'Constructing Biederman: Charles Biederman and the Pursuit of an American Abstraction' at Meredith Ward Fine Art

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • October 21, 2021

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Charles Biederman (1906-2004) #27, 1936. Oil on canvas. 51 x 38 1/4 inches.
Meredith Ward Fine Art
Charles Biederman (1906-2004), 10/1935, 1935, oil on canvas, 17 1/4 x 15 1/4 in.
Meredith Ward Fine Art

“…they will be surprised one day, when looking past their long gray whiskers, that abstract art still is here & moving . . . people [think] that the final complete elimination of subject matter is the last & the end; they cannot see that that step is another beginning.” - Charles Biederman, New York, March 1936

Meredith Ward Fine Art will present Constructing Biederman: Charles Biederman and the Pursuit of an American Abstraction. This exhibition, October 22 - December 10, 2021, will take an intimate look at the early paintings and drawings of Charles Biederman. His work will be shown alongside those of his peers who were grappling with similar ideas in the search for a new, American abstract art. The mid-1930s was a particularly prolific, and experimental, period of Biederman’s life. He had gained the approval of key critics and peers, and achieved success as an abstract painter both in New York and abroad. Yet, after Biederman returned from Paris in June of 1937, he stopped painting and worked in sculpture for the remainder of his career.

 “For me, there is no future for art except in N.Y.,” Biederman wrote from Paris in 1936. “The Americans don’t know & care less about art & at least one can start clean with them. On the other hand, here they are so saturated with the past & tradition in art . . . they shall just continue to vomit art . . . ” Biederman realized that many of the veteran Parisian avant-garde felt that abstract art had run its course. While this was also the attitude of some art institutions in New York, like the Museum of Modern Art, Biederman and his American peers nevertheless pressed further into the realm of abstraction, synthesizing avant-garde styles with their own personal vision.

Recognizing the potential for abstract art in the United States, European artists like Frederick Kann immigrated and anchored the American Abstract Artists group. American artists such as Irene Rice Pereira and Flora Crockett returned from abroad with new insight gained through training with modern masters like Fernand Léger. With ambitions to push beyond the bounds of subject matter, materials, and form, these artists gave abstract art new life across the Atlantic.

Tags: american art

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