Reception: February 1st, 6-8pm
Gandy Brodie and Bob Thompson both spent the summer of 1958 in
Provincetown, Massachusetts, amidst a community of other artists that included
Mimi Gross, Red Grooms, Jay Milder, Wolf Kahn, Emilio Cruz, Lester Johnson,
Anne Tabachnick, Dody Müller and Christopher Lane.
Art historian Judith Wilson has characterized that Provincetown summer as
exemplifying an “ecstasy of influence”: the influences of contemporary
figurative painters on Thompson’s work. She wrote about this community in the
1998 Whitney Museum exhibition catalogue for Thompson’s retrospective.
Despite the fact that they never met, Jan Müller who died in January of 1958
was unquestionably a significant influence on the developing Bob Thompson.
However, the influences of other members of this community on Thompson have
been less explored. Wilson touches on this as she quotes a mutual friend of
Brodie and Thompson, the painter Emilio Cruz. Cruz has stated that Thompson
painted “his first figurative paintings” in response to the influence of Gandy
In her Whitney essay, Wilson notes that “The gray-brown palette, division of the
canvas into large rectangles of contrasting light and dark tones, and the masklike
treatment of faces, as in Brodie’s “The Penetration of a Thought”, 1958 and
Thompson’s “Differences”, 1958, seems to bear this out.”
This exhibition includes both “The Penetration of a Thought”, 1958 by Brodie and
Thompson’s “Differences”, 1958, among 12 paintings all from the period
between 1958 and 1964?, exploring this influence and relationship between
these two important post-war figurative painters.
This exhibition is the second in an ongoing series of exhibitions entitled “Pairings”
that juxtapose the work of artists of related interest. It is co-produced by SHFAP
and Martha Henry, Inc., Fine Art.
about Gandy Brodie:
Born in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Brodie was essentially a self-taught
painter (though he was welcomed by Hans Hofmann to Friday night criticism
sessions at his school). Initially inspired to become an artist by seeing Van Gogh,
Picasso and Klee at MOMA, he rose to prominence in the mid-1950s when he
was included in a number of important group exhibitions at Kootz Gallery and
the Stable Gallery. Thomas Hess included Brodie’s work in his seminal 1956 article
on the second generation of the New York School. Brodie’s most important
critical supporter was Meyer Schapiro who praised him as “one of the best
painters of his generation.” Brodie started his own Gandy Brodie School of Art in
Vermont. He passed away prematurely in 1975. Brodie’s work is included in the
collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and
The Whitney Museum of American Art among others.
About Bob Thompson:
Bob Thompson was born in Louisville, KY in 1937. After studying at university
Thompson traveled east, arriving in Provincetown’s vibrant artists’ colony during
the pivotal summer of 1958. There he was introduced to artists who would
influence him to paint figuratively and inspire him toward his mature style.
Awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1962, Thompson traveled to Europe
where he lived and worked for many years until he died tragically young in 1966.
During his lifetime he had solo shows at Martha Jackson Gallery in New York and
Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago. In 1998, the Whitney Museum of American Art
mounted a major retrospective and published a book on the artist. Thompson’s
work is in the collections of many important museums including the Brooklyn
Museum of Art; Chicago Art Institute; Detroit Institute of Art; Solomon R.
Guggenheim Museum of Art; Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; The
Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of
American Art; The Studio Museum in Harlem; Minneapolis Institute of Art; and
National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
About Martha Henry, Inc. Fine Art:
Founded in 1987, Martha Henry Inc. Fine Art is an advisory firm that specializes in
the exhibition, sale and appraisal of American art with a special emphasis on
Provincetown Figurative Expressionism, African-American Art from the 19th
century to the present, and Outsider/Folk Art. Martha Henry has written catalogs
and organized numerous exhibitions in galleries, universities, museums and
public parks with artists including Jay Milder, Jan Müller, Bob Thompson, Robert
Murray, Mr. Imagination, and Swoon.
Shfap specializes in contemporary and modern American painting and
represents both contemporary painters and artist’s estates. Exhibitions take
place at our gallery located in New York’s Upper East Side as well as at other
venues. We participate in art fairs including The Pulse Fair 2011 and the NY Art
Book Fair and produce publications by and about artists. The gallery is run by
dealer/curator/artist Steven Harvey. Harvey has organized exhibitions at galleries
and museums of diverse artists including James Lee Byars, Louis Michel
Eilshemius, Louisa Matthíasdóttir, and the Guerilla Art Action Group.