Adolph Gottlieb, like most Abstract Expressionists, endeavored to make his paintings a reflection of his unconscious. This exhibition explores his visual language and engagement with themes of identity.
A leading member of the New York School, Adolph Gottlieb (1903–1974) was at the center of a diverse group of artists that included Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko. Along with writers and musicians, these Abstract Expressionist painters and sculptors transformed New York City into the new intellectual and artistic center, replacing Paris as the avant-garde mecca. Aware of the developments of European modernism but seeking independent identities, the Abstract Expressionists changed the direction of painting in the 1940s. In doing so, they created a distinctly American idiom.
Gottlieb, like so many major intellectuals of the 1950s, believed that his personal identity—Jewish or American—should play no role in his painting. In his view, “The idea of being a so-called Jewish artist is like being a professional Jew. I think art is international and should transcend any racial, ethnic, religious, or national boundaries.” In fact, the expansive visual language Gottlieb developed during his fifty-year career was founded on the universality and emotive force of images.
This exhibition was organized by IVAM Centre Julio González in Valencia, Spain, and the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation in New York.
The installation for the exhibition at the Jewish Museum was designed by Tsao & McKown Architects in New York.
Unless otherwise noted, all works in the exhibition were lent by the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation.