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Past Exhibitions

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017


The Woman Question

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka

March 14, 2017 - June 30, 2017


You Say You Want a Revolution

American Artists and the Communist Party

October 18, 2016 - March 4, 2017


Recent Acquisitions

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Featuring Watercolors and Drawings from the Robert Lehman Collection

March 29, 2016 - July 1, 2016


Paula Modersohn-Becker

Art and Life

November 3, 2015 - March 19, 2016


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015


Leonard Baskin

Wunderkammer

April 23, 2015 - July 2, 2015


Alternate Histories

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

January 15, 2015 - April 11, 2015


Marie-Louise Motesiczky

The Mother Paintings

October 7, 2014 - December 24, 2014


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 15, 2014 - September 26, 2014


Ilija/Mangelos

Father & Son, Inside & Out

April 24, 2014 - July 3, 2014


Modern Furies

The Lessons and Legacy of World War I

January 21, 2014 - April 12, 2014


Käthe Kollwitz

The Complete Print Cycles

October 8, 2013 - December 28, 2013


Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

July 9, 2013 - September 27, 2013


Face Time

Self and Identity in Expressionist Portraiture

April 9, 2013 - June 28, 2013


Story Lines

Tracing the Narrative of "Outsider" Art

January 15, 2013 - March 30, 2013


Egon Schiele's Women

October 23, 2012 - December 28, 2012


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 17, 2012 - October 13, 2012


Mad As Hell!

New Work (and Some Classics) by Sue Coe

April 17, 2012 - July 3, 2012


The Ins and Outs of Self-Taught Art

Reflections on a Shifting Field

January 10, 2012 - April 7, 2012


The Lady and the Tramp

Images of Women in Austrian and German Art

October 11, 2011 - December 30, 2011


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 5, 2011 - September 30, 2011


Decadence & Decay

Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz

April 12, 2011 - June 24, 2011


Self-Taught Painters in American 1800-1950

Revisiting the Tradition

January 11, 2011 - April 2, 2011


Marie-Louise Motesiczky

Paradise Lost & Found

October 12, 2010 - December 30, 2010


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 13, 2010 - October 1, 2010


Käthe Kollwitz

A Portrait of the Artist

April 13, 2010 - June 25, 2010


Seventy Years Grandma Moses

A Loan Exhibition Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Artist's "Discovery"

February 3, 2010 - April 3, 2010


Egon Schiele as Printmaker

A Loan Exhibition Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

November 3, 2009 - January 23, 2010


From Brücke To Bauhaus

The Meanings of Modernity in Germany, 1905-1933

March 31, 2009 - June 26, 2009


They Taught Themselves

American Self-Taught Painters Between the World Wars

January 9, 2009 - March 14, 2009


Elephants We Must Never Forget

New Paintings Drawings and Prints by Sue Coe

October 14, 2008 - December 20, 2008


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2008 - September 26, 2008


Hope or Menace?

Communism in Germany Between the World Wars

March 25, 2008 - June 13, 2008


Transforming Reality

Pattern and Design in Modern and Self-Taught Art

January 15, 2008 - March 8, 2008


Leonard Baskin

Proofs and Process

October 9, 2007 - January 5, 2008


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 5, 2007 - September 28, 2007


Who Paid the Piper?

The Art of Patronage in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

March 8, 2007 - May 26, 2007


Fairy Tale, Myth and Fantasy

Approaches to Spirituality in Art

December 7, 2006 - February 3, 2007


More Than Coffee was Served

Café Culture in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna and Weimar Germany

September 19, 2006 - November 25, 2006


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 6, 2006 - September 8, 2006


Parallel Visions II

"Outsider" and "Insider" Art Today

April 5, 2006 - May 26, 2006


Ilija!

His First American Exhibtion

January 17, 2006 - March 18, 2006


Coming of Age

Egon Schiele and the Modernist Culture of Youth

November 15, 2005 - January 7, 2006


Sue Coe:

Sheep of Fools

September 20, 2005 - November 5, 2005


Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

June 7, 2005 - September 9, 2005


Every Picture Tells a Story

The Narrative Impulse in Modern and Contemporary Art

April 5, 2005 - May 27, 2005


65th Anniversary Exhibition, Part II

Self-Taught Artists

January 18, 2005 - March 26, 2005


65th Anniversary Exhibition, Part I

Austrian and German Expressionism

October 28, 2004 - January 8, 2005


Sue Coe: Bully: Master of the Global Merry-Go-Round and Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 8, 2004 - October 16, 2004


Animals & Us

The Animal in Contemporary Art

April 1, 2004 - May 22, 2004


Henry Darger

Art and Myth

January 15, 2004 - March 20, 2004


Body and Soul

Expressionism and the Human Figure

October 7, 2003 - January 3, 2004


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2003 - September 12, 2003


In Search of the "Total Artwork"

