Findlay Galleries, New York presents Leonard Nelson, A Rebellion of the Abstract Era. On View Wednesday, Feb 3rd

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • January 25, 2021

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Leonard Nelson | #14 Sasha’s Run #2 | 86-87 | oil and acrylic on canvas | 60 x 50 in.
Findlay Galleries
Leonard Nelson | Love Song | 1979 | oil and acrylic on canvas | 36 1/4 x 48 in.
Findlay Galleries

Findlay Galleries is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition of highly important works by Leonard Nelson on Wednesday, February 3rd, at Findlay Galleries, New York. Nelson was the leader of the Philadelphia School of Art and a respected professor whose formidable approach to art and faith in creative integrity never surrendered to compromise. During his formative years, Nelson's work was under-appreciated; today, he is considered one of the forefathers of Abstract Expressionism.

More about the artist: Leonard Nelson

"Leonard Nelson's long career as a prolific and influential art educator spanned more than half the twentieth century, from the thirties to the nineties, and forged close links with the leading artists and movements of his time at pivotal moments in American art history.

Although he spent most of his life in Philadelphia, his roots were in New York, and in the works he showed in the forties and fifties at the Betty Parsons and Peridot Galleries, and at Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century. They placed him at the forefront of the emerging New York Abstract Expressionist Avante-Garde. Nelson's artistic and cultural interests were even wider and more challenging than some of his famous New York colleagues; however, in his Philadelphia studio, he explored avenues as innovative and diverse as welded sculpture, incorporating "found objects" and printmaking, a medium that established him among the leading innovators of the day. He also taught at the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia for thirty years, retiring as a professor emeritus in 1977, and concentrated on painting that underwent a remarkable transformation over the decades.

From his pioneering, mid-century figurative studies that are as formidably primitivistic as the early works of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, or the pictographs of Adolph Gottlieb, he progressed to his pathbreaking luminous color-field canvases. By the sixties, they had evolved into a highly original and varied color expression, very often on a large scale that broke new ground, anticipating some of the later work of Morris Louis and Larry Poons. His work was constantly evolving in keeping with his openness to novel areas, techniques, and mediums.

Not long before his death, in 1993, Nelson expressed a strong personal pride in his role as an Avante-Garde force in art education and in his ongoing willingness to cross conventional boundaries, whether in his personal studio work, or in his interdisciplinary approaches and public projects.

Nelson left an extensive body of work in paintings and printmaking, proving how prescient his early vision and stylistic impulses have been, and what a quiet, yet formidable, force he became in the evolution of twentieth-century American art."

Sam Hunter, Leonard Nelson: A Life in Art ( New York: Rizzoli, 2001)

Leonard Nelson | Color Abstr. | 90-91 | oil and acrylic on canvas | 46 x 50 in.
Findlay Galleries

Fred Clark
Findlay Galleries

Findlay Galleries
32 East 57th Street, 2nd Floor
, New York
About Findlay Galleries

Celebrating 150 years in business, Findlay Galleries is an iconic family art business founded in 1870. Specializing in Impressionism, European Modernism, l'Ecole de Rouen, L'Ecole de Paris, and 20th Century American Art, the gallery represents over 100 artists and artist estates. Named Wally Findlay Galleries since 1965, the business was acquired in 1998 by James R. Borynack. A longtime Findlay executive, Borynack was committed to the relentless pursuit of veritable European period works and contemporary artists. In 2016 Borynack also acquired the David Findlay Jr. Gallery and merged the two. Since then, the gallery has operated under its original name from 1870, Findlay Galleries, and has continued to offer a strong collection of both period works and contemporary art, both European and American.

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