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Richard Pousette-Dart at the Guggenheim Museum

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August 17-September 25, 2007


Richard Pousette-Dart (1916-1992) was a founding member of the New York School. Active in New York from the early 1940s, Pousette-Dart made essential contributions to the Abstract Expressionist movement. Between 1941 and 1942 he was the first Abstract Expressionist to paint large-scale canvases, which anticipated Jackson Pollock's breakthrough to mural-scale work in 1943. During this period Pousette-Dart's images typically presented abstract symbols in thickly layered, roughly applied paint in dark tones. These were among the first pictorial statements of what came to be known as 'action painting.'

Pousette-Dart drew inspiration from Native American, African, and Oceanic art, as well as the European and American avant-garde and the writings of Freud and Jung. The intellectual and philosophical background for his work included Oriental philosophy and American Transcendentalism. Pousette-Dart's lifelong belief was that the abstract symbols of painting could reveal universal truths by suggesting the mysterious realm of the spirit.
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