NEW YORK, NY.- Miles McEnery Gallery
opened an exhibition of late paintings by Esteban Vicente. The artists seventh solo exhibition at
the gallery opened on 28 July at 520 West 21st
Street and remains on view through 26 August 2022. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring an essay by Tom McGlynn.
Esteban Vicente belonged to a generation of artists who were true believers in the salutary effects of abstract painting. As a first-generation Abstract Expressionist, he shared with colleagues such as Mark Rothko and Philip Guston a sense that the lyrical in abstract art has the potential to immediately address the heart, soul, and mind of the viewer. Its a working idea that the candor of subjective sincerity might find a way to speak to the grandeur of objective truth. Each artist of that generation found their way toward such an ambitious goal through intense introspection and formal experimentation in the studio, which consequently revealed the exact nature of the artists individual temperament. Some cleaved broodily while others cleaved lyrically, McGlynn conveys.
The works in this survey, all produced within the last decade of Vicentes life, offer an encapsulated view of formal tropes that defined his broad career. Being later works, they retain an ultimate, yet not exactly final, authority, since the artist characteristically suggests with each of his canvases a jumping-off point for the next. Theres a youthful, restless quality evident in the studious inventions of these late works. Perhaps the greatest lesson Vicente has left for us is the idée fixe of constant painterly evolution.
ESTEBAN VICENTE was born in Turégano, Spain in 1903. His father served in the Civil Guard, a police force in the Castile region and was an amateur painter who took the young Vicente with him on visits to the Prado Museum. In 1918,Vicente entered military school, but left after three months.At fifteen years old,Vicente began at the School of Fine Arts of the Real Academia de San Fernando in Madrid. As a young man living in Madrid, Barcelona, and Paris, he developed friendships with artists and writers. In 1928, he had his first exhibition with Juan Bonafé at the Ateneo de Madrid.
Vicente left Europe for New York City in 1936. The United States became the artists permanent home. His contemporaries and associates included Willem de Kooning (their 10th Street studios were on a shared floor), Elaine de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Barnett Newman, and Ad Reinhardt.
Vicente spent a good portion of his career teaching. He was among the faculty at Black Mountain College, Black Mountain, NC; the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, New York, NY; and the University of California, Berkeley, CA, among other institutions.