August 17-September 25, 2007
Richard Pousette-Dart (1916–1992) was a founding member of the New York School. Active in New York from the early 1940s, Pousette-Dart made essential contributions to the Abstract Expressionist movement. Between 1941 and 1942 he was the first Abstract Expressionist to paint large-scale canvases, which anticipated Jackson Pollock's breakthrough to mural-scale work in 1943. During this period Pousette-Dart's images typically presented abstract symbols in thickly layered, roughly applied paint in dark tones. These were among the first pictorial statements of what came to be known as "action painting."
Pousette-Dart drew inspiration from Native American, African, and Oceanic art, as well as the European and American avant-garde and the writings of Freud and Jung. The intellectual and philosophical background for his work included Oriental philosophy and American Transcendentalism. Pousette-Dart's lifelong belief was that the abstract symbols of painting could reveal universal truths by suggesting the mysterious realm of the spirit.
Curated by Philip Rylands, Director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, with Luca Massimo Barbero, Associate Curator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the estate of the artist, the artist's widow Evelyn Pousette-Dart, and with the support of the American Contemporary Art Gallery, Munich. The exhibition includes about forty paintings representing the artist's entire career. It was first presented at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice earlier this year.
Following the New York presentation, the exhibition travels to Galleria Gottardo, Lugano, Switzerland, from October 10 to December 22.