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Lot 46

Grace Hartigan "Dublin" Oil Painting 1958-59

Estimate: $150,000 - $200,000

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Grace Hartigan (American, 1922-2008). Large oil on canvas painting titled "Dublin" depicting an abstract expressionist painting executed in muted colors with splashes of bright blue and purple, 1958-59. Part of her "European Place" painting series, inspired by her travels to eight cities in Europe and Ireland from 1958 to 1959. This painting is very similar to a work in the collection of the Guggenheim titled "Ireland," which is the largest work in this series. This series did not depict literal views of the cities or places she visited, but were rather "evocations of place" inspired by her experiences there.

Provenance: The artist via Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York; Collection of Beatrice & Hart Perry, New York; Collection of John Raimondi, Palm Beach, Florida; Private Connecticut Collection; Private Minnesotan Collection.

Exhibition History: Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, "Contemporary American Painting," Columbus, Ohio, January 14 - February 18, 1960; Newport Harbor Art Museum "Action/Precision: The New Direction in New York 1955-1960," Newport Beach, California, 1984-1986.

Robert S. Mattison, "Grace Hartigan: A Painter's World," New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1990. Pgs. 46 & 47.
"Action/Precision: The New Direction in New York 1955-1960," Newport Beach, California: Newport Harbor Art Museum, 1984. Pgs. 86 & 87.

Lot Essay:
Grace Hartigan (March 28, 1922 – November 15, 2008) was a trailblazing American Abstract Expressionist painter, celebrated for her bold and dynamic contributions to the mid-20th-century art scene. Born in Newark, New Jersey, her artistic journey began at an early age, and she later pursued formal training at the Newark College of Engineering and the George Washington University. However, it was in the vibrant atmosphere of post-war New York City that Hartigan truly found her artistic voice.

In the early 1950s, Hartigan became associated with the famed New York School, a group of avant-garde artists who played a pivotal role in the development of Abstract Expressionism. She was notably close to Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Alfred Leslie, Franz Kline, and other influential artists of the era, yet her unique approach to painting set her apart. Hartigan's work often blended abstraction with elements of figurative representation, creating a distinctive style that defied easy categorization.

The European Place paintings, to which the present work belongs, were inspired by her travels to eight cities in Europe and especially Ireland from 1958 to 1959. She felt a special affinity for her "dear, dirty Dublin" which reminded her of New York as well as her Irish heritage. The dark, rectangular planes of the work suggest the sooty buildings while the blue expanse in the center recalls the feeling of strolling along the seaside boardwalk at the edges of the city. The delicate, white linear patterns along the lower edge reflect Hartigan's romanticism. At the time of this painting's conception, she was involved in a love affair with Franz Kline and has described these white lines as "a love letter to Franz." The white also suggests the word "Dublin" itself, showing the lyrical and poetic nature of Hartigan's artworks.

Hartigan's impact on the art world extended beyond her prolific studio practice. She was a prominent figure in the burgeoning feminist art movement, advocating for greater recognition and opportunities for women artists. In 1982, she was appointed the first female full professor of art at the Maryland Institute College of Art, solidifying her role as a trailblazer for women in the arts.

Her extensive body of work has been exhibited in major institutions around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Grace Hartigan's legacy endures as a testament to her innovative spirit and unwavering commitment to pushing artistic boundaries. Her influence continues to inspire contemporary artists, ensuring that her contributions to the rich tapestry of American art remain both celebrated and influential.

Sight; height: 83 1/2 in x width: 71 in. Framed; height: 84 3/4 in x width: 72 1/4 in.


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