In 1953 eleven Canadian Abstract Expressionist artists banded together to break through the barricades of traditional art at a time when landscapes were about the only paintings collectors were buying. Hungry for recognition, raging against the art establishment that was shutting them out, they decided to form a collective, expecting they would gain more attention as a group than as solo artists. In 1954, The Painters Eleven—Jack Bush, Oscar Cahén, Hortense Gordon, Tom Hodgson, Alexandra Luke, Jock Macdonald, Ray Mead, Kazuo Nakamura, William Ronald, Harold Town and Walter Yarwood—held their first exhibition in Toronto.
Initially the public response echoed the worldwide sentiments toward Abstract Expressionism —mockery and bewilderment. Nevertheless, the exhibition attracted wide public interest and criticism faded into acclaim from critics and collectors alike. A successful 1956 exhibition at the Riverside Gallery in New York even elicited praise from the influential critic Clement Greenberg.
Packed with gorgeous full color reproductions, this highly detailed account reveals the influences of the indivudual artists on the group's dynamic art and uncovers why the Painters Eleven had such a struggle for recognition, and why they acheived it so masterfully.
About Iris Nowell
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Published March 1, 2011
by Douglas & McIntyre.
History, Arts & Photography.