Viennese Art and Design 1897–1932

April 8, 2003 - June 14, 2003


Russia's Self-Taught Artists

A New Perspective on the "Outsider"

January 14, 2003 - March 29, 2003


Käthe Kollwitz:

Master Printmaker

October 1, 2002 - January 4, 2003


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 25, 2002 - September 20, 2002


Workers of the World

Modern Images of Labor

April 2, 2002 - June 15, 2002


Grandma Moses

Reflections of America

January 15, 2002 - March 16, 2002


Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoscha

From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

November 23, 2001 - January 5, 2002


The "Black-and-White" Show

Expressionist Graphics in Austria & Germany

September 20, 2001 - November 10, 2001


Recent Acquisitions (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 26, 2001 - September 7, 2001


Art with an Agenda

Politics, Persuasion, Illustration and Decoration

April 10, 2001 - June 16, 2001


"Our Beautiful and Tormented Austria!": Art Brut in the Land of Freud

January 18, 2001 - March 17, 2001


The Tragedy of War

November 16, 2000 - January 6, 2001


The Expressionist City

September 19, 2000 - November 4, 2000


Recent Acquisitions (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 20, 2000 - September 8, 2000


From Façade to Psyche

Turn-of-the-Century Portraiture in Austria & Germany

March 28, 2000 - June 10, 2000


European Self-Taught Art

Brut or Naive?

January 18, 2000 - March 11, 2000


Saved From Europe

In Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

November 6, 1999 - January 8, 2000


The Modern Child

(Images of Children in Twentieth-Century Art)

September 14, 1999 - November 6, 1999


Recent Acquisitions

(And a Look at Sixty Years of Art Dealing)

June 15, 1999 - September 3, 1999


Sue Coe: The Pit

The Tragical Tale of the Rise and Fall of a Vivisector

March 30, 1999 - June 5, 1999


Henry Darger and His Realms

January 14, 1999 - March 13, 1999


Becoming Käthe Kollwitz

An Artist and Her Influences

November 17, 1998 - December 31, 1998


George Grosz - Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler

Art & Gender in Weimar Germany

September 23, 1998 - November 11, 1998


Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts About Looted Art)

June 9, 1998 - September 11, 1998


Taboo

Repression and Revolt in Modern Art

March 26, 1998 - May 30, 1998


Sacred & Profane

Michel Nedjar and Expressionist Primitivism

January 13, 1998 - March 14, 1998


Egon Schiele (1890-1918)

