"American Modern" at
Hackett Freedman Gallery,
San Francisco.
February 3-April 3, 2005

The surprise of “American Modern” comes in large part from Hackett Freedman’s interpretation of its own grand title. All dating from between 1907 and 1942, these paintings, sculptures, and works on paper make the case for a period of advanced American art before Abstract Expressionism claimed the mantle of modernism for its own.

The artists of America’s first modern generation worked to assimilate lessons from the School of Paris and blend them with their nativist intuitions. Take the case of John Marin, whose Landscape (1914) stands out as one of the stunnners of the show. The jazzily askew reds and yellows call to mind the Fauvist palette that enthralled Marin from the day in 1910 when he first visited the Steiglitz Gallery. But they also register his motif: they work to portray the sun...


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