O'Keeffe, Stettheimer, Torr, Zorach: Women Modernists in New York

February 18 - May 15, 2016



 

Selected Zorach images from the exhibition

 

(above: Marguerite Thompson Zorach, American, 1887-1968, Bathers, circa 1913-1914, 24 x 20 in (61 x 50.8 cm), Oil on canvas. Norton Museum of Art, Purchase, R.H. Norton Trust, 2015.72. Photo: Jacek Gancarz)

Although she became a lifelong New Yorker, Zorach found renewal in her family's trip into the countryside every summer. Like French Fauvist painters, in works such as Bathers, used the abstracted female nude to convey the freedom possible in such an escape. Here, women cavort in a brilliant, otherworldly space in which any sense of depth is replaced by a rhythmic repetition of form and color. Like many other modernists, Zorach believed that art ought to be decorative. By painting this landscape as a strongly graphic pattern, she conveyed the dynamism and joy underlying nature.

 

(above: Marguerite Thompson Zorach, American, 1887-1968, Family Supper, circa 1921-1922, Embroidered tapestry, 25 x 41 in (63.5 x 104.14 cm). Private Collection. Photo: John Herr)

Zorach used textile media to create not only objects that could be used, but also pictures like this, which were meant to hang on a wall. Embroidered tapestries were ideally suited to her modernist exploration of decoration, since their repetition of the same colors throughout give them an inherent graphic strength. The artist dyed her own yarn in order to achieve the hues she desired. In contrast to the more mythological figures on her earlier textiles, those in Family Supper grounded in everyday life. Through using the same sort of abstracted form, truncated space, and vibrantly unnaturalistic color that appears in her paintings, Zorach conveyed the liveliness of a family meal.

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