Master Draughtsman

November 18, 1997 - January 3, 1998


The New Objectivity

Realism in Weimar-Era Germany

September 16, 1997 - November 8, 1997


Recent Acquisitions

A Question of Quality

June 10, 1997 - September 5, 1997


Käthe Kollwitz - Lea Grundig

Two German Women & The Art of Protest

March 25, 1997 - May 31, 1997


That Way Madness Lies

Expressionism and the Art of Gugging

January 14, 1997 - March 15, 1997


The Viennese Line

Art and Design Circa 1900

November 18, 1996 - January 4, 1997


Emil Nolde - Christian Rohlfs

Two German Expressionist Masters

September 24, 1996 - November 9, 1996


Breaking All The Rules

Art in Transition

June 11, 1996 - September 6, 1996


Sue Coe's Ship of Fools

March 26, 1996 - May 24, 1996


New York Folk

Lawrence Lebduska, Abraham Levin, Isreal Litwak

January 16, 1996 - March 16, 1996


The Fractured Form

Expressionism and the Human Body

November 15, 1995 - January 6, 1996


From Left to Right

Social Realism in Germany and Russia, Circa 1919-1933

September 19, 1995 - November 4, 1995


Recent Acquisitions

June 20, 1995 - September 8, 1995


On the Brink 1900-2000

The Turning of Two Centuries

March 28, 1995 - May 26, 1995


Earl Cummingham - Grandma Moses

Visions of America

January 17, 1995 - March 18, 1995


Drawn to Text: Comix Artists as Book Illustrators

November 15, 1994 - January 7, 1995


Three Berlin Artists of the Weimar Era: Hannah Höch, Käthe Kollwitz, Jeanne Mam

September 13, 1994 - November 5, 1994


55th Anniversary Exhibition in Memory of Otto Kallir

June 7, 1994 - September 2, 1994


Sue Coe: We All Fall Down

March 29, 1994 - May 27, 1994


The Forgotten Folk Art of the 1940's

January 18, 1994 - March 19, 1994


Symbolism and the Austrian Avant Garde

Klimt, Schiele and their Contemporaries

November 16, 1993 - January 8, 1994


Art and Politics in Weimar Germany

September 14, 1993 - November 6, 1993


Recent Acquisitions

June 8, 1993 - September 3, 1993


The "Outsider" Question

Non-Academic Art from 1900 to the Present

March 23, 1993 - May 28, 1993


The Dance of Death

Images of Mortality in German Art

January 19, 1993 - March 13, 1993


Art Spiegelman

The Road to Maus

November 17, 1992 - January 9, 1993


Käthe Kollwitz

In Celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth

September 15, 1992 - November 7, 1992


Naive Visions/Art Nouveau and Expressionism/Sue Coe: The Road to the White House

May 19, 1992 - September 4, 1992


Richard Gerstl/Oskar Kokoschka

March 17, 1992 - May 9, 1992


Scandal, Outrage, Censorship

Controversy in Modern Art

January 21, 1992 - March 7, 1992


Viennese Graphic Design

From Secession to Expressionism

November 19, 1991 - January 11, 1992


The Expressionist Figure

September 10, 1991 - November 9, 1991


Recent Acquisitions

Themes and Variations

May 14, 1991 - August 16, 1991


Sue Coe Retrospective

Political Document of a Decade

March 12, 1991 - May 5, 1991


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, drawings and prints

January 22, 1991 - March 2, 1991


Egon Schiele

November 13, 1990 - January 12, 1991


Lovis Corinth

A Retrospective

September 11, 1990 - November 3, 1990


Recent Acquisitions

June 12, 1990 - August 31, 1990


Max Klinger, Käthe Kollwitz, Alfred Kubin

A Study in Influences

March 27, 1990 - June 2, 1990


The Narrative in Art

January 23, 1990 - March 17, 1990


Grandma Moses

November 14, 1989 - January 13, 1990


Sue Coe

Porkopolis--Animals and Industry

September 19, 1989 - November 4, 1989


The Galerie St. Etienne

A History in Documents and Pictures

June 20, 1989 - September 8, 1989


Gustav Klimt

Paintings and Drawings

April 11, 1989 - June 10, 1989


Fifty Years Galerie St. Etienne: An Overview

February 14, 1989 - April 1, 1989


Folk Artists at Work

Morris Hirshfield, John Kane and Grandma Moses

November 15, 1988 - January 14, 1989


Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

June 14, 1988 - September 16, 1988


From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

April 12, 1988 - May 27, 1988


Three Pre-Expressionists

Lovis Corinth Käthe Kollwitz Paula Modersohn-Becker

January 26, 1988 - March 12, 1988


Käthe Kollwitz

The Power of the Print

November 17, 1987 - January 16, 1988


Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

April 7, 1987 - October 31, 1987


Folk Art of This Century

February 10, 1987 - March 28, 1987


Oskar Kokoschka and His Time

November 25, 1986 - January 31, 1987


Viennese Design and Wiener Werkstätte

September 23, 1986 - November 8, 1986


Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, Drawings and Prints

May 27, 1986 - September 13, 1986


Expressionist Painters

March 25, 1986 - May 10, 1986


Käthe Kollwitz/Paula Modersohn-Becker

January 28, 1986 - March 15, 1986


The Art of Giving

December 3, 1985 - January 18, 1986


