MONTCLAIR, NJ.- This exhibition, featuring 40 works by artist Philip Pearlstein, is the first retrospective in 25 years, since his 1983 survey at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The Montclair Art Museums exhibition includes paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints that cover Pearlsteins art from 1940 through 2008.
Philip Pearlstein: Objectifications will display 40 works, including Pearlsteins first, award-winning high school work, Merry-Go-Round; his expressionist works of the 1950s; his signature, post-1961 female and male studio nudes; lesser-known landscapes and cityscapes; and a selection of his portraits. Among these works is an elaborate object still-life assemblage that was used in the most recent painting, Two Models and Four Whirly Gigs, as well as three of his nude figurative works that depict his favorite model of recent years, Kilolo Kumanyika, a resident of East Orange, New Jersey.
Philip Pearlstein is among the most important and innovative American realist painters to have emerged in the last 50 years. His objectified compositions using nude human figures revitalized realism as they challenged precepts of artistic modernism and subject matter. His breakthrough was based on his firm commitment to painting from direct observation.
Pearlstein, born in 1924, was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). During War World II, he toured Europe serving in the US Army, afterward residing back home in Pittsburgh. In 1949, he moved from Pittsburgh to New York City, which remains his home today. While living in New York City he maintained a second residence on Fire Island, New York, from the 1980s through 1998, and since 1998 in Highland Lakes, New Jersey.
Pearlstein has also had a concomitant academic career, starting in 1955 with his masters degree from New York Universitys Institute of Fine Arts and teaching appointments at Pratt Institute, Yale University, and Brooklyn College. He received a Fulbright Hayes Fellowship in 1958 and a National Endowment for the Arts Artists Fellowship in 1968. He has served as president of the National Academy of Arts and Letters, where he has been a member for more than 25 years. He has also earned several honorary degrees and lifetime achievement awards. Pearlstein has written and lectured extensively on his own art, as well as other art. He has assembled an extensive art library, traveled widely, and, with his wife, Dorothy, has collected a distinguished array of artifacts and decorative arts ranging from antiquities to Americana. Since 1955 his work has been widely written about by scholars and critics, featured in over 135 solo and 300 group exhibitions, and included in nearly 70 public collections.