Perle Fine: Out of Exile
April 28, 6–7 p.m. EST
The Art Students League is pleased to host a virtual panel discussion on the life and art of Perle Fine, featuring Maddy Berezov, stewards of the artist’s legacy, Kathleen L. Housley, author of Tranquil Power: The Art and Life of Perle Fine, and Susan W. Knowles, art historian and curator of the Hofstra University Museum of Art traveling retrospective of Fine’s work. Perle Fine, who studied at The Art Students League with Kimon Nicolaides in the 1930s, was a renowned and highly influential member of the inner circle of Abstract Expressionists that became the New York School. Fine’s early solo exhibitions at the Betty Parsons Gallery, and her inclusion in the legendary Ninth Street Show, in addition to other New York Annuals and group exhibitions, were instrumental in helping shape the direction of the Abstract Expressionist movement. In the 1950s, Fine’s Tenth Street studio was located behind the Tanager Gallery; its centrality was a constant source of inspiration because of the numerous artists who dropped in to exchange ideas, among them Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner. Later, Fine was disturbed by the increasing competitiveness and undercurrent of violence in Abstract Expressionism. Tired of battling an art world culture that sidelined women, Fine made the decision to go into a highly creative exile in East Hampton, where she hoped to find the space to conquer painting itself. Join us, for this illuminating discussion of an artist who was always “suspicious” when painting felt too easy, who believed in “fighting it out with the canvas,” and whose efforts, according to critics of her time, created “gentle paintings of near unspeakable beauty.”
This event is sponsored by GOLDEN Artist Colors Inc.
Maddy and David Berezov, who is the nephew of Perle Fine’s husband Maurice Berezov, have been careful stewards of Fine’s legacy for over thirty years. Maddy is president of A. E. Artworks, which organized the Perle Fine Retrospective and supported symposia and lectures in conjunction with a stellar traveling exhibition of Fine’s paintings. Venues included the University of Indiana Art Museum, Provincetown Art Museum, Hofstra University where Fine taught art from 1962-73, Russell Sage Colleges, and Augustana College. Because of Maddy’s extensive knowledge and appreciation of Fine’s life and art, her participation is both unique and personal.
Kathleen L. Housley is an independent writer and researcher and the author of eleven books. Her biography Emily Hall Tremaine: Collector on the Cusp was published by The Tremaine Foundation and University Press of New England in 2001. Housley’s work on Tremaine, whose collection of modern art was considered one of the best in the world, lead directly to her biography Tranquil Power: The Art and Life of Perle Fine (Midmarch Arts Press, 2005). Tremaine, who helped to build the careers of many artists including Jasper Johns, believed strongly in Fine’s talent. Housley has lectured frequently on Fine including at the Pollock-Krasner House, The Provincetown Art Museum, and the Wadsworth Atheneum.
Susan W. Knowles is an art historian, museum curator, and public historian in Nashville, TN. She holds an MA in Art History from Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. in Public History from Middle Tennessee State University, where she has worked for ten years as Digital Humanities Research Fellow at the Center for Historic Preservation specializing in architectural history and material culture studies. In conjunction with Hofstra University Museum of Art and the Berezovs, she organized the traveling exhibition Tranquil Power: The Art of Perle Fine, which opened at Hofstra in 2009. Over a thirty-year career Knowles has curated museum shows, overseen public art projects, written catalogue essays and art reviews, and organized three other national traveling exhibitions including From the Mountains to the Mississippi: Contemporary Tennessee Women Artists for the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. in 1994 and Red Grooms: Selections from the Graphic Work, which opened at the National Academy of Design in 2001 and traveled to six museums across the country.