The exhibition, co-organized by The Phillips Collection and the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, Switzerland, explores the seminal role of Swiss-born artist Paul Klee (1879–1940) in the development of mid-20th century American art.
Ten Americans sheds new light on important figures in American Abstract Expressionist and Color Field painting who adapted aspects of Klee’s art and ideology into their own artistic development. The exhibition is the first to feature work by Klee in dialogue with William Baziotes, Gene Davis, Adolph Gottlieb, Norman Lewis, Robert Motherwell, Kenneth Noland, Jackson Pollock, Theodoros Stamos, Mark Tobey, and Bradley Walker Tomlin.
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalogue, Ten Americans, After Paul Klee, explores Paul Klee’s influence on a wide range of American artists. Critics have traditionally confined Paul Klee’s contribution to American art as one of "spirit," and limited to the works of the New York School and other Abstract Expressionist painters. In fact, Klee’s influence on American art is more expansive, as illustrated in this study of ten artists who, through their use of automatic drawing, color field painting, symbols, and pictographs, reveal how Klee’s theories and artistic methods contributed to the history of post-war American art.
The ten artists explored include familiar names, such as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Mark Tobey, Gene Davis, and Kenneth Noland, as well as lesser-known artists William Baziotes, Norman Lewis, Theodore Stamos, and Bradley Walker Tomlin. The richly-illustrated book features essays exploring Klee’s legacy among various schools of American art and a chronology illustrates where and how American artists learned about Klee. It also includes a profile of each artist and their connections to Klee, followed by exquisite reproductions of their works.
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