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Lee Krasner, Easter Lilies

Lee Krasner, Easter Lilies (1956), oil on canvas [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Jul 23-ongoing] Photo: Susan Cole © Artist or Artist’s Estate

Big Picture: Art After 1945

Seattle Art Museum
Seattle WA – Jul 23-ongoing

Eva Hesse, Untitled

Eva Hesse, Untitled (1964), oil on canvas [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Jul 23-ongoing] © Estate of Eva Hesse, Photo: Elizabeth Mann

SAM founder Richard E. Fuller hated modern art but had to tolerate a young couple, Virginia and Bagley Wright, who moved back to Seattle from New York City in the late 1950s to raise their four children. Mrs. Wright had been a gallery assistant for Sidney Janis and, in this way, began their collection that is now part of SAM. (She also had ties to Vancouver through a family timber company, MacMillan Bloedel).

Eyewitness to the rise of Abstract Expressionism, she came into contact with Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Robert Morris—all of whom are included in their collection. The couple became known for buying early examples of artists who became very famous later.

On view are less well-known examples, though a few have been reproduced in standard art histories for years. Other collectors, like R. C. Hedreen, Jeffrey Brotman (the founder of Costco), and Peggy Guggenheim were inspired by the Wrights’ example and donated important works, like Pollock’s small Sea Change (1947), painted the first year of the artist’s celebrated drips. Three gigantic Anselm Kiefers and Joseph Beuys’ first Felt Suit (1978) join unknown masterpieces by Robert Ryman, Agnes Martin, Barnett Newman and others.

Matthew Kangas

Jasper Johns, Thermometer

Robert Rauschenberg, Octave

Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Green Red II (1965), oil on canvas [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Jul 23-ongoing] Photo: Susan Cole © Ellsworth Kelly

Robert Rauschenberg, Octave (1960), oil on canvas with assemblage (oil, paper, fabric) [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Jul 23-ongoing] Photo: Paul Macapia © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Green Red II

Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Green Red II (1965), oil on canvas [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Jul 23-ongoing] Photo: Susan Cole © Ellsworth Kelly

Arshile Gorky, How My Mother's Embroidered Apron Unfolds in My Life

Arshile Gorky, How My Mother's Embroidered Apron Unfolds in My Life (1964), oil on canvas [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Jul 23-ongoing] Photo: Susan Cole © 2013 The Arshile Gorky Foundation



 Sun, Sep 18, 2016