American Abstract Painting in the Armory Show

Montclair Art Museum
Feb 22, 2013 3:31PM

When the Armory Show traveled to the Art Institute of Chicago, Walter Pach went with it, and he was instructed by Arthur B.Davies to contact Manierre Dawson, a Chicago painter, civil engineer, and architectural draftsman whom Davies had met in New York in 1910. Davies had invited Dawson to submit works to the Armory Show, but the artist had none on hand that he wanted to send to New York. However, during a visit to Dawson’s home in Chicago, Pach selected one of his paintings, titled it "Wharf Under Mountain," and surreptitiously hung it in the Americansection of the exhibition. As Dawson noted, the painting “hung a little over a week until discovered by Mr. Harsche, the director of the Art Inst., who ordered it down.” This was the only totally abstract painting by an American artist in the Armory Show.

To learn more about this work, listen to this WNYC feature by Sarah Fishko. 

Image: Manierre Dawson (1887–1969) "Untitled (Wharf Under Mountain)," 1913, oil on canvas. Norton Museum of Art, Purchase, the R. H. Norton Trust, 69.5. On view in "The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show, 1913" through June 16 at the Montclair Art Museum.

Montclair Art Museum