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LewAllen Galleries announced the passing of lyrical abstractionist Emily Mason
Reminder, 2017, oil on canvas, 40 x 32 in

SANTA FE, NM.- It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of lyrical abstractionist Emily Mason. She transitioned on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at her home in Vermont surrounded by family and loved ones. Mason was 87. LewAllen Galleries plans a memorial exhibition of her work in the coming year. A memorial service celebrating Emily Mason’s life will be held this later this spring in Vermont.

A beloved mother, wife, and friend, Emily Mason will be remembered by the art world as an icon of lyrical abstract painting following an extraordinary six-decade career. Throughout her life, Mason created art that inspires both the heart and imagination and which uses color as a vibrant means to express the poetic resonances of beauty in the world. Emily Mason was one of the first artists invited to join LewAllen Galleries’ roster by the then-new owners, Ken Marvel and Robert Gardner, in 2003 and her work has continually been exhibited at the gallery since that time.

Born on January 12, 1932 and raised in New York City, Emily Mason graduated from New York City’s High School of Music and Art and then studied at Bennington College before attending and graduating from the Cooper Union. She spent 1956-58 in Italy on a Fulbright grant for painting and for part of that time studied at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Venice under Futurist painter and printmaker Bruno Saetti. During Mason’s two-year stay in Italy, she married the painter Wolf Kahn in 1957, whom she had met earlier in New York. Emily Mason’s mother was Alice Trumbull Mason, a founding member of the legendary American Abstract Artists group in New York and her daughter, Cecily Kahn, is also a noted abstract painter.

In the 1940s and 1950s, Mason’s mother brought her to exhibitions in New York City including those of the American Abstract Artists group. “She was a good role model,” Mason said of her mother. “I saw her as a strong woman who was a painter in very different times to be a woman painter.”

Mason has had numerous exhibitions of her work since her first one-person show at the Area Gallery in New York City in 1960. In 1979, she was awarded the Ranger Fund Purchase Prize by the National Academy of Design. She taught painting at Hunter College in New York for more than 25 years, and her work is included in the collections of significant museums including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; the National Academy Museum, New York City, NY; the Bennington Museum, Bennington, VT; the Springfield Museum, Springfield, MA; and the New Britain Museum, New Britain, CT; among others.

Emily Mason and her art were the subjects of a 2018 documentary film entitled: Emily Mason: A Painting Experience, directed by Rafael Salazar Moreno, filmmaker from Spain based in Brooklyn, New York and produced by RAVA Films. The film is part biography, part art documentary—a fascinating and deeply intimate portrait of the life, work, and aesthetic philosophy of Emily Mason.

Recent exhibitions by Mason included new work at LewAllen Galleries in 2018, Emily Mason: Inner Resources, comprised of recent paintings from 2014-2018, and Color | Gesture: Early Works by Emily Mason earlier this year at the Bennington Museum in Vermont, presenting works on paper created from 1958-1968. Her work was recently highlighted in feature articles by art critic John Dorfman in Art & Antiques and Rosemary Carstens in Western Art & Architecture. John Dorfman wrote, “Emily Mason follows intuition and a rare color sense in creating her abstract paintings…. [Her] work is remarkably serene. This quality is not only apparent in the way vibrant swaths of oil paint harmonize with each other on the canvas; it also comes through in the way her career has quietly percolated through the decades.

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