Expressionists on Paper

October 8, 1985 - November 23, 1985


European and American Landscapes

June 4, 1985 - September 13, 1985


Expressionist Printmaking

Aspects of its Genesis and Development

April 1, 1985 - May 24, 1985


Expressionist Masters

January 18, 1985 - March 23, 1985


Arnold Schoenberg's Vienna

November 13, 1984 - January 5, 1985


Grandma Moses and Selected Folk Paintings

September 25, 1984 - November 3, 1984


American Folk Art

People, Places and Things

June 12, 1984 - September 14, 1984


John Kane

Modern America's First Folk Painter

April 17, 1984 - May 25, 1984


Eugène Mihaesco

The Illustrator as Artist

February 28, 1984 - April 7, 1984


Early Expressionist Masters

January 17, 1984 - February 18, 1984


Paula Modersohn-Becker

Germany's Pioneer Modernist

November 15, 1983 - January 7, 1984


Gustav Klimt

Drawings and Selected Paintings

September 20, 1983 - November 5, 1983


Early and Late

Drawings, Paintings & Prints from Academicism to Expressionism

June 1, 1983 - September 2, 1983


Alfred Kubin

Visions From The Other Side

March 22, 1983 - May 7, 1983


20th Century Folk

The First Generation

January 18, 1983 - March 12, 1983


Grandma Moses

The Artist Behind the Myth

November 15, 1982 - January 8, 1983


Käthe Kollwitz

The Artist as Printmaker

September 28, 1982 - November 6, 1982


Aspects of Modernism

June 1, 1982 - September 3, 1982


The Human Perspective

Recent Acquisitions

March 16, 1982 - May 15, 1982


19th and 20th Century European and American Folk Art

January 19, 1982 - March 6, 1982


The Folk Art Tradition

Naïve Painting in Europe and the United States

November 17, 1981 - January 9, 1982


Austria's Expressionism

April 21, 1981 - May 30, 1981


Eugène Mihaesco

His First American One-Man Show

March 3, 1981 - April 11, 1981


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele

November 12, 1980 - December 27, 1980


Summer Exhibition

June 17, 1980 - October 31, 1980


Kollwitz: The Drawing and The Print

May 1, 1980 - June 10, 1980


40th Anniversary Exhibition

November 13, 1979 - December 28, 1979


American Primitive Art

November 22, 1977


Käthe Kollwitz

December 1, 1976


Neue Galerie-Galerie St. Etienne

A Documentary Exhibition

May 1, 1976


Martin Pajeck

January 27, 1976


Georges Rouault and Frans Masereel

April 29, 1972


Branko Paradis

December 1, 1971


Käthe Kollwitz

February 3, 1971


Egon Schiele

The Graphic Work

October 19, 1970


Gustav Klimt

March 20, 1970


Friedrich Hundertwasser

May 6, 1969


Austrian Art of the 20th Century

March 21, 1969


Egon Schiele

Memorial Exhibition

October 31, 1968


Yugoslav Primitive Art

April 30, 1968


Alfred Kubin

January 30, 1968


Käthe Kollwitz

In the Cause of Humanity

October 23, 1967


Abraham Levin

September 26, 1967


Karl Stark

April 5, 1967


Gustav Klimt

February 4, 1967


The Wiener Werkstätte

November 16, 1966


Oskar Laske

October 25, 1965


Käthe Kollwitz

May 1, 1965


Egon Schiele

Watercolors and Drawings from American Collections

March 1, 1965


25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part II

November 21, 1964


25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

October 17, 1964


Mary Urban

June 9, 1964


Werner Berg, Jane Muus and Mura Dehn

May 5, 1964


Eugen Spiro

April 4, 1964


B. F. Dolbin

Drawings of an Epoch

March 3, 1964


Austrian Expressionists

January 6, 1964


Joseph Rifesser

December 3, 1963


Panorama of Yugoslav Primitive Art

October 21, 1963


Joe Henry

Watercolors of Vermont

May 1, 1963


French Impressionists

March 8, 1963


Grandma Moses

Memorial Exhibition

November 26, 1962


Group Show

October 15, 1962


Ernst Barlach

March 23, 1962


Martin Pajeck

February 24, 1962


Paintings by Expressionists

January 27, 1962


Käthe Kollwitz

November 11, 1961


Grandma Moses

September 7, 1961


My Friends

Fourth Biennial of Pictures by American School Children

May 27, 1961


Raimonds Staprans

April 17, 1961


Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka and Alfred Kubin

March 14, 1961


Marvin Meisels

January 23, 1961


Egon Schiele

November 15, 1960


My Life's History

Paintings by Grandma Moses

September 12, 1960


Watercolors and Drawings by Austrian Artists from the Dial Collection

May 2, 1960


Martin Pajeck

February 29, 1960


Eugen Spiro

February 6, 1960


Käthe Kollwitz

December 14, 1959


Josef Scharl

Last Paintings and Drawings

November 11, 1959


European and American Expressionists

September 22, 1959


Our Town

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

May 23, 1959


Marvin Meisels and Martin Pajeck

May 1, 1959


Gustav Klimt

April 1, 1959


Käthe Kollwitz

January 12, 1959


Oskar Kokoschka

October 28, 1958


Village Life in Guatemala

Paintings by Andres Curuchich

June 3, 1958


Two Unknown American Expressionists

