Jim Dine, ‘La Grande Occassione Della Pittura Americana Milano (Hand Signed by Jim Dine)’, 1963, Ephemera or Merchandise, Offset Lithograph invitation, Alpha 137 Gallery
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La Grande Occassione Della Pittura Americana Milano (Hand Signed by Jim Dine), 1963

Offset Lithograph invitation
12 1/4 × 16 3/4 in
31.1 × 42.5 cm
.
$3,500 - 5,500
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About the work
Provenance
Alpha 137 Gallery

Nobody you know has this; in fact nobody else in the entire world has it! We acquired this historic …

Medium
Condition
Very good vintage condition; there are natural folds as issued. COA issued by Alpha 137 Gallery
Signature
Hand-signed by artist, Hand signed by Jim Dine on the recto-signed in person for the present owner, so provenance is direct.
Certificate of authenticity
Included
Frame
Not included
Jim Dine
American, b. 1935
Follow

Although often associated with both Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism, Jim Dine did not identify with a specific movement, producing a vast oeuvre of paintings, drawings, works on paper, sculpture, poetry, and performances. Emerging as a pioneer (together with Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Whitman) of New York’s Happenings of the 1960s, Dine would carry the spontaneous energy of this movement throughout his style, which emphasized the exploration of everyday life. Personally significant objects were Dine’s primary motifs, as in his iconic series of hearts and robes. He championed a return to figuration after a period of more concept-dominated works, and is considered an important figure in Neo-Dada and a forerunner of Neo-Expressionism. “The figure is still the only thing I have faith in in terms of how much emotion it’s charged with and how much subject matter is there,” he once said.

Jackson Pollock
American, 1912–1956
Follow

Major Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock, dubbed "Jack the Dripper" by Time magazine in 1956, is best known for his large "action" or drip paintings of 1947–52, formed by pouring and manipulating liquid paint atop canvases set on the floor. A wholly original, rule-shattering figure in American art, Pollock inspired Frank Stella, Richard Serra, and the Color Field painters. Pollock's early Surrealist works of personal symbols and abstract figures show the influence of José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Joan Miró, and Max Ernst, as well as his experiences with Jungian psychotherapy.

Arshile Gorky
Armenian-American, 1904–1948
Follow

Arshile Gorky was one of the last great Surrealist painters and a major influence on (and early figure in) Abstract Expressionism. After emigrating to the U.S. in 1920, he devoted himself to apprenticeships in the style of other artists before developing his own personal vision. Through his friendships with Surrealist André Breton and painter Roberto Matta, he was introduced to automatic drawing and biomorphic imagery. Gorky's innovative, explosive landscapes used an abstract vocabulary to convey memories of his Armenian childhood alongside direct observations of nature.

Roberto Matta
Chilean, 1911–2002
Follow

Like Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory (1931), Crucifiction (1938) by Chilean painter Roberto Matta is considered a Surrealist masterpiece. Indeed, Matta was heavily influenced by Dalí and Yves Tanguy, and became an important figure in the evolution of Surrealism, painting dreamlike, internal "inscapes" early on and, later, intense compositions reflecting the psychic damage caused by Europe’s ongoing wars. Shifting biomorphic shapes painted or drawn in vivid colors populated Matta’s often-apocalyptic scenes, conveying confusion and angst. Additionally, Matta's style and willing exploration of the Surrealist philosophy of "automatic composition" heavily influenced the development of the Abstract Expressionist school’s exploration of Action painting.

Sam Francis
American, 1923–1994
Follow

The painterly abstraction of Sam Francis is most often associated with the American Abstract Expressionist movement, but Francis also spent a great deal of time in Paris and became linked with the parallel movement of Art Informel in Europe. Francis’ most iconic works are characterized by saturated splashes of color that populate the edges of the canvas in order to emphasize the luminous white void in the center. This contrast between the vibrancy of Francis’ color palette and the austere white picture plane demonstrate the artist’s concern with relationships of space, color, and light, as opposed to the psychologically expressive tendencies of contemporaries such as Jackson Pollock.

