Contrary to entrenched presumptions that Manhattan became the primary locus of art after World War II, Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962 delves into the various circles of artists who made France their home during an era of intense geopolitical realignment. Bolstered by the GI Bill, many artists, such as Norman Bluhm, Ed Clark, Sam Francis, Al Held, Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland, and Jack Youngerman, along with lesser-known figures such as Robert Breer, Harold Cousins, and Shinkichi Tajiri, opted for a foreign rather than a domestic learning experience. Seasoned artists, such as Beauford Delaney, Claire Falkenstein, Carmen Herrera, Joan Mitchell, Kimber Smith, and Mark Tobey, like the GIs, were drawn to the storied modernist traditions that still flowed from this fabled City of Light. Comprising some 135 artworks by approximately 70 artists, as well as archival materials from this period, Americans in Paris investigates the academies where many of these artists studied, the spaces where their work was exhibited, the aesthetic discourses that animated their conversations, their interactions with European artists, and the overarching issue of what it meant to be an American abroad. Curated by Debra Bricker Balken with Lynn Gumpert, the exhibition is accompanied by a 300-page illustrated publication.
Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962 is organized by the Grey Art Gallery, New York University. Curated by Debra Bricker Balken with Lynn Gumpert, the exhibition is made possible in part by generous support from the Terra Foundation for American Art, sponsor of the international tour; the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation; Hauser & Wirth; the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation; The Falkenstein Foundation; Francis H. Williams and Keris Salmon; Robert E. Holmes and David Hubensky; the Al Held Foundation; David Hall Gallery, LLC, Wellesley, MA; the Sam Francis Foundation; the Grey’s Director’s Circle, Inter/National Council, and Friends; and the Abby Weed Grey Trust. In-kind support is provided by ArtCare Conservation and Les Films du Jeudi. Support for the publication has been provided by the Boris Lurie Art Foundation; the Henry Luce Foundation; and the Schaina & Josephina Lurje Memorial Foundation. Funding for travel and research was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art; Global Research Initiatives, Office of the Provost, New York University; and the Rhode Island School of Design Professional Development Fund. Americans in Paris is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.