers is an exhibition of 85 works by artists such as Joan Miró, Bridget Riley, Fernand Léger, Le Corbusier, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson who were not only connected by the creative spirit but also by personal circumstances. On view February 16 through July 29, 2013 are paintings, prints, textiles and sculpture that reflect the 20th century’s experimentation with abstract art and the human figure. The works reveal a variety of approach, intent and result.

Artistic Relationships: Partners, Mentors, Lovers marks the first time that works by celebrated British artist Henry Moore are on view in the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. The works include six prints from the museum’s permanent collection and one small-scale sculpture on loan from founding museum patron Andreas Bechtler. Also on view for the first time in the museum are works from the permanent collection by French avant-garde painter Jean Dubuffet.

The relationships presented in the exhibition cross nationality and generation and are concentrated primarily on European figures but also include important American artists Alexander Calder and Sam Francis. Bringing whimsy and dynamism to the exhibition are works by Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely, popular artists from the Bechtler collection who were married to one another. Their 30-year relationship was ignited by passion but sustained by their artistic collaborations.

The focus of the show is to reinforce the importance of artists’ relationships with each other as they mature as creative figures. The relationships presented in the exhibition take a variety of forms from love affairs and marriages to lifelong friendships and teacher/student pairings.

“This is not an exhibition about reactionary relationships but rather relationships of sympathetic accord and mutual experimentation,” said Bechtler Museum of Modern Art President and CEO John Boyer.

These parings prove that the creation of visual art isn’t always a solitary endeavor. Oftentimes a spark ignites from relationships between artists whether the relationships are defined by intensity and brevity or comfort and longevity.

“We tried to balance in the exhibition a real sense of an awareness of biography to the degree that it informs our understanding of the comparisons that are being made,” Boyer said. “It re-enforces the notion that 20th-century modernism was very much the result of this complex web of relationships. In many instances the impact that these artists had on one another was greatly enhanced because of the nature of their personal connections.”

Artist parings in Artistic Relationships: Partners, Mentors, Lovers:

Jean Dubuffet and Karel Appel
Joan Miró and Alexander Calder
Fernand Léger and Le Corbusier
Alfred Manessier and Gustave Singier
Jean-Paul Riopelle and Sam Francis

Roger Bissiere and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva
Bernard Meadows and Henry Moore
Victor Pasmore and Bridget Riley

Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth
Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle
Hans Hartung and Anna-Eva Bergman

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