Susan Teller

We feature American paintings and works on paper from the 1920s to the 1950s with special interest in the Urban/Industrial Scene, Modernism, Atelier 17, Surrealism, and African American work.

At the Whitney: Signs & Symbols

  • William Baziotes, Figure on Green, 1940

    William Baziotes, Figure on Green, 1940

    The Estate of the Artist

  • Morris Graves, Abandoned Nest

    Morris Graves, Abandoned Nest

  • Anne Ryan, Collage, 1951

    Anne Ryan, Collage, 1951

    The Estate of the Artist


Through October 28, 2012 works by WILL BARNET, WILLIAM BAZIOTES, DOROTHY DEHNER, MORRIS GRAVES, and ANNE RYAN, are featured Signs & Symbols, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, NYC. 

This show explores the development of American abstraction in the postwar period, from the mid-1940s to the end of the 50s, in paintings, drawings, sculpture, prints, and photographs, by more than forty artists.

These works are calligraphic, with traces of the figure; together they form a search for a distinctly American aesthetic.  In the New York Times Ken Johnson wrote that the artists worked in “Archaic myth, oracular symbolism and private language.” He goes on to mention William Baziotes’ “luminous shapes [that] suggest marine life” and Morris Graves’ link to magic realism. 

The recent past had rendered realism too banal, but by using symbols artists could still create works to which viewers could relate.

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