Perle Fine

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Perle Fine
Perle Fine.jpg
Born1905
Boston, Massachusetts
Died1988
NationalityAmerican
Known forPainting
MovementAbstract expressionism

Perle Fine (Poule Feine)[1](1905–1988) was an American Abstract expressionist painter.[2] Fine was most known by her combination of fluid and brushy rendering of the materials and her use of biomorphic forms encased and intertwined with irregular geometric shapes.[1]

Position as a female artist[edit]

"... [T]he very image of the Abstract Expressionist painter was a white, heterosexual male, and that this movement, which perceived itself as a glyph of individual freedom, constricted the entry of women, African Americans, and homosexuals, regardless of the nature and quality of their work."[1] While Women have had a history of being left out of the arts, it was Samuel Kootz's, a New York Gallery owner that helped determine what art was mainstream, pronouncement that there would be no women artists in his gallery.[1] To this which Fine promptly said, "I know I was as good as anybody else in there," [1] However, Perle Fine was not the only female artist that was affected by this statement, artists such as Fannie Hillsmith and Lee Krasner were also deeply affected.[3]

Despite Kootz's statement, Fine had been in many solo and group shows during the late 1940s. Because of her success with these exhibitions, there was every implication that Fine was on the verge of success in the art world.[1] "As the 1950s dawned ... there was little competition among artists either male or female, it was only when the door began to crack open that the gender of the artist began to play a more prominent role." [1] Deirdre Robson has said that "The arts were gradually thought of less in terms of being part of the 'female' realm and more as an interest suitable for a hardheaded and successful businessman."[1]

Fines’ issues as a painter was not seen as cultural criticism that kept her on the brinks of Abstract Expressionism when it should’ve have had a place in the conversation but, it was the physical paintings themselves. She said it was always the painting rather than her being a woman and because of that, it pushed her into the artist she became. She battled with the canvas and solved problems in every piece. “Art Historian, Ann Eden Gibson says that by the early 1950s, Fine was right in the middle of Abstract Expressionism”.[1]

With a career in abstract painting lasting over 50 years, Fine developed and adhered to high ideals and expectations of never adopting a method from another artist that could potentially compromise her work when her works of art developed into something that was not of the ordinary. She fought through barriers and limitation that any female artist would experience during the “macho milieu” of Abstract Expressionism. She kept the mindset that it was what was painted and not who painted it that mattered. With that being said, her pieces are just now being given the attention they deserved a long time ago such as an exhibition in 2016 in the Denver Art Museum, “Women of Abstract Expression” and Women of Abstract Expressionism from the 9th Street Show at the Katonah Museum of Art and Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection. At the time, Fine was seen to be close with another Artist by the name of Mark Rothko. Her work also was seen to be similar to his but, Fine found her work not seeking his “sublime transcendence”.[1]

In 1943 was able to receive a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation and was able to be in exhibitions at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of this Century Gallery and the Museum of Nonobjective Painting. This brought Fine a lot of attention from the press. Following these feats, in 1945 she was entered into the American Abstract Artists where she was able to really make a name for herself.[4]

Later on in her life, she enjoyed the solitude that came along when her husband was in the city for work. She developed a close knit community of artists such as Kooning Krasner and Pollock and Unlike many artist during The Depression, Fine was able to still work in her own studio.

Biography[edit]

One of six children, Fine was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1905. Her parents had just recently immigrated from Russia. She became interest in Art at a young age.” [4] Starting almost immediately in grammar school at the time of the First World War ... I did posters and started winning little prizes and getting encouragement that way So that by the time I graduated from high school I knew very well I wanted to be an artist."[1] Fine briefly went to School of Practical Art in Boston, where she learned to design newspaper advertisement. She took classes in illustration and graphic design at the School of Practical Art in Boston. During this, she paid her way through school buy working in the Bursar’s office on campus. Before going the New York City To briefly attend Grand Central School of Art.[1] It was at the Grand Central School of Art where Fine met Maurice Berezov whom she married in 1930.[1] While in New York, she also studied at the Art Students League with Kimon Nicolades.[5] In the late 1930s she began to study with Hans Hofmann in New York City as well as in Provincetown, MA. and always was able to get direction from Hoffman. [6]Fine joined the American Abstract Artists in the early 1940s where she found a lot of support for her artistic ideas.[1] "By the mid 1940s, Fine had work in the collections of Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Crowninshield ... her art was also owned by Alfred Barr, director of the Museum of Modern Art, and Emily Hall and Burton Tremaine, the modern art collectors from Connecticut.[1]"Perhaps one of the most and distinguishing moments in her career was a commission by Emily Tremaine to make two interpretations of [Piet] Mondrian's Victory Boogie Woogie, a painting left unfinished at his death in 1944." [6]

