Grace Hartigan: Late Works

October 15, 2019 - January 31, 2020
San Francisco, CA

Artwork

About

As West Coast representatives of the estate of Grace Hartigan, Heather James Fine Art presents in our San Francisco gallery a selection of later paintings by this pioneering Abstract Expressionist.

These paintings demonstrate the full flowering of Hartigan’s incorporation of figures and recognizable cultural images into her paintings. Although she started as a strict adherent to Abstract Expressionism, as early as 1952, Hartigan absorbed figuration into painting. By including familiar images, Hartigan is often considered a precursor to Pop Art. However, by replacing the sterile remove and mass manufacture of Pop Art with emotion and painterly technique, Hartigan deepens our understanding of the intersection of Pop, abstraction, and painting.

In this exhibition, the viewer encounters cultural touchstones from medieval and renaissance characters to My Fair Lady. Rather than an abrupt rift from art history like other abstract expressionists, Hartigan’s paintings embrace it. This understanding stems from her year of studying and copying Old Master paintings in 1952 which resulted in the temporary rift from friends including Joan Mitchell and the withdrawal of support from art critic, Clement Greenberg. Nevertheless, Grace Hartigan’s paintings were included in the landmark midcentury exhibition, 12 Americans at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1956), and in The New American Painting, which was co-organized by MoMA and the United States Information Agency and traveled to eight European cities from 1958 to 1959. As one of few women painters to receive that level of exposure, Hartigan garnered significant press coverage and was featured in Life magazine in 1957 and Newsweek in 1959. Hartigan’s work was also included in the seminal Ninth Street Show, New York (1951).

“I didn’t choose painting … It chose me. I didn’t have any talent. I just had genius.” – Grace Hartigan

Artists

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    Grace Hartigan: Late Works – Heather James Fine Art, San Francisco
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    Grace Hartigan: Late Works – Heather James Fine Art, San Francisco
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    Grace Hartigan: Late Works – Heather James Fine Art, San Francisco
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    Grace Hartigan: Late Works – Heather James Fine Art, San Francisco
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    Grace Hartigan: Late Works – Heather James Fine Art, San Francisco
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    Grace Hartigan: Late Works – Heather James Fine Art, San Francisco