DescriptionABRAHAM WALKOWITZ (American, 1880-1965)
New York Abstraction, 1911
Ink on paper
13-1/4 x 7-1/4 inches (33.7 x 18.4 cm)
Signed and dated lower right: A. Walkowitz 1911
PROPERTY FROM THE KING COLLECTION, TEXAS
Coe-Kerr Gallery, New York;
Terry DeLapp Gallery, Los Angeles;
Acquired by the present owner from the above, November 1990.
El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, "Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection," September 8, 2013-January 5, 2014, no. 23.
P.S. Cable, Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection, exhibition catalogue, El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, 2013, pp. 73-75, no. 23, illustrated.
Abraham Walkowitz is perhaps best known for his watercolor studies of the dancer Isadora Duncan. However, Walkowitz importantly laid claim to being the first to exhibit truly Modernist paintings in the United States. After 1909, he became a regular at Alfred Stieglitz's 291 gallery, and while there became a participant in the debate over modern art in America. Walkowitz was an outspoken proponent of continuous experimentation in the arts, which was his definition of Modernism. As an artist, Walkowitz embodied the changing role of the modernist painter in the United States, as Modernism moved from an avant-garde protest against established modes to become an accepted style and tradition.
In pursuit of his desire for an artistic career, Walkowitz affiliated himself with Arthur Dove, John Marin and Marsden Hartley in New York. It was Hartley who first introduced Walkowitz to Alfred Stieglitz in 1911. Walkowitz went on to become a near permanent fixture at 291 until its closing in 1917. Between 1912 and 1917, Walkowitz exhibited four times at 291, and had twelve works accepted to the Armory Show in February of 1913.
According to Dr. Patrick Shaw Cable, "Walkowitz's most important legacy is arguably his masterful and wide-ranging draftsmanship...The bold ink New York Abstraction illustrates ...a major theme and mode of expression for Walkowitz-the vital dynamism and power of the modern metropolis, translated in an anthropomorphic way through dense arrangements of simplified forms and rushing lines....The simultaneously organic and geometric composition reminds us of the following words used by historian Gail Levin to summarize Walkowitz's modernist contribution, 'Walkowitz was among the first American artists...to develop a personal, lyrical abstract style based on [Kandinsky's] principles. Walkowitz suggests continuity between the first American avant-garde and the Abstract Expressionists'" (Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection, exhibition catalogue, El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, 2013, pp. 73-74).
Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000.
This painting is framed using Optium (museum acrylic glazing), which provides clear legibility for examination with both white light and black light. In order to maintain the integrity and airtight sealing of the housing, the painting was not viewed out of the frame for the condition report. Should you wish to have a more extensive report, we recommend firsthand inspection by a professional conservator. For assistance, please contact the department.
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