Mark Rothko
American, 1903–1970
Follow

Mark Rothko’s search to express profound emotion through painting culminated in his now-signature compositions of richly colored squares filling large canvases, evoking what he referred to as “the sublime.” One of the pioneers of Color Field Painting, Rothko’s abstract arrangements of shapes, ranging from the slightly surreal biomorphic ones in his early works to the dark squares and rectangles in later years, are intended to evoke the metaphysical through viewers’ communion with the canvas in a controlled setting. “I'm not an abstractionist,” he once said. “I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.” His “Rothko Chapel Paintings” (1964-1967), 14 wall-sized monochromatic black paintings installed in a non-denominational church in Houston, Texas, represent the realization of Rothko’s desire that his work be viewed in close quarters.

Franz Kline
American, 1910–1962
Follow

Abstract Expressionist Franz Kline is known for his large black-and-white paintings that treat the medium of oil with a calligraphic freedom, influenced by his acquaintance with Willem de Kooning. Kline viewed his gestural painting not as an expression of his emotions but as a means to create a physical form and presence that could be felt by the viewer, and would inspire Minimalist sculptors like Donald Judd and Richard Serra with his reluctance to attribute hidden meanings to his work. Starting in the late 1950s, Kline executed a series of monumental works, known as the "wall paintings," and began to reintroduce color to his black-and-white palette.

Kenneth Noland
American, 1924–2010
Follow

An innovative colorist, Kenneth Noland began his career as an Abstract Expressionist, became one of the first practitioners of Color Field painting as part of the Washington Color School, and ultimately embraced a Minimalist approach that comprised vivid color and simple geometric shapes. His most iconic works are subtly direct compositions of chevrons, concentric circles, stripes, and diamonds, such as Pent (1966). Noland also pioneered the use of shaped canvases, painting on increasingly asymmetrical canvases that rendered the edge of equal compositional importance to the center.

Robert Rauschenberg
American, 1925–2008
Follow

Robert Rauschenberg’s enthusiasm for popular culture and, with his contemporary Jasper Johns, his rejection of the angst and seriousness of the Abstract Expressionists led him to search for a new way of painting. A prolific innovator of techniques and mediums, he used unconventional art materials ranging from dirt and house paint to umbrellas and car tires. In the early 1950s, Rauschenberg was already gaining a reputation as the art world’s enfant terrible with works such as Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953), for which he requested a drawing (as well as permission) from Willem de Kooning, and proceeded to rub away the image until only ghostly marks remained on the paper. By 1954, Rauschenberg completed his first three-dimensional collage paintings—he called them Combines—in which he incorporated discarded materials and mundane objects to explore the intersection of art and life. “I think a picture is more like the real world when it’s made out of the real world,” he said. In 1964 he became the first American to win the International Grand Prize in Painting at the Venice Biennale. The 1/4 Mile or Two Furlong Piece (1981–98), a cumulative artwork, embodies his spirit of eclecticism, comprising a retrospective overview of his many discrete periods, including painting, fabric collage, sculptural components made from cardboard and scrap metal, as well as a variety of image transfer and printing methods.

Jasper Johns
American, b. 1930
Follow

Jasper Johns's ongoing stylistic and technical experimentation place him at the forefront of American art. His richly textured paintings of maps, flags, numbers, and targets laid the groundwork for Pop art, Minimalism, and Conceptual art. In New York in the 1950s, Johns was part of a community of artists, including Robert Rauschenberg, seeking an alternative to the emotional nature of Abstract Expressionism. Influenced by Marcel Duchamp, Johns's early work paired the concerns of craft with familiar concrete imagery. His interest in process also led to innovations in lithography, screen-printing, etching and woodblock, using such materials as pencil, pen, brush, crayon, wax, and plaster to constantly challenge the technical possibilities of printmaking.

Joan Mitchell
American, 1925–1992
Follow

In 1950s New York, Joan Mitchell was a lively, argumentative member of the famed Cedar Bar crowd, alongside Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, and other notable first- and second-generation Abstract Expressionist painters. Based on landscape imagery and flowers, her large-scale paintings investigate the potential of big, aggressive brushstrokes and vivid color to convey emotion. "I try to eliminate clichés, extraneous material," she once said. "I try to make it exact. My painting is not an allegory or a story. It is more like a poem." Mitchell, who moved to France in 1959, has had numerous museum exhibitions, and examples of her work hang in nearly all the important public collections of modern art.

