The Stamp of Impulse: Abstract Expressionist Prints

The Stamp of Impulse: Abstract Expressionist Prints

April 22 - June 17, 2001

In the decade after World War II new imagery and aesthetic ideals transformed the art world, and its center shifted from Europe to America. Abstract Expressionism is acknowledged as the leading achievement of American art in the 20th century, but its impact on the graphic arts has never been fully examined. In 100 prints by as many artists, this exhibition surveys the era's diverse approaches to printmaking, and the stylistic and technical experimentation that revolutionized American graphic arts. Prints represented the entire stylistic array, which we now characterize as Abstract Expressionism, including Abstract Surrealism, biomorphism, painterly gesture, and calligraphy. The works in the show exemplify a wide variety of printmaking media, and range in scale from miniature drypoints to mural-sized screenprints.

Over the past decade, the Worcester Art Museum has pursued a vigorous program to acquire this material and, with few exceptions, the prints in the exhibition come from the Museum's permanent collection. Artists represented include pioneers of the New York School such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline, as well as San Francisco Bay Area artists like Richard Diebenkorn and Nathan Oliveira.

The show is accompanied by a complete catalogue, which reproduces each print in color, provides a discussion of the work, and an artist's biography. The book and exhibition also explore the cross-influences of art, poetry, and jazz during this dynamic era.

Sponsored by Allmerica Financial.

Additional generous support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Judith Rothschild Foundation, The Richard A. Heald Fund, and the Christian A. Johnson Exhibition Endowment Fund.

Media sponsors are the Worcester Phoenix, WSRS, WTAG Radio, and Charter Communications, Inc.