GERTRUDE GREENE (1904-1956)
A pioneering figure in the development of American geometric abstraction, Gertrude Greene was active as both a painter and a sculptor. One of the first American artists to explore such progressive concepts as Constructivism, Suprematism, Neo- Plasticism and Surrealist biomorphism, Greene's work was admired and collected by a number of her contemporaries, including fellow artists Albert E. Gallatin and George L.K. Morris.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Greene studied sculpture at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School in Manhattan from 1924 until 1926. In 1926 she married the painter Balcombe Greene. For the next five years the couple divided their time between New York, Vienna and Paris, familiarizing themselves with the latest currents in modern art.
Greene and her husband returned to New York permanently in 1931. In the years ahead, she developed a reputation as a leading proponent of non-objective art. In addition to producing free standing sculpture and constructivist-inspired wood reliefs, Greene also executed many collages, often combining both organic and geometric forms. Towards the end of the 1930s, influenced in particular by the work of Naum Gabo and Piet Mondrian, her work assumed an even greater degree of abstraction. In 1937, Greene's wood relief Composition (Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, Massachusetts) was purchased by Gallatin for his Museum of Living Art, the first of her works to enter a public collection. During her later years, Greene focussed her attention on "palette-knife paintings," acclaimed by the critics for their rich textural qualities and sensuous color.
Greene was one of several vanguard artists, among them Alice Trumbull Mason, Ilya Bolotowsky and Rosalind Bengelsdorf, who founded the American Abstract Artists group in 1936. She was also a founding member of the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, the Sculptors Guild and the Artists' Union.
In New York, Greene had important solo exhibitions at the Grace Borgenicht Gallery (1951) and at the Bertha Schaefer Galleries (1955). After moving to Pittsburgh in 1942, Greene continued to maintain a studio in Manhattan, to which she commuted on a regular basis. She died of cancer in New York in 1956.
In conjunction with the growing interest in American abstract art of the 1930s, Greene's work has attracted the attention of many scholars and critics. Since the late l970s, she has been the subject of numerous articles and studies. Greene was also included in the landmark exhibition Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America, 1927-1944, organized by the Museum of Art at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh (1983). Examples of Greene's work can be found in major public and private collections throughout the United States, most notably the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
© Berry Campbell
Painters and Sculptors Guild
American Abstract Artists
Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors
Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York, 1951
Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York, 1952
Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York, 1955
A.C.A. Galleries, New York, 1979.
A.C.A. Galleries, New York, 1981
American Abstract Artists, New York, 1937-46
Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York, 1937
Museum of Living Art, New York, 1937
Helena Rubinstein New Art Circle Gallery, New York, 1942
Wildenstein Gallery, 1945.
Wildenstein Gallery, 1946.
Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 1946.
Whitney Museum of American Art, 1950-1.
Laurel Gallery, Richmond, Virginia, 1951.
Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York, 1951.
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America, 1951
Museum of Modern Art, 1959-1960.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 200 Years of American Sculpture, Bicentennial Exhibition, 1976.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Advocates of Abstraction, The A.A.A. 1936 – 1943, 1976.
The Art Museum of University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, American Abstract Artists, 1977.
Newark Museum Association, New Jersey, Geometric Abstraction and Related Works, 1979.
Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1985-1986.
Gary Snyder Fine Art, New York, Modern American Artists in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, 1997.
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, Early American Abstraction: Small Scale – Large Dimension, 2002.
Spanierman Modern, August Gallery Selections, 2010.
Weatherspoon Art Muyseum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, American Art: Circa 1950-Selections from the Permanent Collection, 2010.
Spanierman Modern, New York, East End Artists Part II, 2011.
Spanierman Modern, New York, Gallery Selections, 2012.
Spanierman Modern, New York, Artists of the East End: Past & Present, 2012.
Spanierman Modern, New York, Abstract Strength: Mary Abbott, Perle Fine, Judith Godwin, Gertrude Greene & Charlotte Park, 2013.
Berry Campbell, New York, Masters of Expressionism in Postwar America, 2014.
Art Wynwood, Miami, FL, Berry Campbell, 2014.
Berry Campbell, New York, Summer Selections, 2015.
Art Southampton, Southampton, New York, 2015.
McCormick Gallery, Chicago, Her Work, 2015.
Aca Galleries, New York, Paper Through the Ages: Drawings and Prints, 2016.
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, Collage: Made in America, 2017.
Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavillion, Champaign, IL, Dynamic Structures: Abstract American Artists, 2017.
Berry Campbell, New York, Summer Selections, 2017.
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, The Time Is N♀w, 2017.
Berry Campbell, New York, Summer Selections, 2018.
Ewing Gallery, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Blurring Boundaries: The Women of AAA 1936 – Present, 2018.
Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Shape of Shape, 2019 - 2020. Curated by Amy Sillman.
Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida.
Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York.
Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio.
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Centre College Norton Center For The Arts, Danville, Kentucky.
Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio,
Cincinnati Museum of Art, Ohio.
Housatonic Museum of Art, Stratford, Connecticut.
Columbus Gallery of Fine Art, Ohio.
Finch College Museum of Art, New York.
Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta.
Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York.
New Jersey State Museum.
Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Newark Museum Association, Newark, New Jersey.
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania.
Rochester Memorial Museum, New York.
Slater Memorial Museum, the Norwich Free Academy, Connecticut.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC.
Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.