'Rolph Scarlett & Walter Quirt: Missing Pages' Explores the Artists' Mid-Century Paintings

  • SEATTLE, Washington
  • /
  • October 08, 2018

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Rolph Scarlett (1889-1984) Endless Universe, ca.1935. Mixed Media on Board, 30" x 37"
Frederick Holmes and Company - Gallery of Mode...

In a first of its kind exhibition, two historically critical, if less popularly recognized, American painters of the 20th century – ROLPH SCARLETT and WALTER QUIRT - will be featured in an important gallery exhibit comprised of approximately twenty-five works on canvas and paper. 

ROLPH SCARLETT & WALTER QUIRT: MISSING PAGES, Paintings From 1938-1962, is on view from October 13 to December 1, 2018, at Frederick Holmes And Company – Gallery of Modern & Contemporary Art, in Seattle.

Scarlett and Quirt were influential painters who have often been labeled by a specific art-historic style or movement in mid-century New York: Scarlett as a non-objective painter and Quirt as a pioneer of Social Surrealism. But they retained a passionate freedom of artistic expression, prior to and following these periods, that transcended the labels and is often overlooked or ignored. This exhibition presents work eschewing each artist’s more recognizable style in favor of less known but highly significant paintings that vary from abstraction to figurative expressionism. 

In spite of the critical recognition and praise during their careers and their respective place in American art history, both artists legacies were diminished due to circumstances they could not affect or control. 

Walter Quirt (1902-1968) Untitled, ca.1948. Oil on Canvas, 16" x 36"
Frederick Holmes and Company - Gallery of Modern & Contemporary Art

Canadian-American painter, Rolph Scarletts(1889-1984) brush with critical and historic success began in 1939 when his work was discovered by Baroness Hilla Rebay, founding director of Solomon Guggenheim’s first museum, The Museum of Non-Objective Painting in New York. He became the third most highly collected artist of the Guggenheim collection after Vasily Kandinsky and Rudolf Bauer, and maintained a position as both artist and a lecturer in the museum. But upon Solomon Guggenheims death in 1949, the Guggenheim family banished Ms. Rebay from the museum, and most of the non-objective collection went into storage, including Scarlett’s. He recounted this period in a bittersweet memoir, The Baroness, The Mogul, And The Forgotten History Of The First Guggenheim Museum: As Told By One Who Was There. 

Walter Quirt (1902-1968) Use of White, Seated Figure, 1961. Oil on Canvas, 50" x 49"
Frederick Holmes and Company - Gallery of Mode...

American painter, Walter Quirt (1902-1968) rose to prominence in New York in 1936 with his first solo exhibition at Julien Levy Gallery, the leading gallery for European avant-garde. Quirt impressed Levy and the critics with his integration of European Surrealism and Social Realism. Quirt maintained an artistic integrity, more concerned with emerging theories of painting than commercial success, and worked in several modes of abstraction. His work was included in seven of the Whitney Museum’s Annuals, and given a traveling retrospective in 1960 by the American Federation of Arts. But upon his death in 1968, his grief-stricken widow, Eleanor – unable to part with any of her husbands work – placed everything in storage, where it remained out of the public’s eye until her passing several years ago.

This exhibition marks the first time both of these important Modernists – now experiencing a posthumous revival of their legacies – are being exhibited together. Both artists were significant contributors to the canon of American Modern, enjoying seminal moments in its history and broad critical acclaim. Today their paintings are found in prestigious museum collections, including collectively the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC; Whitney Museum  of American Art, New York; the deYoung Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and more.

Contact Info:

Frederick Holmes And Company – Gallery of Modern & Contemporary Art 
309 Occidental Avenue S. Seattle, WA. 98104
(206) 682-0166
E: info@frederickholmesandcompany.com
Please Contact Gallery Owner, Fred Holmes, For Further Details

Tags: american art

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