Paintings by Marvin Meisels and Martin Pajeck

April 28, 1958


Paula Modersohn-Becker

March 15, 1958


The Great Tradition in American Painting

American Primitive Art

January 20, 1958


Jules Lefranc and Dominique Lagru

Two French Primitives

November 18, 1957


Margret Bilger

October 22, 1957


The Four Seasons

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

June 11, 1957


Grandma Moses

May 6, 1957


Alfred Kubin

April 3, 1957


Franz Lerch

March 2, 1957


Egon Schiele

January 21, 1957


Josef Scharl

Memorial Exhibition

November 17, 1956


Irma Rothstein

May 19, 1956


Käthe Kollwitz

April 16, 1956


A Tribute to Grandma Moses

November 28, 1955


As I See Myself

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

May 20, 1955


Juan De'Prey

April 19, 1955


Erich Heckel

March 29, 1955


Freddy Homburger

March 2, 1955


Masters of the 19th Century

January 18, 1955


Oskar Kokoschka

November 29, 1954


Isabel Case Borgatta and Josef Scharl

October 12, 1954


James N. Rosenberg and Eugen Spiro

April 30, 1954


Per Krogh

April 2, 1954


Cuno Amiet

February 16, 1954


Eniar Jolin

January 14, 1954


Irma Rothstein

December 8, 1953


Josef Scharl

November 11, 1953


Grandma Moses

October 21, 1953 - October 24, 1953


Wilhelm Kaufmann

September 30, 1953


Lovis Corinth, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele

May 27, 1953


A Grandma Moses Album

Recent Paintings, 1950-1953

April 15, 1953


Streeter Blair

American Primitive

February 26, 1953


Paintings on Glass

Austrian Religious Folk Art of the 17th to 19th Centuries

December 4, 1952


Hasan Kaptan

Paintings of a Ten-Year-Old Turkish Painter

October 29, 1952


Margret Bilger

May 10, 1952


American Natural Painters

March 31, 1952


Ten Years of New York Concert Impressions by Eugen Spiro; Four New Paintings by

January 26, 1952


I-Fa-Wei

Watercolors of New York by a Chinese Artist

December 1, 1951


Käthe Kollwitz

October 25, 1951


Drawings and Watercolors by Austrian Children

May 21, 1951


Grandma Moses

Twenty-Five Masterpieces of Primitive Art

March 17, 1951


Roswitha Bitterlich

January 18, 1951


Oskar Laske

Watercolors of Vienna and the Salzkammergut

October 14, 1950


Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Part II

May 11, 1950


Austrian Art of the 19th Century

From Wadlmüller to Klimt

April 1, 1950


Chiao Ssu-Tu

February 18, 1950


Anton Faistauer

January 1, 1950


Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

November 30, 1949


Autograph Exhibition

October 26, 1949


Gladys Wertheim Bachrach

May 24, 1949


Oskar Kokoschka

March 30, 1949


Eugen Spiro

February 19, 1949


Frans Masereel

January 13, 1949


Ten Years Grandma Moses

November 22, 1948


Käthe Kollwitz

Masterworks

October 18, 1948


American Primitives

June 3, 1948


Egon Schiele

Memorial Exhibition

April 5, 1948


Miriam Richman

February 7, 1948


Vally Wieselthier

Memorial Exhibition

January 10, 1948


Christmas Exhibition

December 4, 1947


Fritz von Unruh

November 10, 1947


Käthe Kollwitz

October 4, 1947


Grandma Moses

May 17, 1947


Lovis Corinth

April 16, 1947


Hugo Steiner-Prag

March 15, 1947


Mark Baum

January 11, 1947


Eugen Spiro

November 25, 1946


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

May 17, 1946


Ladis W. Sabo

Paintings by a New Primitive Artist

April 8, 1946


Georges Rouault

The Graphic Work

February 26, 1946


Käthe Kollwitz

Memorial Exhibition

November 21, 1945


Fred E. Robertson

Paintings by an American Primitive

June 13, 1945


Max Liebermann

The Graphic Work

April 18, 1945


Vienna through Four Centuries

March 1, 1945


Eugen Spiro

January 20, 1945


Grandma Moses

New Paintings

December 5, 1944


Käthe Kollwitz

Part II

October 26, 1944


A Century of French Graphic Art

From Géricault to Picasso

September 28, 1944


Max Liebermann

Memorial Exhibition

June 9, 1944


Juan De'Prey

Paintings by a Self-Taught Artist from Puerto Rico

May 6, 1944


Abraham Levin

April 15, 1944


Lesser Ury

Memorial Exhibition

March 21, 1944


Grandma Moses

Paintings by the Senior of the American Primitives

February 9, 1944


Betty Lane

January 11, 1944


WaIt Disney Cavalcade

December 9, 1943


Käthe Kollwitz

Part I

November 3, 1943


Will Barnet

September 29, 1943


Lovis Corinth

May 26, 1943


Josephine Joy

Paintings by an American Primitive

May 3, 1943


Oskar Kokoschka

Aspects of His Art

March 31, 1943


Eugen Spiro

February 13, 1943


Seymour Lipton

January 18, 1943


Illuminated Gothic Woodcuts

Printed and Painted, 1477-1493

December 5, 1942


Abraham Levin

November 4, 1942


Walt Disney Originals

September 23, 1942


Documents which Relate History

Documents of Historical Importance and Landmarks of Human Development

June 10, 1942


Honoré Daumier

April 29, 1942


