Willem de Kooning
Untitled, ca. 1934
Oil on canvas on wood, 36 x 45 inches
Private Collection

Toward a New American Cubism

April 30 – June 30, 2006

Berry-Hill Galleries is pleased to present Toward a New American Cubism which features the Cubist work of nine leading American artists dating from approximately 1925 to 1935. This period saw a resurgence of conservative nationalism in American art, against which Stuart Davis, John D. Graham, Arshile Gorky, Jan Matulka, David Smith, and Willem de Kooning formed an informal alliance. They were joined in their Cubist pursuits by Hans Hofmann, John Marin, and Alfred Maurer.

Davis, Graham and Gorky were the key representatives of the American avant-garde in the late twenties and early thirties. The artist Jacob Kainen, who was close to Graham and Gorky, referred to them as the “magus figures” of the American art world, and in 1967, Willem de Kooning affectionately and humorously referred to the group as the “Three Musketeers.” Davis, by far the most experienced and critically successful, was the unofficial leader of the triumvirate. Matulka could be considered the fourth musketeer, because during the early 1930s he was closely connected with the other three. Ultimately, these artists were to lay the foundation for the development of Abstract Expressionism in the 1940s.

Toward a New American Cubism includes approximately forty pictures on loan from museums, private collections and various institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Phillips Collection, the Montclair Art Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, The Norton Museum of Art, the Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection, The Art Students League of New York, The Renée and Chaim Gross Foundation, the Portland Art Museum, the Weatherspoon Art Museum and the David Smith Estate. This is the first time that this important subject is the basis of a major exhibition, and is accompanied by a fully illustrated scholarly publication by Bruce Weber, Director of Research and Exhibitions at Berry-Hill.