Denver Art Museum Announces Major Show of Female Abstract Expressionists

Elaine de Kooning, Bullfight, 1959, oil on canvas. COURTESY MARK BORGHI FINE ART, NEW YORK/©ELAINE DE KOONING TRUST

Elaine de Kooning, Bullfight, 1959, oil on canvas.


The Denver Art Museum (DAM) announced today that it will have a major exhibition about female Abstract Expressionists in summer 2016. Titled “Women of Abstract Expressionism,” the show will feature more than 50 works by 12 artists. Following its run at the DAM, the show will travel to the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Palm Springs Art Museum in California.

Abstract Expressionism has long been defined by its male adherents—including Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still, Franz Kline, and Barnett Newman, among others—whose fame greatly exceeds the women in the movement. The DAM’s show will rethink that historical bias by focusing on the following 12 female artists:

  • Mary Abbott
  • Jay DeFeo
  • Perle Fine
  • Helen Frankenthaler
  • Sonia Gechtoff
  • Judith Godwin
  • Grace Hartigan
  • Elaine de Kooning
  • Lee Krasner
  • Joan Mitchell
  • Deborah Remington
  • Ethel Schwabacher

“Women of Abstract Expressionism” will be the first major museum show to focus exclusively on female painters surrounding the movement. While there have been important retrospectives for several artists in the show, no exhibition has focused on the female painters as a group or positioned these women as such an large part of Abstract Expressionism.

“Women of Abstract Expressionism, for the first time, positions this expanded group of painters within the context of abstract expressionism and its cultural milieu,” Gwen Chanzit, the curator of modern art at the DAM, said in a statement. “The exhibition will contribute to a more complete understanding of this important mid-20th century movement by presenting artists beyond the handful of painters who have previously defined the whole in textbook accounts. It also will present these female artists together for the first time. While visitors discover the significant role of women in the formation of abstract expressionism, they will be treated to a powerful presentation of remarkable paintings.”

CORRECTION 09/01/2015, 1:25 p.m.: An earlier version of this article misstated the location of the show. It will appear at the Denver Art Museum, not the Dallas Museum of Art. The post has been updated to reflect this.

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