Helen Frankenthaler
American, 1928–2011
Follow

A second-generation Abstract Expressionist painter, Helen Frankenthaler became active in the New York School of the 1950s, initially influenced by artists like Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, and Jackson Pollock. She gained fame with her invention of the color-stain technique—applying thin washes of paint to unprimed canvas—in her iconic Mountains and Sea (1952), a motivating work for Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and other Color Field painters who emerged in the ’60s. Her own canvases, however, often evoked elements of landscape or figuration in the shaping of their forms. “My pictures are full of climates, abstract climates,” she once said. “They're not nature per se, but a feeling.” From 1958 to 1971, she was married to fellow Abstract Expressionist Robert Motherwell, who, like Frankenthaler, worked in symbolic painted gestures—only her paintings were almost always visibly improvised from start to finish. As poet and critic Frank O’Hara wrote in 1960, “she is willing to risk everything on inspiration.” In addition to painting, Frankenthaler also made ceramics, welded steel sculptures, and set designs, but the related medium that most attracted her, and in which her achievement came the closest painting, was printmaking—especially the creation of woodcuts, hers counting among the greatest of contemporary works in that medium.

Adolph Gottlieb
American, 1903–1974
Follow

Recognized as one of the originators of Abstract Expressionism, painter Adolph Gottlieb drew on mythological and tribal symbols as well as Surrealism to create works that emphatically broke with American Regionalism. Gottlieb’s pictographs possessed primitivist qualities, featuring shapes evocative of cave drawings. His later paintings, such as the well-known Brink from 1959, often employed circular motifs and thick, gestural brushstrokes, which were an integral part of the development of Color Field painting.

Paul Jenkins
American, 1923–2012
Follow

An important figure in the New York School, Paul Jenkins contributed to the development of abstract expressionism in New York and abroad with his intuitive, chance-based approach to painting. Working first with oil paints and later acrylic, Jenkins poured paint directly on the canvas, allowing it to drip, bleed, and pool, as well as manipulating it with an ivory knife. Jenkins’s diaphanous streaks and gentle, fluid fields of color positioned him as an important figure in abstract expressionism, and he often exhibited in the same venues as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning—artists who shared his instinctual working method. “I try to paint like a crapshooter throwing dice, utilizing past experience and my knowledge of the odds. It’s a big gamble, and that’s why I love it,” the artist once said.

Hassel Smith
American, 1915–2007
Follow

Hassel Smith provided a West Coast counterpoint to Abstract Expressionists such as Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, and was an influential teacher at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. He first came to abstraction in the 1940s after seeing an exhibition of Clyfford Still’s “Color Fields”, and he worked with bold swathes of rich color for the rest of his career, only occasionally returning to the figure. He is best known for his experiments with calligraphic imagery and fragmented geometry, as well as for the way he incorporated his love of jazz onto the canvas. “To put it very briefly,” Smith once said, “as far as I'm concerned I'm bringing the painting into much closer relation with music, the dance with verse, and the various discursive art forms in which rhythmic sequences play a role."

Jack Youngerman
American, b. 1926
Follow

Jack Youngerman’s work combines hard-edged geometry with organic forms and fluid contours. Influenced by Henri Matisse while living in Paris in the 1940s and ’50s, Youngerman creates vibrant painted compositions, occasionally within shaped canvases. His works conjure various associations: Matisse’s paper cutouts, Rorschach patterns, and kaleidoscopic mandalas. After Youngerman returned to New York in the mid-1950s, his work was grouped with and exhibited alongside his contemporaries Ellsworth Kelly and Frank Stella.

Cy Twombly
American, 1928–2011
Follow

Cy Twombly emerged in the 1950s, developing a characteristic painting style of expressive drips and active, scribbled, and scratched lines. “My line is childlike but not childish,” he once said. “It is very difficult to fake…to get that quality you need to project yourself into the child's line. It has to be felt.” Early influences included Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Motherwell, but more formative would be his relationships with Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, along with whom he would distance himself from the dominance of Abstract Expressionism. Twombly's work also appeared in one of the first exhibitions to explore ideas of Minimalism—“Black, White, and Grey” (1964)—along with Agnes Martin, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. In addition to his paintings, which were sometimes dismissed as "high-art graffiti," he produced sculptures assembled from found objects, clay, and plaster, painted white to suggest an affinity to Classicism.