Bertha Trabich

Memorial Exhibition of a Russian-American Primitive

March 25, 1942


Alfred Kubin

Master of Drawing

December 4, 1941


Egon Schiele

November 7, 1941


Betty Lane

June 3, 1941


Flowers from Old Vienna

18th and Early 19th Century Flower Painting

May 7, 1941


Weavings by Navaho and Hopi Indians and Photos of Indians by Helen M. Post

January 29, 1941


Georg Merkel

November 7, 1940


What a Farm Wife Painted

Works by Mrs. Anna Mary Moses

October 9, 1940


Saved from Europe

Masterpieces of European Art

July 1, 1940


American Abstract Art

May 22, 1940


Franz Lerch

May 1, 1940


Wilhelm Thöny

April 3, 1940


French Masters of the 19th and 20th Centuries

February 29, 1940


H. W. Hannau

Metropolis, Photographic Studies of New York

February 2, 1940


Oskar Kokoschka

January 9, 1940


Austrian Masters

November 13, 1939


EUROPEAN SELF-TAUGHT ART

Brut or Naive?

January 18, 2000 - March 11, 2000

ARTISTS

Boix-Vives, Anselme

Corbaz, Aloïse

Crepin, Joseph

Darger, Henry

Ghizzardi, Pietro

Gill, Madge

Gugging, The Artists of

Lesage, Augustin

Nedjar, Michel

Nikifor

Schröder-Sonnenstern, F.

Sekulic, Sava

Wallis, Alfred

Wey, Alois

Wilson, Scottie

Wittlich, Josef

Wölfli, Adolf

Zinelli, Carlo

ESSAY

Self-taught art has been an important adjunct to the contemporary art scene for roughly one hundred years. Yet, though the field (as distinct from the art itself) originated in Europe, its American component has frequently been viewed in isolation. The term “Outsider art” was initially intended to be the English-language equivalent of European Art Brut, but American Outsider art--with its quirky mix of folk objects, environments, amateur paintings, works by the mentally ill, ethnic expressions and religious proselytizing--at times differs markedly from Art Brut. Indeed, surprisingly few American collectors of the native product have much awareness of the genre’s European antecedents. While European self-taught art of various kinds has been exhibited and collected sporadically in the United States since the 1930s, the exhibition "Private Worlds," held at the Katonah Museum of Art last winter, may be considered something of a watershed. Exemplary both in its scholarly rigor and aesthetic standards, "Private Worlds" was the first systematic attempt to introduce the American public to Art Brut. The present exhibition builds upon "Private Worlds," but is somewhat looser and broader in its orientation. While many of the artists in our show are classical exemplars of Art Brut, others would be classified as Naives in Europe. By exploring the differences and similarities between these artists, we hope to shed light upon the manner in which the field of self-taught art, as a whole, is constructed.

 

Whereas American Outsider art often shades indistinguishably into the broader umbrella category of self-taught art, Europeans maintain a rigid boundary between what they call Naive art and Art Brut. This boundary has been established and reinforced over the course of many years, but European self-taught art was not originally so strictly demarcated. The early modern artists, such as Picasso and Kandinsky, who were looking for an alternative to the academic idiom, promoted a whole host of nonacademic material. With no concern for the works' inherent differences, these artists indiscriminately collected tribal art, peasant crafts, and pieces by children, mental patients and untutored "normally" functioning adults. All of these works were held to be freer, fresher and more authentic than the productions of conventionally trained artists. Created outside the commercial marketplace, these objects were also deemed to represent an expressive purity unattainable to artists laboring within the capitalist establishment. In the work of self-taught artists, a somewhat jaded avant-garde sought nothing less than a return to an artistic Eden.

 

The field of self-taught art was constructed in early twentieth-century Europe as an alternative to a civilization perceived to be in irreversible decline. However, unlike the other kindred modernist movements, such as Fauvism, Cubism and Expressionism, that arose around the same time, self-taught art allowed for practically no input from the creators themselves. In fact, the creators were elected by virtue of their distance from the self-conscious art world, which projected onto those creators ideals that often could not be met. The myth of absolute originality was shaken every time it was revealed that a self-taught artist had been influenced by an outside source. The myth of purity crumbled almost as soon as an artist was discovered and taken into the evil commercial marketplace. Convinced that the hypothetical tree falling in an empty forest does make a noise, the art world set out on an impossible mission to record the sound.