In 1945, Fine had her first solo exhibit at the Willard Gallery on East 57th Street.[1] Fine had previously run the East River Gallery that was also on East 57th Street from 1936 to 1938.[1] It was in 1940 that Fine opened her own gallery but later, in 1946, Fine accepted an offer to work for Karl Nienrendorf whose gallery was across the street from the Willard Gallery, it was at this gallery that Fine received a subsidy so she could paint full-time.[1]

During a show within the Nienrendorf Gallery Edward Alden Jewell, an art critic dismissed abstraction when it first came out in the 1930s calling it decorative and imitative of European avant-garde, however called Fine's pieces "aplomb" and "native resourcefulness".[1]

In 1947, Fine was featured in an issue of The New Iconograph which showcased nonobjective art and theory. It was written that even though she was a member of American Abstract Artists, her work was different in spirit than that of Ralston Crawford and Robert Motherwell.[1]

It was in 1950 she was nominated by Willem de Kooning and then admitted to the 8th Street "Artists' Club",[7] located at 39 East 8th Street.[2] "Beginning in the mid-1950s, Fine's expressionist style began to loosen. She produced thick, heavily painted abstractions using harsh, jagged strokes with a loaded brush. Her focus was the two-dimensional plane: surface, texture and medium. Fine's palette in these often large- scale pieces was one of much more somber tones." [6]

Perle Fine was chosen by her fellow artists to show in the Ninth Street Show held on May 21 – June 10, 1951.[8] The show was located at 60 East 9th Street on the first floor and the basement of a building which was about to be demolished. According to Bruce Altshuler:[9]

The artists celebrated not only the appearance of the dealers, collectors and museum people on the 9th Street, and the consequent exposure of their work, but they celebrated the creation and the strength of a living community of significant dimensions.

Perle Fine participated from 1951 to 1957 in the invitational New York Painting and Sculpture Annuals,[10][11][12][13][14] including the Ninth Street Show.,[15][16] She was among the 24 out of a total 256 New York School artists who was included in all the Annuals. These Annuals were important because the participants were chosen by the artists themselves.[17] Other women artists who took part in all the shows were Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, and Joan Mitchell.[1]

In the 1950s Fine moved to the Springs, section of East Hampton on the eastern end of Long Island where Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner. Willem de Kooning, Conrad Marca-Relli and other members of the New York School found permanent residence.

At the 1958 exhibition her paintings offered "abstract intimations of nature ... This perception was reinforced by Fine's inclusion in "Nature in Abstraction: The Relation of Abstract Painting and sculpture to nature and twentieth century American art.[1]

The 1960s marked her re-entry into a profoundly changed New York art scene, she encountered more galleries and new art styles. "Fine had 4 solo shows at the Graham Gallery (1961, 1963, 1964, 1967) with a major shift in her style, with a reintroduction of horizontals and verticals, announced Fine's intention to convey ... 'an emotion about color'."[1]

Fine began to teach in 1961, as a visiting critic and lecturer at Cornell Universitywhich was when Hofstra University approached her with an offer which is where she taught privately from 1962–73.[1]

Perle Fine stated the following:[18]

" I never thought of myself as a student or teacher, but as a painter. When I paint something I am very much aware of the future. If I feel something will not stand up 40 years from now, I am not interested in doing that kind of thing."

In 1965, she developed a severe case of mononucleosis it was then that she took up making wood collages, employing curvilinear forms.[1] Fine went on to win an award at the annual Guild Hall Artist Members' Exhibition in 1978.[1]

"Although the last few years of her life were lost to Alzheimer's disease, she dies fulfilled in her art."[1] Perle Fine died of pneumonia on May 31, 1988, at the age of 83 in East Hampton, New York.

For Fine "Abstract Expressionism had never been a form of open rebellion against earlier styles, but rather a beautiful, unexplored country."[1]

Visual Analysis[edit]

