New exhibition at the Bechtler Museum

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Yesterday I got a sneak peak at Bechtler Museum of Modern Art’s newest exhibition, School of Paris: European Abstraction Post World War II – which opens this Friday, Sept. 10. The exhibition features works by European artists (like Alfred Manessier, Gustave Singier, Alberto Magnelli, Pierre Soulages, Nicolas de Stael and more), created during the late 1940s through the early 1960s. With more than 60 works (paintings, drawings, prints and artist books), the exhibit sheds light on the very different styles of abstract art form. It also reflects the time period in which the art was created, as many of its artists had been affected by the Nazi occupation and forced to seek refuge in other cities/countries.

For example, Portuguese artist Maria Helena Vieira da Silva – two paintings by her are featured in the exhibition – moved briefly to Brazil during WWII and then to Paris, France following the war. She spent  a lot of her time playing chess in Brazil and this influence could easily be represented in the grid-like style of her paintings.

Another artist, the French Alfred Manessier, has a series that includes a large painting (the pictured "Dans la flamme qui consumme"), as well as many smaller scale works that were aroused by his own spiritual awakening.

© 2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
  • © 2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Be sure to pick up a free audio guide to listen to while you browse the exhibition. It's helpful in telling you more about each artist and the influences/inspirations behind their masterpieces.

Exhibition continues through Jan. 3, 2011. Admission is $4-$8; Free for children 10 years old and under. Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m. The museum is also open until 9 p.m. on the first and third Friday of each month. Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 South Tryon St. For more information, call 704-353-9200 or visit www.bechtler.org.

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