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Mint Museum Uptown will unveil Surrealism and Beyond on February 11, 2012: 3 shows. 4 artists. 1 journey.

January 12, 2012

The Mint Museum will once again break new ground by bringing together three exhibitions comprising the largest and most significant examination of Surrealism and Surrealist-inspired art ever presented in the Southeast.

– The Mint Museum will once again break new ground by bringing together three exhibitions comprising the largest and most significant examination of Surrealism and Surrealist-inspired art ever presented in the Southeast. Surrealism and Beyond opens to the public at Mint Museum Uptown on February 11 and runs through May 13.

Organized by The Mint Museum and overseen by Jonathan Stuhlman, the Mint’s curator of American art, the project consists of three fascinating shows examining the work of four artists: Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy; Seeing the World Within: Charles Seliger in the 1940s; and Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary.

“I am certain that the public will enjoy this rare opportunity to see more than 100 works of art by these four important painters. There is a remarkable synergy between these exhibitions, each of which reveals a different aspect of Surrealism and its impact on 20th century art,” said Stuhlman.

The project illustrates the Mint’s commitment to being a leader in scholarship and education on all forms of art and design. “Surrealism and Beyond is an undertaking many years in the making for the Mint and for its curator, Jonathan Stuhlman,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of The Mint Museum. “It is an exciting opportunity to introduce our audience to these important Surrealist artists and their works, some of which have never been exhibited before.”

Details on each exhibition:

Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy

Double Solitaire explores the exchange of ideas that informed the work of the important Surrealist artists Kay Sage (American, 1898-1963) and Yves Tanguy (French/American, 1900-1955) during their 15-year relationship. It is the first exhibition to examine Sage and Tanguy’s work from this perspective, the first significant exhibition of Tanguy’s art organized by an American museum since 1955, and the first major gathering of Sage’s paintings since 1977.

By intermingling Sage and Tanguy’s paintings, this exhibition of approximately 50 works of art tells the fascinating story of the couple’s complex personal and artistic relationship and, more importantly, elucidates the commonalities and ties between each artists’ work, which historically has been kept separate. Visitors will see firsthand the impact each artist had upon the other as they explored and developed their own unique visual languages. While many of the paintings in the exhibition are drawn from prominent public collections, a number of privately-held works will also be included—some of which have never before been exhibited, and some of which the artists dedicated to each other.

Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy is organized by The Mint Museum and Katonah Museum of Art, and has also been shown at the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA (where it is running through January 22 before traveling to the Mint). It is made possible through support from the Mint Museum Auxiliary and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

Seeing the World Within: Charles Seliger in the 1940s

This captivating exhibition focuses on the remarkable paintings and drawings created by the American artist Charles Seliger during the first decade of his career. Born in 1926, Seliger quickly acquired a strong working knowledge of early 20th century modernism. But it was the fantastic imagery, inventive processes, and creative freedom of Surrealism that truly captured his attention and inspired him to develop his own mature aesthetic between 1942 and 1950. Although his work was rooted in the same basic principles and ideas as that of the Abstract Expressionists, many of whom he exhibited alongside in the 1940s, Seliger found a distinctly personal voice and artistic vocabulary. Because of this, he was given his first solo exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim’s “Art of this Century” gallery in 1945, when he was just 19. By the end of the decade, Seliger had narrowed his focus and further honed his style, resulting in an approach that defined his work until his death in 2009.

Seeing the World Within is the first exhibition to focus on the groundbreaking paintings Seliger created during the first decade of his career, and the first museum-organized exhibition of Seliger’s work in 30 years. It brings together approximately 35 of his best works from the 1940s, drawn from public and private collections as well as his estate.

Following its debut at the Mint, Seeing the World Within will travel to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy (June 9-September 16, 2012), and the Munson-Williams Proctor Art Institute, Utica, New York (October 20-January 20, 2013). (Please note that this part of Surrealism and Beyond closes at the Mint two weeks prior to the other exhibitions, on April 29, to facilitate its travel to Italy). This exhibition is made possible through support from the Mint Museum Auxiliary and awards from the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Dedalus Foundation, Inc., and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary

This is the first retrospective of the British-American Surrealist painter’s work organized by an American museum in more than 30 years. Featuring approximately 30 paintings by the artist, it is drawn entirely from his family’s collection. Many of the objects in the exhibition were either created specifically for Onslow Ford’s sister, Elisabeth, or were given to her for such special occasions as her birthdays. Because of the closeness and longevity of their relationship, the exhibition will offer visitors a look at the full range of Onslow Ford’s career – from early, more traditional canvases from the 1920s and 1930s, to his first experiments with Surrealism in the late 1930s and 1940s, to his later work from the 1950s forward, which took a more cosmic, symbolic approach to abstraction.

It is a particularly apt companion for the Sage and Tanguy and Seliger exhibitions, as it reveals another dimension of Surrealism and its impact, and features an artist who knew and worked alongside Sage and Tanguy in the 1930s and 1940s and who wrote a book on Tanguy’s artistic process in 1980. Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary is accompanied by a selection of ephemera and works by family-member artists who were inspirational to Onslow Ford early in his career.

This exhibition is exclusive to The Mint Museum and is made possible through support from the Mint Museum Auxiliary.

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