Max Schnitzler, 1943, oil on canvas (top), Ilyana Garmisa Druck, 1949, “Cubist Farm,” exhibited at the Minnesota State Fair and the Minneapolis Art Institute (bottom).
One of my favorite galleries in New England has always been Adam Tamsky Fine Art, which specializes in paintings primarily made by under-recognized painters from the 40s and 50s. For many years the gallery was a fixture on Wickendon Street in Providence, RI, but when I was in Stonington, CT, the other day for the Annual Stonington Village Fair, I saw that Adam has opened a new gallery on Water Street. I immediately pulled the car over and ran in to see what was going on.
Two Coats of Paint: Your gallery is a gem. You have a keen eye for under-known abstract painters from the early to mid 20th century. Why are you interested in this particular period of abstraction?
Adam Tamsky: I had been a collector of 19th and early 20thC. Landscapes for almost 20 years beginning in the early eighties. When I first opened my gallery in Providence in 1999 I focused on small landscapes and period frames. Gradually I became interested in work by American painters from the WPA era (roughly 1936-42). The paintings I focused on were landscape and figural works but with a decided “Modernist” bent. Many of the painters from that period continued to change their style as they entered the war years and I simply followed their interest in experimenting with non-objective painting. I also read a lot about the “Irascibles” (Pollock, DeKooning, Rothko, et al) in an attempt to try to understand what they were doing. The 1950’s in New York City has now become my favorite period in American art and has proved a fertile ground for finding engaging works by lesser known artists.
Elizabeth Bishop was a poet, but also painted.
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