Philip Guston
American, 1913–1980
Follow

Best known for his cartoonish paintings and drawings from the late 1960s onwards, Philip Guston audaciously returned to figuration at the height of Abstract Expressionism. Guston created a lively cast of characters rendered in bold brushwork—sinister, hooded figures reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan; cyclopean heads; and disembodied limbs. Seemingly mundane objects, such as bare light bulbs, shoes, cigarettes, and bricks were also imbued with personal meaning. A muralist with the government-funded Federal Art Project in the 1930s, an Abstract Expressionist in the 1950s and ‘60s, and a figurative painter in the last decades of his life, Guston is regarded as a leading figure in the creation of a new style of painting known as Neo-Expressionism.

Robert Motherwell
American, 1915–1991
Follow

Alongside Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell is considered one of the great American Abstract Expressionist painters. His esteemed intellect not only undergirded his gorgeous, expressive paintings—frequently featuring bold black shapes against fields of color—but also made Motherwell one of the leading writers, theorists, and advocates of the New York School. He forged close friendships with the European Surrealists and other intellectuals over his interests in poetry and philosophy, and as such served as a vital link between the pre-war avant-garde in Europe and its post-war counterpart in New York, establishing automatism and psychoanalysis as central concerns of American abstraction. "It's not that the creative act and the critical act are simultaneous," Motherwell said. "It's more like you blurt something out and then analyze it.

Louise Nevelson
American, 1899–1988
Follow

Louise Nevelson’s room-sized wood sculptures have been hailed as emblematic of many different movements, including Abstract Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism. Monochromatic and usually black, with isolated departures into white and gold, Nevelson assembled the sculptures using discarded pieces of wood that she received or found on the street. As part of Nevelson’s massive, commanding works of art, the scrap wood takes on majestic proportions, reflecting the artist’s personal story of dislocation and self-invention. In Mrs. N’s Palace (1964-1977), a 20-foot-wide tomb-like sculpture with a hollow interior, mirrored floor, and artifacts from her life, Nevelson provides a glimpse into her own physical and personal history.

Larry Rivers
American, 1923–2002
Follow

Painter, sculptor, poet, and musician Larry Rivers was an established figure in the New York School, recognized for creating large paintings merging abstract and narrative elements, as in Washington Crossing the Delaware (1953), where the general leads his men through a space defined by murky oil washes and broad gestural brushwork. Rivers studied in the late 1940s under Hans Hofmann, the artist often regarded as the grandfather of Abstract Expressionism, but he never abandoned figuration, his compositions often including human subjects and text, as in Vocabulary Lesson (Polish) (1964). Rivers’ work is often compared to that of postmodern artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, and is considered an important precursor to Pop art. As Andy Warhol once said, “Larry’s painting style was unique—it wasn’t Abstract Expressionism and it wasn’t Pop, it fell into the period in between. But his personality was very Pop.”

Mark Tobey
American, 1890–1976
Follow

Abstract painter Mark Tobey strived to represent the mystical through art. Inspired by international travels, Eastern religion, Arabic calligraphy, classical music, and the emerging modes of Abstract Expressionism, Tobey created a unique visual language of all-over painting and gestural abstraction, which he called “white writing.” “What I had learned in the Orient had affected more than I realized,” he said. “In a short time white writing emerged. I had a totally new conception of painting.” When working in this technique, Tobey would place white calligraphic marks and symbols atop an abstract field composed of thousands of densely interwoven brushstrokes.

David Budd
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Hans Hofmann
German-American, 1880–1966
Follow

Hans Hofmann began painting in Paris, where he worked alongside such titans of European Modernism as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, and Henri Matisse. His best-known early paintings combine Cubist structure with Fauvist color, as in Untitled (1943). Although he would eventually be considered one of the preeminent Abstract Expressionists, having relocated to New York in 1932, Hofmann’s primary interest was in pictorial phenomena: the illusion of three-dimensional space, composition, and the optical effects of color. “It is not the form that dictates color, but the color that brings out the form,” he once said. In the 1950s, Hofmann made his most famous series of paintings, in which he explored the relativity of color, developing his “push-pull” theory and technique by which warm and cool colors interact to produce effects of movement, space, and depth. Perhaps even more influential as a teacher than as an artist, Hofmann counted Helen Frankenthaler, Alfred Jensen, Joan Mitchell, Wolf Kahn, Lee Krasner, Louise Nevelson, and Frank Stella among his many students.

