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PRINT December 1972

American Geometric Abstraction in the Late Thirties

A specifically American problem, they are unbeatable in thinking things out in series and in numbers. Starting with figures to create a comfortable unity . . . New World!

—Fernand Léger, “New York Seen,” 1931.

“AMERICAN GEOMETRIC ABSTRACTION OF the 1930s,” an exhibition at the Zabriskie Gallery, New York, June 1–July 14, 1972, is being circulated by the American Federation of the Arts. “Geometric Abstraction: 1926–1942,” an exhibition organized by Robert M. Murdock at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, October 7–November 19, 1972 included a broad representation of American as well as European work. This article is a revised and expanded version of the author’s essay in the Dallas catalogue, “The Paris-New York Axis: Geometric Abstract Painting in the Thirties.”

The thirties was a decade of Realist art, of scene painting—regionalism and social Realism. The tradition of abstract art in America

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