As she became a more well-known artist, Perle Fine embodied the characteristics of Abstract Expressionism. She allowed her knowledge of modern European masters to help inspire her style as she explored the depths of human emotion and energy. During the 1940s, Cézanne’s work was prevalent in Fine’s development as an artist. She took into consideration the way he developed an order from nature and took control of the canvas, therefore she was able to form images in their own space on the canvas.[4] Perle Fine described modern and abstract art to be rather complicated and an ability to execute when facing problems. To Fine, color was very important and it was a way to express emotion. Some of her works were more saturated to show emotion and contrasts with the use of muted color, this shows “different spatial and emotional qualities”. Peters explains some of visual analysis in her book “Cool Series. She explains a piece done by Fine, Untitled, that a yellow rectangle is pushing into the foreground while in another piece a deep dark brown/ green sits farther in the background. Her brushstrokes also tend to display a variety of emotions such as crisp and clean lines and some are soft and airy. She uses wet on wet paint to create a look of fluidity and draws the paint out to the outer edges. This gives a look of sunlight is shining upon grass with most of the content appearing on the outer edge to give it an environmental atmosphere. Some may say that Fine’s work was a precursor for artist like Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler.[19]

Because Fine was able to self-isolate in The Spring of East Hamptons, she was able to take inspiration from her surroundings such as the ocean and the nature that surrounded her. It is said that although “Fine was adamant that her works were solely based of the way her materials interacted, people felt that it was hard to not see the connections she made with her surrounding in The Springs. Fine once stated, “For me reality exists in the aura of the unknown. The spell-binding quality, the one that beckons and holds, the unpremeditated, the nameless, touched off perhaps by some transcendental experience but guided by a poetic and creative mind- these are the things hidden beneath the surface”. [19]

The Prescience Series – 1950s[edit]

During the 1950s, Fine was inspired by the ideas of Hans Hofmann and the harmony and tension of combining color and shape. Fine was able to evolve using color to express means of its own. Fine started playing with act of staining and contrasting levels of translucency along with the uses reduction and positive and negative space, some may say that her works were similar to Mark Rothko and this might have been because they were close friends at the time. This series of work by Fine was known for their breadth, openness and subtle layering of colors and the way the materials interacted.[20]

The Cool Series 1961-1980[edit]

Her Cool Series of 1961-1663 represented a break away from the Abstract Expressionist works of her earlier years. She Stated, that the paintings were a “growth” rather than a “departure”, developing from “a need within the painting to express more.”

The Cool Series was created while Fine was living in isolation in the Springs of East Hampton. It is said in “The Cool Series” that during this time, artists stepped away from the soul-baring of action painting to let their images speak for themselves. The name “Cool Series” came from her awareness that the word “cool” had come to mean a new type of art during the time. It was free from psychological self-examination that could involve just the viewer in a direct emotional and intellectual experience. It was simply about how the viewer interacted with the color and space. Through these aspects alone, this allowed viewers a “visceral, spiritual experience.” The Cool Series concentrated solely on the imagery to rectangles and squares placed in a juxtaposition using mostly monochromatic color pallets. “Out of revelation, which game about through endless probing, came revolution”. [4]

The Accordment Series 1969–1980[edit]

The Accordment Series was said to be a culmination of all the modes of paintings that came before from Fine. It was named Accordment which meant an agreement or acceptance and had a defined connection with Minimalism. Kathleen Housley states in Tranquil Power, “Close in age and in temperament, Fine and Agnes Martin shared many similarities, one being that their art was routinely described by critics as “atmospheric and classic” Both Martin and Fine were artist that appeared together in a group show at the Whitney Museum in 1962 in Geometric Abstraction in America. Perle’s style is set apart by her minimalist tendencies, using colorful line work, planes of color and her distinct sweeping brushstrokes that are seen in her work.

The Accordment Series was said to be a culmination of all the modes of paintings that came before from Fine. It was named Accordment which meant an agreement or acceptance and had a defined connection with Minimalism. Kathleen Housley states in Tranquil Power, “Close in age and in temperament, Fine and Agnes Martin shared many similarities, one being that their art was routinely described by critics as “atmospheric and classic” Both Martin and Fine were artist that appeared together in a group show at the Whitney Museum in 1962 in Geometric Abstraction in America. Perle’s style is set apart by her minimalist tendencies, using colorful line work, planes of color and her distinct sweeping brushstrokes that are seen in her work. While Fine was painting this collection, she was also teaching at Hofstra University from 1962–1973. She was then honored with an exhibition at Guild Hall Museum in East Hampton in 1978 and emphasized her current bodies of work in this collection. David Dietcher, a curator said “bands of color produce luminosity that seems to emanate from within the grid itself”.[21]

Selected Collections[edit]

  • Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts
  • Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock
  • Ball State Museum of Art, Muncie, IndianaBrandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Brooklyn Museum, New York
  • Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York
  • Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
  • Hofstra University Museum, Hempstead, New York
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana
  • Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Museum of Fine Art, St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, New York
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
  • New York University Art Collection
  • Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York
  • Principia College, Saint Louis, Missouri
  • Provincetown Art Association Museum, Massachusetts
  • Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Sheldon Art Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  • Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
  • Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts

