The Park Avenue Cubists

Menconi + Schoelkopf’s exhibition of The Park Avenue Cubists presents works by Albert E. Gallatin, George L. K. Morris, and Charles Green Shaw–artists on the vanguard of American modernism in the 1930s. After exhibiting with fellow abstractionist Suzy Frelinghuysen at Paul Reinhardt Galleries in 1937, this group of artists came to be known as the “Park Avenue Cubists” because of their privileged backgrounds and Upper East Side addresses. Despite the nickname, all were committed artists as well as passionate collectors who became leaders in the non-objective movement in America in the mid-1930s, a period of dueling artistic themes between the development of figuration and abstraction. The Park Avenue Cubists emerged out of the American Abstract Artists, a larger group dedicated to promoting abstraction of all kinds and included Morris and Shaw among its founding members. This stylistically diverse community of artists took on the establishment in the decade following the Depression and strongly opposed the prevailing taste for realism. Within this larger group of abstractionists, the Park Avenue Cubists did their part to advance innovations in non-objective painting. They considered themselves heirs to the European tradition of Cubism and its derivations while looking ahead to create an American aesthetic uniquely their own decades before abstract art would become synonymous with New York painting.


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