Various Artists
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Jim Dine, ‘La Grande Occassione Della Pittura Americana Milano (Hand Signed by Jim Dine)’, 1963, Ephemera or Merchandise, Offset Lithograph invitation, Alpha 137 Gallery
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About the work
Provenance
Alpha 137 Gallery

Nobody you know has this; in fact nobody else in the entire world has it! We acquired this historic 1963 invitation and then Jim Dine graciously signed it for us in black marker - as he was/is the only artist of the entire group who was still alive. We know of no other one in the entire world with any authentic hand …

Medium
Condition
Very good vintage condition; there are natural folds as issued. COA issued by Alpha 137 Gallery
Signature
Hand-signed by artist, Hand signed by Jim Dine on the recto-signed in person for the present owner, so provenance is direct.
Certificate of authenticity
Included
Frame
Not included
Jim Dine
American, b. 1935
Follow

Although often associated with both Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism, Jim Dine did not identify with a specific movement, producing a vast oeuvre of paintings, drawings, works on paper, sculpture, poetry, and performances. Emerging as a pioneer (together with Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Whitman) of New York’s Happenings of the 1960s, Dine would carry the spontaneous energy of this movement throughout his style, which emphasized the exploration of everyday life. Personally significant objects were Dine’s primary motifs, as in his iconic series of hearts and robes. He championed a return to figuration after a period of more concept-dominated works, and is considered an important figure in Neo-Dada and a forerunner of Neo-Expressionism. “The figure is still the only thing I have faith in in terms of how much emotion it’s charged with and how much subject matter is there,” he once said.

Jackson Pollock
American, 1912–1956
Follow

Major Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock, dubbed "Jack the Dripper" by Time magazine in 1956, is best known for his large "action" or drip paintings of 1947–52, formed by pouring and manipulating liquid paint atop canvases set on the floor. A wholly original, rule-shattering figure in American art, Pollock inspired Frank Stella, Richard Serra, and the Color Field painters. Pollock's early Surrealist works of personal symbols and abstract figures show the influence of José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Joan Miró, and Max Ernst, as well as his experiences with Jungian psychotherapy.

Arshile Gorky
Armenian-American, 1904–1948
Follow

Arshile Gorky was one of the last great Surrealist painters and a major influence on (and early figure in) Abstract Expressionism. After emigrating to the U.S. in 1920, he devoted himself to apprenticeships in the style of other artists before developing his own personal vision. Through his friendships with Surrealist André Breton and painter Roberto Matta, he was introduced to automatic drawing and biomorphic imagery. Gorky's innovative, explosive landscapes used an abstract vocabulary to convey memories of his Armenian childhood alongside direct observations of nature.

Roberto Matta
Chilean, 1911–2002
Follow

Like Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory (1931), Crucifiction (1938) by Chilean painter Roberto Matta is considered a Surrealist masterpiece. Indeed, Matta was heavily influenced by Dalí and Yves Tanguy, and became an important figure in the evolution of Surrealism, painting dreamlike, internal "inscapes" early on and, later, intense compositions reflecting the psychic damage caused by Europe’s ongoing wars. Shifting biomorphic shapes painted or drawn in vivid colors populated Matta’s often-apocalyptic scenes, conveying confusion and angst. Additionally, Matta's style and willing exploration of the Surrealist philosophy of "automatic composition" heavily influenced the development of the Abstract Expressionist school’s exploration of Action painting.

Sam Francis
American, 1923–1994
Follow

The painterly abstraction of Sam Francis is most often associated with the American Abstract Expressionist movement, but Francis also spent a great deal of time in Paris and became linked with the parallel movement of Art Informel in Europe. Francis’ most iconic works are characterized by saturated splashes of color that populate the edges of the canvas in order to emphasize the luminous white void in the center. This contrast between the vibrancy of Francis’ color palette and the austere white picture plane demonstrate the artist’s concern with relationships of space, color, and light, as opposed to the psychologically expressive tendencies of contemporaries such as Jackson Pollock.

Mark Rothko
American, 1903–1970
Follow

Mark Rothko’s search to express profound emotion through painting culminated in his now-signature compositions of richly colored squares filling large canvases, evoking what he referred to as “the sublime.” One of the pioneers of Color Field Painting, Rothko’s abstract arrangements of shapes, ranging from the slightly surreal biomorphic ones in his early works to the dark squares and rectangles in later years, are intended to evoke the metaphysical through viewers’ communion with the canvas in a controlled setting. “I'm not an abstractionist,” he once said. “I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.” His “Rothko Chapel Paintings” (1964-1967), 14 wall-sized monochromatic black paintings installed in a non-denominational church in Houston, Texas, represent the realization of Rothko’s desire that his work be viewed in close quarters.

