New York

Grace Hartigan

William Zierler Gallery

Which brings us to Grace Hartigan. If raw imagery equals form for the naive artist, then that is where Hartigan has gone. Because she recognized the sexism implicit to New York painting at the time, Grace Hartigan rose to prominence 20 years ago under the name George. In so doing, she drew attention to the male focus implicit to Abstract Expressionism. Hartigan’s work then derived from that part of Matisse in which thin color struggled with the analytical standards set by Matisse’s awareness of Cubism. Hartigan’s text of the ’50s was Matisse’s Bathers by a River of 1916. By degrees, vestigial figuration was driven out from her battered and flayed surfaces, and that expulsion led to her finest painting, although a painting visibly in the debt of Hans Hofmann. Hofmann too had traveled this terrain—Matisse plus Cubism yields (unexpectedly) color abstraction. It was he who established this

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