Proposing an alternative reading to midcentury international art, Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962 (working title) features works by visual artists who relocated to this renowned cultural capital after World War II. More than 400 took advantage of the newly created G.I. Bill, and others, including a number of women, such as Joan Mitchell, Shirley Jaffe, and Sheila Hicks followed. Some, like Mark Tobey, rejected the intense nationalism of the postwar American scene. A number are well known, including Sam Francis, Leon Golub, Al Held, Carmen Herrera, Paul Jenkins, Ellsworth Kelly, and Peter Saul, while others—like Robert Breer, Ralph Coburn, and Claire Falkenstein—deserve more attention. Artists of color, such as Ed Clark, Harold Cousins, Beauford Delaney, and Shinkichi Tajiri, fled racism, gravitating to Paris, with its reputation as a haven of self-expression. Comprising some 130 artworks by approximately 70 artists, as well as archival materials from this period, Americans in Paris is the first major exhibition to showcase the varied postwar expatriate communities in Paris. Curated by Debra Bricker Balken, with Lynn Gumpert, the exhibition will be accompanied by a substantial and amply illustrated publication that also addresses the French salon system, the strong jazz and literary expat groups, and how French and American films portrayed this vital and lively scene.
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.