Franz Kline
American, 1910–1962
Follow

Abstract Expressionist Franz Kline is known for his large black-and-white paintings that treat the medium of oil with a calligraphic freedom, influenced by his acquaintance with Willem de Kooning. Kline viewed his gestural painting not as an expression of his emotions but as a means to create a physical form and presence that could be felt by the viewer, and would inspire Minimalist sculptors like Donald Judd and Richard Serra with his reluctance to attribute hidden meanings to his work. Starting in the late 1950s, Kline executed a series of monumental works, known as the "wall paintings," and began to reintroduce color to his black-and-white palette.

Kenneth Noland
American, 1924–2010
Follow

An innovative colorist, Kenneth Noland began his career as an Abstract Expressionist, became one of the first practitioners of Color Field painting as part of the Washington Color School, and ultimately embraced a Minimalist approach that comprised vivid color and simple geometric shapes. His most iconic works are subtly direct compositions of chevrons, concentric circles, stripes, and diamonds, such as Pent (1966). Noland also pioneered the use of shaped canvases, painting on increasingly asymmetrical canvases that rendered the edge of equal compositional importance to the center.

Robert Rauschenberg
American, 1925–2008
Follow

Robert Rauschenberg’s enthusiasm for popular culture and, with his contemporary Jasper Johns, his rejection of the angst and seriousness of the Abstract Expressionists led him to search for a new way of painting. A prolific innovator of techniques and mediums, he used unconventional art materials ranging from dirt and house paint to umbrellas and car tires. In the early 1950s, Rauschenberg was already gaining a reputation as the art world’s enfant terrible with works such as Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953), for which he requested a drawing (as well as permission) from Willem de Kooning, and proceeded to rub away the image until only ghostly marks remained on the paper. By 1954, Rauschenberg completed his first three-dimensional collage paintings—he called them Combines—in which he incorporated discarded materials and mundane objects to explore the intersection of art and life. “I think a picture is more like the real world when it’s made out of the real world,” he said. In 1964 he became the first American to win the International Grand Prize in Painting at the Venice Biennale. The 1/4 Mile or Two Furlong Piece (1981–98), a cumulative artwork, embodies his spirit of eclecticism, comprising a retrospective overview of his many discrete periods, including painting, fabric collage, sculptural components made from cardboard and scrap metal, as well as a variety of image transfer and printing methods.

Jasper Johns
American, b. 1930
Follow

Jasper Johns's ongoing stylistic and technical experimentation place him at the forefront of American art. His richly textured paintings of maps, flags, numbers, and targets laid the groundwork for Pop art, Minimalism, and Conceptual art. In New York in the 1950s, Johns was part of a community of artists, including Robert Rauschenberg, seeking an alternative to the emotional nature of Abstract Expressionism. Influenced by Marcel Duchamp, Johns's early work paired the concerns of craft with familiar concrete imagery. His interest in process also led to innovations in lithography, screen-printing, etching and woodblock, using such materials as pencil, pen, brush, crayon, wax, and plaster to constantly challenge the technical possibilities of printmaking.

Joan Mitchell
American, 1925–1992
Follow

In 1950s New York, Joan Mitchell was a lively, argumentative member of the famed Cedar Bar crowd, alongside Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, and other notable first- and second-generation Abstract Expressionist painters. Based on landscape imagery and flowers, her large-scale paintings investigate the potential of big, aggressive brushstrokes and vivid color to convey emotion. "I try to eliminate clichés, extraneous material," she once said. "I try to make it exact. My painting is not an allegory or a story. It is more like a poem." Mitchell, who moved to France in 1959, has had numerous museum exhibitions, and examples of her work hang in nearly all the important public collections of modern art.

