Grace Hartigan was one of the foremost female artists of the Abstract Expressionist Movement. Born on March 28, 1922, in Newark, New Jersey, Hartigan studied mechanical draftsmanship at the Newark College of Engineering during World War II, and took up watercolor painting as a hobby. Following the war, she moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1945, immersing herself in the New York art scene. There, she became familiar with Abstract Expressionism, and befriended her contemporaries Milton Avery, Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler, and Jackson Pollock, among others. She had her first solo exhibition in 1951 at New York’s Tibor de Nagy Gallery, attracting the attention of distinguished museums and galleries from the beginning. In 1956, her work appeared in the MOMA’s prominent exhibition 12 Americans. We are thrilled to be bringing an important example of the artist’s early work to auction for the first time. Our standout piece, Washington Square in New York City, was executed in 1955 and purchased at one of her early New York exhibitions. Stately in size, and impressive in composition, this work is not to be missed.
Throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, Hartigan experimented with subject matter, moved away from the New York genre, and drew imagery and inspiration from art history and popular culture in the creation of her gestural abstractions. In 1960 Hartigan moved to Baltimore and began a teaching career at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and eventually became the Director of the prestigious Hoffberger Graduate School of Painting at MICA. Hartigan’s work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, among others.
Lot 1015: Washington Square, New York City
42 ¼ x 28 ¼ inches framed
Auction estimate: $30,000-$50,000
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Director, Modern & Contemporary Art
410.828.4838 x 108