Drawn from the Kemper Museum’s permanent collection, this exhibition comprises works by a handful of artists who shaped the postwar American aesthetic of the 20th century. Early modernists were pivotal in the development of the dominant artistic style of the postwar period in America, Abstract Expressionism. By the early 1950s, artists challenged the grand gesture of Abstract Expressionism by eliminating brushwork altogether and staining or pouring wide “fields” of thinned paint directly onto unprimed canvas. Color Field painting reduced painting to its intrinsic formal elements—paint and the two-dimensional picture plane— eliminating extraneous associations. Through their bold, innovative investigations of color, form, and pure expression, these artists were the dawn of a new generation of artists in postwar America and, in many respects, continue to illuminate and inform artistic practices today.
Above: Hans Hofmann, Rising Sun, 1958; oil on canvas, 60 x 72 inches; Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, Gift of the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation 2002.12