Helen Frankenthaler
American, 1928–2011
Follow

A second-generation Abstract Expressionist painter, Helen Frankenthaler became active in the New York School of the 1950s, initially influenced by artists like Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, and Jackson Pollock. She gained fame with her invention of the color-stain technique—applying thin washes of paint to unprimed canvas—in her iconic Mountains and Sea (1952), a motivating work for Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and other Color Field painters who emerged in the ’60s. Her own canvases, however, often evoked elements of landscape or figuration in the shaping of their forms. “My pictures are full of climates, abstract climates,” she once said. “They're not nature per se, but a feeling.” From 1958 to 1971, she was married to fellow Abstract Expressionist Robert Motherwell, who, like Frankenthaler, worked in symbolic painted gestures—only her paintings were almost always visibly improvised from start to finish. As poet and critic Frank O’Hara wrote in 1960, “she is willing to risk everything on inspiration.” In addition to painting, Frankenthaler also made ceramics, welded steel sculptures, and set designs, but the related medium that most attracted her, and in which her achievement came the closest painting, was printmaking—especially the creation of woodcuts, hers counting among the greatest of contemporary works in that medium.

Adolph Gottlieb
American, 1903–1974
Follow

Recognized as one of the originators of Abstract Expressionism, painter Adolph Gottlieb drew on mythological and tribal symbols as well as Surrealism to create works that emphatically broke with American Regionalism. Gottlieb’s pictographs possessed primitivist qualities, featuring shapes evocative of cave drawings. His later paintings, such as the well-known Brink from 1959, often employed circular motifs and thick, gestural brushstrokes, which were an integral part of the development of Color Field painting.

Paul Jenkins
American, 1923–2012
Follow

An important figure in the New York School, Paul Jenkins contributed to the development of abstract expressionism in New York and abroad with his intuitive, chance-based approach to painting. Working first with oil paints and later acrylic, Jenkins poured paint directly on the canvas, allowing it to drip, bleed, and pool, as well as manipulating it with an ivory knife. Jenkins’s diaphanous streaks and gentle, fluid fields of color positioned him as an important figure in abstract expressionism, and he often exhibited in the same venues as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning—artists who shared his instinctual working method. “I try to paint like a crapshooter throwing dice, utilizing past experience and my knowledge of the odds. It’s a big gamble, and that’s why I love it,” the artist once said.

Hassel Smith
American, 1915–2007
Follow

Hassel Smith provided a West Coast counterpoint to Abstract Expressionists such as Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, and was an influential teacher at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. He first came to abstraction in the 1940s after seeing an exhibition of Clyfford Still’s “Color Fields”, and he worked with bold swathes of rich color for the rest of his career, only occasionally returning to the figure. He is best known for his experiments with calligraphic imagery and fragmented geometry, as well as for the way he incorporated his love of jazz onto the canvas. “To put it very briefly,” Smith once said, “as far as I'm concerned I'm bringing the painting into much closer relation with music, the dance with verse, and the various discursive art forms in which rhythmic sequences play a role."

Jack Youngerman
American, b. 1926
Follow

Jack Youngerman’s work combines hard-edged geometry with organic forms and fluid contours. Influenced by Henri Matisse while living in Paris in the 1940s and ’50s, Youngerman creates vibrant painted compositions, occasionally within shaped canvases. His works conjure various associations: Matisse’s paper cutouts, Rorschach patterns, and kaleidoscopic mandalas. After Youngerman returned to New York in the mid-1950s, his work was grouped with and exhibited alongside his contemporaries Ellsworth Kelly and Frank Stella.

Cy Twombly
American, 1928–2011
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Cy Twombly emerged in the 1950s, developing a characteristic painting style of expressive drips and active, scribbled, and scratched lines. “My line is childlike but not childish,” he once said. “It is very difficult to fake…to get that quality you need to project yourself into the child's line. It has to be felt.” Early influences included Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Motherwell, but more formative would be his relationships with Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, along with whom he would distance himself from the dominance of Abstract Expressionism. Twombly's work also appeared in one of the first exhibitions to explore ideas of Minimalism—“Black, White, and Grey” (1964)—along with Agnes Martin, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. In addition to his paintings, which were sometimes dismissed as "high-art graffiti," he produced sculptures assembled from found objects, clay, and plaster, painted white to suggest an affinity to Classicism.

Philip Guston
American, 1913–1980
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Best known for his cartoonish paintings and drawings from the late 1960s onwards, Philip Guston audaciously returned to figuration at the height of Abstract Expressionism. Guston created a lively cast of characters rendered in bold brushwork—sinister, hooded figures reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan; cyclopean heads; and disembodied limbs. Seemingly mundane objects, such as bare light bulbs, shoes, cigarettes, and bricks were also imbued with personal meaning. A muralist with the government-funded Federal Art Project in the 1930s, an Abstract Expressionist in the 1950s and ‘60s, and a figurative painter in the last decades of his life, Guston is regarded as a leading figure in the creation of a new style of painting known as Neo-Expressionism.

