New York

Betty Parsons

Spanierman Modern

The biographies of New York School artists are often sprinkled liberally with the name of Betty Parsons, who is acclaimed for staging groundbreaking shows of their work at her Fifty-seventh Street gallery. She is less well known as an artist in her own right, or rather, while the fact that she was an artist is quickly learned by those interested, the chance to see her work in depth remains rare. This show was accordingly welcome.

Parsons trained in painting and sculpture in the Paris of the 1920s, and the show included both media, though the paintings were out-numbered by reliefs—wall-mounted and freestanding constructions of found wood fragments, fitted together jigsawlike and painted with a candidly unvirtuosic hand. To the extent that Parsons’s art has a public image, these are the works that define it. They are a long way from the sculpture of her teacher, Antoine Bourdelle, who had

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