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Richard Pousette-Dart

The painter Richard Pousette-Dart (1916-92) once said, in all sincerity, “I am an artist of the concealed power of the spirit, not of the brute physical form.” Pousette-Dart was one of those urban American artists—plentiful among the generation maturing aesthetically at the beginning of what we once called the Atomic Age—who sought out the cosmological as a refuge from material and industrial might. He attended Bard College in 1936, but quickly decided to quit school and become an artist. Although he first apprenticed himself to the conservatively modern figurative sculptor Paul Manship, he was eventually considered one of the Abstract Expressionists. He appears—a handsome young man looking a little like Richard Widmark mitigated by Elisha Cook, Jr.—in Nina Leen’s famous 1951 photograph, “Irascibles,” the tag given the core group who protested the slighting of abstract art by the Metropolitan

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