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Whitney Museum of American Art
Annual Exhibition 1961 catalog
Contemporary American Painting
DESCRIPTION: With roots that go all the way back to her private "Studio Club" in Greenwich Village in 1918, sculptor and famed Modernist art collector Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney formally established the full Whitney Museum of American Art in 1929, after first having her collection of 700 pieces turned down by the Metropolitan, and with the Museum of Modern Art mostly concentrating in those years on European work. Since then it has become one of the leading institutions on the planet for post-WW2 fine arts, especially in such new mediums as photography and video; and its famed Biennial Exhibition has been an instant rocket to fame for dozens of young artists over the decades, given that it is these shows where the museum picks most of its new permanent purchases. For its first four years, the original format was to split annual exhibitions between painting and sculpture, each only occurring every two years; then in 1937 both exhibitions were increased to annual, with all media combined into one large biennial showcase starting in 1973, the format it's still known for to this day. This particular 1961 catalog is from the years between 1959 and 1972 that the museum switched back to its original schedule, holding alternating painting and sculpture (with now drawing) showcases every other year. It features 136 artists, including such notables as Josef Albers, Stuart Davis, Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Graves, Hans Hofmann, Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Franz Kline, Richard Mayhew, Robert Motherwell, Georgia O'Keefe, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, and Andrew Wyeth, the images reproduced in standard grayscale offset on glossy, semi-heavy magazine-style paper, with a two-toned brown paper cover. And for diehard fans, note that this was one of the few exhibitions to take place at the museum's 22 West 54th Street location, between the years of 1954 and 1966 when it was located there. Please note: At eight by eight inches and including only 64 pages, this should not be mistaken for the slick coffeetable museum catalogs we're familiar with today.
CONDITION: Very Good Plus (VG+). Slight wear to the paper spine, used-book price in upper corner of inside cover, but otherwise in great shape.
PROVENANCE: Donated by the Stark Family of Chicago's Hyde Park, affiliated with the neighborhood Unitarian Church through its popular choir, to an arts organization called the Southside Hub of Production (SHoP), October 15th, 2011. Purchased on that same day by Jason Pettus.