Contrary to entrenched presumptions that Manhattan became the primary locus of art after World War II, Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962 delves into the various circles of artists who made France their home during an era of intense geopolitical realignment. Bolstered by the GI Bill, many artists, such as Norman Bluhm, Ed Clark, Sam Francis, Al Held, Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland, and Jack Youngerman, along with lesser-known figures such as Robert Breer, Harold Cousins, and Shinkichi Tajiri, opted for a foreign rather than a domestic learning experience. Seasoned artists, such as Beauford Delaney, Claire Falkenstein, Carmen Herrera, Joan Mitchell, Kimber Smith, and Mark Tobey, like the GIs, were drawn to the storied modernist traditions that still flowed from this fabled City of Light. Comprising some 135 artworks by approximately 70 artists, as well as archival materials from this period, Americans in Paris investigates the academies where many of these artists studied, the spaces where their work was exhibited, the aesthetic discourses that animated their conversations, their interactions with European artists, and the overarching issue of what it meant to be an American abroad. Curated by Debra Bricker Balken with Lynn Gumpert, the exhibition will be accompanied by a 296-page illustrated publication.
Header Image: Al Held, Untitled, 1952–1953 (detail). Oil on canvas, 43 1/2 x 34 1/4 in. Courtesy the Al Held Foundation, Inc.