 

Almost everyone knows that the first self-taught artist to be anointed by the art world was the French toll-collector Henri Rousseau. Discovered in the early years of the twentieth century, he was the original "Naive," and much was made of his supposedly gullible, childlike character. (Rousseau's "gullibility" actually consisted primarily of being foolish enough to take himself seriously as an artist.) Other discoveries in the Naive mode quickly followed after Rousseau's, particularly in the period between the two world wars, when modernism began to develop wider international recognition. Both in Europe and the United States, these first-generation Naives were relatively conventional picture-makers. Denied formal training due chiefly to economic circumstances (or, particularly in America, geographical remoteness), these painters nonetheless pursued goals shaped by the traditional academic genres of landscape, portraiture and still life. Their originality lay in the ad-hoc methods the artists invented to achieve these goals, drawing on whatever visual sources they could muster and combining those sources with direct observation and trial-and-error experience. If Art Brut and Outsider artists tend to look inward (depicting the "private worlds" referenced in the Katonah exhibition title), the Naives looked outward, reflecting more public, generally accessible views of their surroundings.

 

Alongside the Naive movement, another related but distinctly different phenomenon was quietly developing. In 1921, Walter Morgenthaler published his monograph on Adolf Wölfli, A Mentally Ill Person as an Artist. And in 1922, after a marathon three-year collecting spree, Hans Prinzhorn issued his landmark survey, The Artistry of the Mentally Ill. Both authors were psychiatrists who had initially encountered their subjects in clinical settings, but they broke new ground in recognizing that the work of the mentally ill could also be appreciated as art. Unlike Naive art, which in the interwar period was finding its way into galleries, museums and private collections, partly aided by the artists themselves, the art of the mentally ill remained largely the province of a few specialized connoisseurs. Such art was too difficult to attract a wide public at this time, and hospitalized artists were for the most part unavailable or unable to engage in self-promotion. However, the Morgenthaler and Prinzhorn books did reach the right people. A number of German Expressionists made pilgrimages to the Prinzhorn collection at the University of Heidelberg's Psychiatric Clinic, and Prinzhorn's book became the "Bible" of the French Surrealists.

 

Undoubtedly, Freud's reification of the unconscious and his seminal work on dreams contributed substantially to the surge of interest in the art of the mentally ill that developed after World War I. In the ensuing decades, this interest continued to percolate through the European health-care and artistic communities, which worked in tandem to preserve and celebrate psychiatric art. Indeed, the persistent intertwining of these two intellectual communities is one of the chief characteristics that distinguishes the development of European Art Brut from American Outsider art. Following Prinzhorn's lead, the Royal Bethlem Hospital in Kent, England, the Sainte-Anne Hospital in Paris and, more recently, the Lower Austrian Psychiatric Hospital in Gugging and the Hospital Art Center--La Tinaia in Florence, Italy, all developed various kinds of programs revolving around artist-patients. Among the mainstream artists who drew inspiration from these psychiatric programs during the postwar period were Arnulf Rainer in Austria and, above all, Jean Dubuffet in France.

 

By the late 1940s, when Dubuffet began his efforts in earnest, the prewar European avant-garde was establishing itself as a new "academy," and the Naives whom these artists had once fostered, with their comforting landscapes and idiosyncratic but endearing portraits, were welcomed warmly by a public chafing against the ascendancy of abstraction. It grew increasingly difficult to distinguish real from faux Naives, as the style became a staple of greeting cards, children's book illustrations and calendars. Whereas once economic and/or geographic circumstances had been sufficient to segregate self-taught artists from received culture, in the age of mass communications, a further degree of remove seemed to be required. Dubuffet started by collecting the art of mental patients, but like other members of the avant-garde before him, what he was really looking for was an art untainted by the influence of bourgeois civilization: an art that was (as he put it) Brut, or raw.

 

Art Brut was literally Dubuffet's invention, and in coining the term, he also created the field. Almost from the outset, however, the term proved impossible to define. Psychiatric art was at least objectively identifiable, even if it raised the ugly specter of classifying artists according to their degree of emotional impairment. But once Dubuffet acknowledged that Art Brut could as readily exist outside the hospital walls as within, he became reliant on far more subjective criteria. How, finally, could one judge an artist's distance from received culture? Trained artists, after all, do strive to break new ground, and cultural influences penetrate even mental institutions. Admitting that no artist exists either fully beyond or within received culture, Dubuffet instead proposed the idea of a continuum, along which artists might be situated in accordance with their degree of proximity to or distance from the conventional art scene. Nevertheless, particularly as one moves away from the extreme ends of the spectrum, certifying an artist as Brut entails a very personal assessment of the artist's motives and mental state. At a certain level, the determination of who is or is not Brut rests as much in the eye (or mind) of the beholder as it does in the art itself.

