Ernest Briggs, Untitled, 1-15-53, diptych, oil on canvas, 69 1/4″ x 53 1/4″ (photo courtesy Anita Shapolsky Gallery)

Abstract 50’s Masters (Where Were the Mistresses?)
Saturday, November 19–Saturday, February 25
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 19th, 4-6pm
Panel Discussion: Lives of the Artists Spouses, Children & Friends Saturday, December 10th, 3-5pm

Abstract art has roots in the late 19th century and reached ascendance in the late 40’s – 50’s. Philip Pavia (sculptor), one of the leaders of “the Club” and his publication It is was seminal in the championing of abstract art.

Our exhibition emphasizes the pluralistic nature of abstraction: gesture, geometric, and introspection. Abstract expressionism uses gesture and was an important development in abstract art (Action painting). Most of the artists began traditionally using grids and sketches, as they were taught. They went on to their individual development where the act and thought was important rather than the space that was there. Our artists are considered mainly 2nd generation abstract expressionists. They were lucky to have the guidance of the stars of the first generation. Some of our artists went to the Art Students League and others took classes with the master artists. Many of them belonged to “the Club” and led to the organizing of the Ninth Street show in 1951 which unified the downtown artists and connected them to the public. The annual exhibits continued uptown at the Stable Gallery from 1951-1957.

Featured artists include: Peter Agostini, Seymour Boardman, Ilya Bolotowsky, James Brooks, Lawrence Calcagno, Nassos Daphnis, Beauford Delaney, Friedel Dzubas, Jimmy Ernst, Joseph Fiore, John Hultberg, Ibram Lassaw, Michael Loew, Leonard Nelson, Joe Overstreet, Phillip Pavia, Misha Reznikoff, Richards Rubens, Thomas Sills & Wilfrid Zogbaum.

The show also includes Ernest Briggs, whose volcanic abstract paintings from the 1950’s place him firmly in the ranks of the New York avant-garde. He sought inspiration in nature. The changing qualities of the natural world are conveyed through his ragged and expressive brushwork. A second generation Abstract Expressionist, Briggs represents “action painting.” His paintings are alive; they offer viewers an experience that is both mysterious and known. He participated in several Whitney Museum Annuals and in 1956 was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition “12 Americans” curated by Dorothy Miller.

For more information, please visit or contact: |

152 E 65th St, New York, NY 10065
Tuesday–Friday 11am–6pm, Saturday by appointment
The gallery will be closed for the holidays: December 23–January 2

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