Robert Motherwell
American, 1915–1991
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Alongside Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell is considered one of the great American Abstract Expressionist painters. His esteemed intellect not only undergirded his gorgeous, expressive paintings—frequently featuring bold black shapes against fields of color—but also made Motherwell one of the leading writers, theorists, and advocates of the New York School. He forged close friendships with the European Surrealists and other intellectuals over his interests in poetry and philosophy, and as such served as a vital link between the pre-war avant-garde in Europe and its post-war counterpart in New York, establishing automatism and psychoanalysis as central concerns of American abstraction. "It's not that the creative act and the critical act are simultaneous," Motherwell said. "It's more like you blurt something out and then analyze it.

Louise Nevelson
American, 1899–1988
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Louise Nevelson’s room-sized wood sculptures have been hailed as emblematic of many different movements, including Abstract Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism. Monochromatic and usually black, with isolated departures into white and gold, Nevelson assembled the sculptures using discarded pieces of wood that she received or found on the street. As part of Nevelson’s massive, commanding works of art, the scrap wood takes on majestic proportions, reflecting the artist’s personal story of dislocation and self-invention. In Mrs. N’s Palace (1964-1977), a 20-foot-wide tomb-like sculpture with a hollow interior, mirrored floor, and artifacts from her life, Nevelson provides a glimpse into her own physical and personal history.

Larry Rivers
American, 1923–2002
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Painter, sculptor, poet, and musician Larry Rivers was an established figure in the New York School, recognized for creating large paintings merging abstract and narrative elements, as in Washington Crossing the Delaware (1953), where the general leads his men through a space defined by murky oil washes and broad gestural brushwork. Rivers studied in the late 1940s under Hans Hofmann, the artist often regarded as the grandfather of Abstract Expressionism, but he never abandoned figuration, his compositions often including human subjects and text, as in Vocabulary Lesson (Polish) (1964). Rivers’ work is often compared to that of postmodern artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, and is considered an important precursor to Pop art. As Andy Warhol once said, “Larry’s painting style was unique—it wasn’t Abstract Expressionism and it wasn’t Pop, it fell into the period in between. But his personality was very Pop.”

Mark Tobey
American, 1890–1976
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Abstract painter Mark Tobey strived to represent the mystical through art. Inspired by international travels, Eastern religion, Arabic calligraphy, classical music, and the emerging modes of Abstract Expressionism, Tobey created a unique visual language of all-over painting and gestural abstraction, which he called “white writing.” “What I had learned in the Orient had affected more than I realized,” he said. “In a short time white writing emerged. I had a totally new conception of painting.” When working in this technique, Tobey would place white calligraphic marks and symbols atop an abstract field composed of thousands of densely interwoven brushstrokes.

David Budd
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Hans Hofmann
German-American, 1880–1966
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Hans Hofmann began painting in Paris, where he worked alongside such titans of European Modernism as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, and Henri Matisse. His best-known early paintings combine Cubist structure with Fauvist color, as in Untitled (1943). Although he would eventually be considered one of the preeminent Abstract Expressionists, having relocated to New York in 1932, Hofmann’s primary interest was in pictorial phenomena: the illusion of three-dimensional space, composition, and the optical effects of color. “It is not the form that dictates color, but the color that brings out the form,” he once said. In the 1950s, Hofmann made his most famous series of paintings, in which he explored the relativity of color, developing his “push-pull” theory and technique by which warm and cool colors interact to produce effects of movement, space, and depth. Perhaps even more influential as a teacher than as an artist, Hofmann counted Helen Frankenthaler, Alfred Jensen, Joan Mitchell, Wolf Kahn, Lee Krasner, Louise Nevelson, and Frank Stella among his many students.

Various Artists
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La Grande Occassione Della Pittura Americana Milano (Hand Signed by Jim Dine), 1963

Offset Lithograph invitation
12 1/4 × 16 3/4 in
31.1 × 42.5 cm
.
$3,500 - 5,500
Ships from New York, NY, US
Shipping: $80 domestic, $195 rest of world
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