Dan Flavin, Sam Francis, and Joan Mitchell in the Spotlight at Galerie Thomas
Munich’s Galerie Thomas has a rich history within international art fairs; proprietor Raimund Thomas co-founded Art Cologne in 1967, the gallery was one of the original exhibitors at Art Basel in 1970, and since then they have developed a reputation for innovative fair booth designs. This March, as Galerie Thomas returns to The Armory Show, they offer a promising selection of painting and sculpture among Pier 92 Modern’s exhibitors. We take a look at a few booth highlights that are not to be missed.
Dan Flavin, untitled (to Lucie Rie, master potter) 1j, 1990
Minimalist master Dan Flavin created his iconic light sculptures from industrial light tubing and dedicated each one to individuals he admired. This piece is part of Flavin’s 1990 series that was dedicated to artist Lucie Rie, an accomplished Austrian-born ceramist who spent most of her life in England. Flavin met Rie in London and owned several of her pots. This prime example from the series is the second in an edition of five from 1990, of which only three were fabricated. Though each piece alludes to a specific individual, Flavin emphatically denied any symbolism behind his light sculptures and purported that they were simply light responding to a specific space, once stating, “it is what it is and it ain't nothing else.” Flavin’s use of color is said to be based on his own intuition, through which he manages to merge conceptions of light and color.Sam Francis, Untitled (SFP 64-3), 1964/1965
Likely as a result of his American roots and frequent stays in Paris, Sam Francis is often considered to fall stylistically somewhere between Abstract Expressionism and Art Informel. Influenced by the “suggestive color” technique of the Impressionists, Francis once famously said “I make the late Monet pure.” He developed a unique style, employing discrete yet interlocking shapes of primary colors over a luminous white background. These elements of his style are evident in this work, a 10-foot-tall canvas in which Francis controls his tendency towards expressive gesture, carefully activating the canvas by focusing on the edges.Joan Mitchell, Sunflower, 1990
While her formative years took place amidst New York’s Abstract Expressionist scene, surrounded by the likes of Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, Joan Mitchell spent her mid and late career in France. First living in Paris before settling, like so many Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, in the countryside of Vétheuil, Mitchell was taken by the French landscape and its flora. In an interview in 1986 she said: “Sunflowers are something I feel very intensely. They look so wonderful when young and they are so moving when they are dying. I don’t like fields of sunflowers. I like them alone or, of course, painted by Van Gogh.” Painted two years before her death, this large-scale diptych work is part of her series of sunflower paintings, reflecting her bold expressionist impulse, and her vibrant, abstract take on traditional subject matter.
On view at Galerie Thomas, The Armory Show, Pier 92, Booth 208, Mar. 6th–9th, 2014.