Vincent Longo, ‘KLEE STUDY’, 1964, Alpha 137 Gallery
Vincent Longo, ‘KLEE STUDY’, 1964, Alpha 137 Gallery
Vincent Longo, ‘KLEE STUDY’, 1964, Alpha 137 Gallery

This is an exquisite and poignant, signed titled and dated monotype by the accomplished printmaker Vincent Longo, who taught printmaking for years at Bennington College in the 1960s and later Hunter College in New York City. This was acquired from the Estate of Gene Baro, the influental curator and art writer who featured Longo's work in print shows that he curated at the Brooklyn Museum as well as Bennington College. The present work is in excellent condition, though there is an ever so small red speck at the very bottom of the sheet, which would easily frame out or be removed by a restorer. (It is literally a dot, and no longer, on the paper, near the margin.)
More biographical background on the artist:
Vincent Longo studied art at Cooper Union where he learned about Cubism and oriental philosophy. At the Brooklyn Museum Art School, he took a class with Max Beckmann shortly before he died and later studied Louis Schanker, according to the curator David Acton a tremendously influential printmaker who was at the center of the New York "print revival" of the late 1940's. In 1954 he became a regular at Eighth-Street Club and the Cedar Tavern where Abstract Expressionists talked and drank. "We were all closely linked to de Kooning, Rothko, and Motherwell, as well as to Pollock", Longo told the art historian Judith Goldman. "Pollock was the force, in a way that other painters could not be." Like other first and second generation Abstract Expressionists, Longo was passionate about oriental calligraphy, Jung, Monet and jazz. Influenced as a young artist by early Kandinsky and by expressionist abstraction, he would be increasingly drawn to Mondrian, who he says,"had a more dominant influence on me than anyone else."

In 1957 Longo became a lynchpin in the soon to be legendary art department of Bennington College that attracted Clement Greenburg and Color Field Painters like Kenneth Noland and Jules Olitski. In his 10 years at this Vermont woman's college, Longo helped give printmaking an academic seriousness and became friends with Peter Stroud and Tony Smith. His paintings became less gestural and more spare and frontal. He began working with grids and with centralized images, some inspired by the mandala-circle within a square and a dot in the middle. In 1967 Smith was instrumental in Longo's return to New York City to teach full-time, again mostly printmaking, at another soon-to-be legendary art department, this one at the larger and grittier Hunter College, with which Longo would remain affiliated for 35 years. In the 70's he began exhibiting regularly, at the Susan Caldwell and Condesco Lawler Galleries in Soho and at the Andrew Crispo Gallery uptown. His grids became increasingly suggestive-of ground plans, for example, and aerial reconnaissance photographs, and forests, and the dazzling possibilities of the design imagination.

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Signature: Pencil signed and dated 1964 lower right; pencil titled "Klee Study" lower left

The Estate of curator Gene Baro