 

If there is such a thing as a canon of accepted Art Brut artists, it would have to be those in Dubuffet's collection, today housed at the Musée de l'Art Brut in Lausanne, Switzerland. Work which Dubuffet did not consider quite Brut enough, he dubbed "Neuve Invention" (New Invention) and housed in a separate annex. In 1972, the British art-historian Roger Cardinal introduced the English-speaking public at large to Art Brut through his book Outsider Art, and in 1979, he and the late Victor Musgrave organized a major exhibition of "Outsiders" for the Arts Council of Great Britain. Today, Monika Kinley continues Musgrave's work, and the collection she and he formed is on extended loan to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. Meanwhile, in France, Madeleine Lommel and the self-taught artist Michel Nedjar established the Collection de l'Aracine, which is in the process of being donated to the Villeneuve d'Ascq Museum. Among the other public European collections of self-taught art that have proliferated in the last years are the Haus Cajeth in Heidelberg, the Museum im Lagerhaus in St. Gallen, Switzerland, and the Stadshof Museum for Naive and Outsider Art in the Dutch town of Zwolle. In the small German village of Bönnigheim, Charlotte Zander calls her collection a Museum of Naive Art, but in fact her holdings include a number of Art Brut pieces.

 

Each of these collections of European self-taught art situates the parameters of the field somewhat differently, and even partisans who stick exclusively to Art Brut are capable of maddening theoretical hair-splitting when it comes to selection criteria. The Naive and Art Brut camps for the most part have little to do with one another, but once one accepts Dubuffet's idea of a cultural continuum, it can become difficult to draw the line between the Naive and the Brut. Dubuffet, after all, was essentially looking for the same kind of untainted creativity as the original champions of Naive art. And while it is true that the first generation Naives, who created easel paintings in the manner of Rousseau, have an entirely different "look" than the Brut artists, the differences may be more ones of style than substance. Today, the Naive category contains a number of artists who do not do conventional easel paintings.

 

Of the artists in the present exhibition, those who were or are institutionalized, such as Corbaz, Wölfli, Zinelli and the Gugging artists (Fischer, Garber, Kernbeis, Korec, Reisenbauer, Tschirtner and Walla), may be positioned near the most distant end of Dubuffet's cultural spectrum. The others, however, are less easily placed. Anselme Boix-Vives is generally classified as a Naive because his subjects loosely conform to such traditional types as portraiture and still-life, while Scottie Wilson is considered Brut because he depicted mythical characters he called "greedies" and "evils." Yet it is hard to argue that Boix-Vives, a semi-literate produce vendor who spent decades concocting elaborate plans for world peace, was any closer to received culture than Wilson, who showed in prestigious London galleries, counted some of the leading Surrealists as patrons and saw his work reproduced on dinnerware. Some of the artists in the present exhibition (for example, Fejes, Nikifor, Wallis and Wey), created landscapes that are more like inner mental maps than they are records of recognizable places. Others (Crépin, Gill, Lesage, Schröder-Sonnenstern and Zemánková) were propelled by arcane visions or, like Nedjar, have sought to salvage archetypal images from history and personal memory. Is it really proper to classify the landscapists as Naives and the visionaries as Brut, simply because reality is more dominant in the former group and fantasy in the latter? And if so, what of the many trained artists who have pursued fantastical or spiritual subject matter?

 

There are no easy answers to these questions, just as there is, today, no satisfactory definition of Art Brut or Naive art. Perhaps the most that can ever be said is that self-taught artists, as a broad group, are those who fail to partake of the ongoing dialogue amongst artists, critics, curators and collectors that constitutes the mainstream art world; even if discovered and brought into the art world, self-taught artists will never participate fully in that dialogue, because they are by background and nature incapable of doing so. As a result, the intentions, methods and desires of self-taught artists are often given short shrift even by their most impassioned advocates, and self-taught art is instead interpreted in accordance with the mainstream's agenda. For example, those who oppose bourgeois capitalism are outraged at the idea that anyone (sometimes including the artists) should make money from self-taught art. Many avant-garde artists have used self-taught art to validate their own achievements: to prove that they, unlike their less enlightened colleagues, were not corrupted by the evils of modern civilization. In America, Outsider art has come to represent such quintessential national virtues as rugged individualism, grassroots vitality, ethnic diversity and boot-strap self-reliance. Our beliefs about self-taught art often tell us more about ourselves than they do about the artists. Whether Naive or Brut, self-taught art has, throughout the twentieth century, been a repository for our fondest dreams: when we have despaired of civilization, of justice, of the indomitability of the human spirit, self-taught artists have been there to redeem us. In an era when intellectuals tended to cultivate negativity, optimism went underground and emerged in the life-affirming creativity of the unschooled.

 

We would like to convey our heartfelt gratitude to Sam and Betsey Farber and Anthony Petullo for their generous loans, and to thank as well the various colleagues who contributed to this exhibition.