September 21 - March 19, 2022
From the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum:
“The WTAMU Art Program and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum jointly present Southwest Abstractions of Emil Bisttram, an exhibition of the artist’s late-career paintings from the Ladd Collection.
Emil Bisttram (1895-1976) was one of the leading painters in the Southwest during the twentieth century. Bisttram’s artistic talents were evident at an early age, and he studied at the National Academy of Art and Design and Cooper Union during the period when New York was emerging as the center of the art world and modernism was reaching its ascendency; however, he moved to Taos permanently in 1931. With Raymond Jonson, an abstract painter living and working in Albuquerque, Bisttram founded the Transcendental Painting Group in 1938. Bisttram, Jonson, Agnes Pelton and fellow members believed that color and abstract forms had a universal essence that they explored in their work.
Although Bisttram periodically continued to produce figurative paintings until his death in 1975, the majority of his works after World War II were non-objective abstractions inspired by his spiritual practices of meditation, Theosophy, and the hope of reaching higher planes of existence. Bisttram was so respected for his lifetime of work that his birthday in 1975 was declared a state holiday in New Mexico.
This exhibition will be drawn exclusively from an extensive collection of Bisttram paintings from the Ladd Family of Amarillo. This is the first time this group of works has been exhibited together in a museum or public setting.
For the past year, Professors Amy Von Lintel (Art History) and Jon Revett (Art Program Director and Painting/Drawing) have developed teaching curriculum around the exhibition, and the show will feature student-produced educational videos and a smaller show in the PPHM Alexander Gallery of series of students’ prints inspired by Bisttram’s paintings.
“This research and the production of the exhibition demonstrate how a West Texas private collection of Bisttram’s paintings can uniquely reveal this important artist’s place in the complex history of American modernism. We are grateful to the Ladd Family of Amarillo for allowing this special group of paintings to be shared with the public,” said Revett.
The exhibition on the first floor of PPHM in the Harrington Gallery will run September 21, 2021 through March 19, 2022. Regular admission rates apply. For more information, including a special public Bisttram event on November 6th, visit panhandleplains.org.”
On View: September 21, 2021 | 12–5 pm
2503 4th Avenue
Canyon, 79015 TX
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