Selected solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 1945: Marian Willard Gallery, NY;
  • 1946–47: Nierendorf Gallery, NYC;
  • 1947: M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, Ca;
  • 1949, 1951–53: Betty Parsons Gallery, NY;
  • 1955, 58: Tanager Gallery, NYC;
  • 1961, 63, 64, 67: Graham Gallery, NY;
  • 1972: Joan Washburn Gallery, NY;
  • 1978: "Major Works: 1954–1978: A Selection of Drawings, Paintings, and Collages," Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY.
  • 2015: "Perle Fine," Berry Campbell, New York
  • 2017: "Perle Fine: Prescience Series," Berry Campbell, New York
  • 2020: "Perle Fine: Accordment Series," Berry Campbell, New York

Selected group exhibitions[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab Housley, Kathleen L. (2003-01-01). "The Tranquil Power of Perle Fine's Art". Woman's Art Journal. 24 (1): 3–10. doi:10.2307/1358800. JSTOR 1358800.
  2. ^ a b Portrait of an Artist Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Published: April 24, 2009 by Benjamin Genocchio
  3. ^ Crichton-Miller, Emma (2016). "Collectors' Focus Women Abstract Expressionists". Apollo: The International Magazine for Collectors: 100–101.
  4. ^ a b c d Fine, Perle, 1905–1988. (2011). Perle Fine : the cool series. Spanierman Modern. ISBN 978-1-935617-13-6. OCLC 978093508.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ New York school : abstract expressionists : artists choice by artists : a complete documentation of the New York painting and sculpture annuals, 1951–1957, p.129. Worldcat.org. OCLC 50666793.
  6. ^ a b c Tennessee, AE Artworks – Nashville. "Biography - Perle Fine - Abstract Expressionist Art - PerleFine.Com". www.perlefine.com. Archived from the original on September 10, 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  7. ^ Artists' Club
  8. ^ "9th Street Show Poster". Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  9. ^ Bruce Altshuler, Avant-Garde In Exhibition New Art in the 20th century, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1994, Chapter 9, p.171
  10. ^ "Second Annual at the Stable Gallery, 1953". Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  11. ^ "Third Annual at the Stable Gallery, 1954". Archived from the original on February 9, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  12. ^ "Fourth Annual at the Stable Gallery, 1955". Archived from the original on February 9, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  13. ^ "Fifth Annual at the Stable Gallery, 1956". Archived from the original on February 9, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  14. ^ "Sixth Annual at the Stable Gallery, 1957". Archived from the original on February 9, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  15. ^ "9th Street Show Poster". Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  16. ^ New York school : abstract expressionists : artists choice by artists : a complete documentation of the New York painting and sculpture annuals, 1951–1957, p.16; p.36. Worldcat.org. OCLC 50666793.
  17. ^ New York school : abstract expressionists : artists choice by artists : a complete documentation of the New York painting and sculpture annuals, 1951–1957 p. 11–29. Worldcat.org. OCLC 50666793.
  18. ^ "Abstract expressionist art movement in America video documentation project, 1991–1992./Perle Fine". Siris-archives.si.edu. June 10, 1951. Archived from the original on February 26, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Louppe, Marguerite", Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Oxford University Press, 2011-10-31, doi:10.1093/benz/9780199773787.article.b00111955
  20. ^ "Fine, Perle", Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Oxford University Press, 2011-10-31, doi:10.1093/benz/9780199773787.article.b00064356
  21. ^ https://issuu.com/berrycampbellgallery/docs/perle_fine
  22. ^ Hitchcock, Henry-Russell. Painting toward architecture. [Midnight (1942), pp. 82–3]. Miller Company: Meriden, CT. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  23. ^ (August 29, 2016). 'The Painting toward architecture exhibition (1947–52) by the Miller Company Collection of Abstract Art: The artworks' Archived March 24, 2019, at the Wayback Machine. artdesigncafe. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  24. ^ "ArtFacts.net". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  25. ^ "Anita Shapolsky Gallery, 152 East 65th Street, NYC | Fine, Perle". anitashapolskygallery.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  26. ^ http://artdaily.com/news/117349/Abstract-Expressionist-Women-of-the-9th-St--show-comes-to-the-Katonah-Museum-of-Art#.XZ9ZKCVlAc0
  27. ^ NY Times, New York Galleries: What to See Right Now
  28. ^ Dazed Digital
  • Campbell, Barry (March 2017). "Perle Fine: The Prescience Series": 1–3. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

Books[edit]

External links[edit]