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University of Richmond Museums opens 'Minna Citron: The Uncharted Course From Realism to Abstraction'
Minna Citron (American, 1896-1991), "Devil’s Dance (Provincetown)", 1948, gouache on paper, 17 ½ x 23 ½ inches, Collection of Christiane Citron © Estate of Minna Citron, photograph courtesy of Juniata College Museum of Art.

RICHMOND, VA.- On view October 7 through December 7, 2014, in the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art and Print Study Center, is the exhibition Minna Citron: The Uncharted Course From Realism to Abstraction. American artist and printmaker Minna Citron (1896-1991) was at the forefront of major artistic movements of the 20th-century, experimenting with cutting-edge styles and techniques with an often feminist perspective. This retrospective exhibition includes approximately 50 paintings, prints, drawings, and mixed media constructions created during the course of Citron’s 60-year career.

Born in 1896 in Newark, New Jersey, and raised in Brooklyn, Citron attended the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences and the New York School of Applied Design for Women. Citron’s early work in the 1930s, while studying at the Art Students League, was often satirical critiques of contemporary society in New York’s social scene. During that period, she was part of the group known as the Fourteenth Street School. As a lifelong, self-proclaimed feminist, she challenged the roles of women in the 1930s, a period in which representations of women in art had become more conservative than the images of sexually liberated modern women of the previous decade. She began associating with urban realist painters and used her paintings and prints to document the occurrence of mill strikes, crime, and child workers during the Depression.

In the 1940s, Citron moved away from realism and became part of the first generation of New York Abstract Expressionists. Her longstanding interest in psychoanalysis and Freudian theory burgeoned during this time, as she worked in Stanley William Hayter’s graphic workshop “Atelier 17” alongside well-known artists including Marc Chagall, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko. As her career progressed, Citron continued to draw on psychoanalysis, exploring the use of accident, chance, and the unconscious as sources of inspiration in her abstract art. In the 1960s and 1970s she turned to collages and mixed-media constructions, and then back to painting during her last decade.

The exhibition was organized by Juniata College Museum of Art, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and curated by Jennifer L. Streb, Associate Professor of Art History and Curator of the Museum, and Christiane H. Citron, granddaughter and scholar of Minna Citron.

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