"Like the artist, the director of an art museum should have a free hand." -Albert E. Gallatin, 1927
Albert E. Gallatin wore many hats in his career: art collector, gallery director, and finally abstract painter. The last of these he turned in the late 1930s, around the time he exhibited with the Park Avenue Cubists, the group of vanguard painters named for their mix of high society and modern aesthetics. Gallatin moved through several influences in developing his own style, learning lessons from Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Henry Matisse, and Fernand Léger, all artists he collected for his Gallery of Living Art, the first collection of contemporary art in America. The present work was executed in 1940, just before his beloved museum was forced to close; he ultimately gave his entire collection of European and American non-objective painting to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The present work reflects the stylistic influences of the European Cubists he admired as seen in the tilt of the scallop-edge table bringing all elements forward and the flattening of objects into several planes of color.
Private collection, Katonah, New York, until 2018; By bequest to present owner, 2018 until the present
(possibly) Riverside Museum, New York, American Abstract Artists 5th Annual Exhibition, February 9-23, 1941 // Menconi + Schoelkopf, New York, The Park Avenue Cubists, April 26-June 4, 2021, no. 1, illus.
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