Yvonne Thomas: American Women in Florence

January 23, 2021 - John Hooper for The Wall Street Journal

Collector Christian Levett has filled his Italian palazzo with a world-class assembly of works by female Abstract Expressionists.

Spread over two floors of a palazzo beside the River Arno in Florence, amid the treasures of the Italian Renaissance, is perhaps the world’s largest private collection of art by modern female abstractionists.

Walking down the street you would never know it was there. Even if you knew the name of the collector, former hedge-fund manager Christian Levett, you would have to squint long and hard to find it in the cluster of little brass name plates alongside the palazzo’s massive door. But once across the threshold you are surrounded by paintings by Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell and other Abstract Expressionists who helped revolutionize art after World War II, turning New York City into the capital of Western culture for the first time.


MUSEUM ACQUISITION:Yvonne Thomas Acquired by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

January 23, 2021 - Berry Campbell

Yvonne Thomas
Portrait, 1956
oil on linen
96.5 x 114.3 cm (38 x 45 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Gift of Estate of Yvonne Thomas
© Estate of Yvonne Thomas
Courtesy Berry Campbell Gallery, New York

Yvonne Thomas (1913–2009) is among several important artists from the abstract expressionist era, many of them women, who have been rediscovered in recent years. Portrait (1956), a pivotal work in Thomas’s career, is the first of her paintings to enter the Gallery’s collection and joins an untitled screenprint from 1967.

In 1938 Thomas studied fine art at the Art Students League of New York as well as with Amédée Ozenfant in his atelier. She began to associate with the abstract expressionists, joining discussions at The Club (where she was one of the few members who were women) and at the short-lived school called The Subjects of the Artist. She also studied in Provincetown with Hans Hofmann and exhibited at the renowned Ninth Street Exhibition in 1951. Throughout her work, she combined the gestural language of the New York School painters with sensitive brushstrokes and a lyrical sense of color. In Portrait, the ghostly figurative suggestions and tinted grays evoke an image coming into focus. The painting resonates with works by Judith Godwin, Jack Tworkov, and Frank Lobdell in the Gallery’s collection.

News: NYC-ARTS Top Five Picks | Jill Nathanson: Light Phrase, January  9, 2021 - NYC-ARTS

NYC-ARTS Top Five Picks | Jill Nathanson: Light Phrase

January 9, 2021 - NYC-ARTS

Jill Nathanson, Light's Cover, 2019, acrylic and polymers with oil on panel, 38 1/4 x 74 inches

Jill Nathanson: Light Phrase

Thu, Jan 07, 2021 - Sat, Feb 06, 2021

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News: Game changers: Visual artists adapt to the COVID era | Mike Solomon, January  9, 2021 - Marty Fugate, Correspondent

Game changers: Visual artists adapt to the COVID era | Mike Solomon

January 9, 2021 - Marty Fugate, Correspondent

The art game has many unwritten rules. It’s a good thing that nobody wrote them down.

COVID-19 trashed the artistic rulebook as it has nearly everything else in contemporary life. Artists and visual arts institutions have been flying by the seat of their pants since the pandemic hit last year. While strange changes are far from over in the art game, here are some of the new ad hoc rules area artists and arts leaders have invented to keep playing. We’ll start with a few individual artists.

Mike Solomon: Honor the Heroes

The bulk of Mike Solomon’s work is nonrepresentational. But his latest series of colored pencil drawings holds a mirror to the real world.

“Scenes from the Pandemic” has a journalistic feel to it. The title tells you exactly what to expect. There are a few scenes of wounded journalists and protestors of all ethnic origins. But most of Solomon’s drawings celebrate Black doctors, nurses and front-line caregivers dealing with the collateral damage of the battle against COVID-19.

These heroes include Dr. James A Mahoney – a Brooklyn pulmonologist who pulled all-nighters fighting the virus, and then became a victim himself; Dr. Armen Henderson, a Miami internist who was handcuffed and detained by police outside his home; and Dr. Lisa Merritt, the founder and director of the Multicultural Health Institute in Sarasota.

“I made a connection with Lisa at the beginning of this year,” Solomon says. “She enlightened me a lot about what was going on in the African American community. Thanks to her, I became fascinated with the Black doctors and first responders serving on the front lines during the pandemic. Like all doctors, they risk their own lives to save the lives of others. But if these doctors take off their scrubs and walk outside the hospital – they’re taking a risk just because of the color of their skin. It takes an amazing amount of courage to do what they do. I wanted to find a way to honor it.”