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International Watercolor Exhibition, 21st Biennial

DATES April 12, 1961 through May 28, 1961
  • April 12, 1961 The international relationship of ideas, trends and developments in contemporary art is strikingly illustrated in the TWENTY-FIRST INTERNATIONAL WATERCOLOR BIENNIAL which opens at The Brooklyn Museum on Wednesday, April 12. This major exhibition of 202 watercolors by 140 working artists in England, Germany and the United States will be shown at the Museum through May 28.

    The 60 watercolors from England, 60 from Germany and 82 from the United States were selected by Hertha Wegener, Assistant Curator of Paintings and Sculpture, on a tour last summer of major English and German art centers, including London, Cornwall, Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Düsseldorf. Selections from the United States were made from collections in galleries representing a cross-section of current American artists.

    In a recent interview Mrs. Wegener stated that the Exhibition continues the Biennial’s tradition of presenting the most recent trends in the watercolor medium. “Germany was chosen for this year’s showing because the abstract school, interrupted by the Nazi regime, has had a chance to develop, and England, strong since the war in the plastic arts, has developed an individualistic style in the watercolor medium.” Works from the United States are always represented in the Biennial.

    Continuing the policy which was established 40 years ago with the first in this series of Biennial Exhibitions, The Brooklyn Museum is showing the work of lesser known as well as established artists, all displaying an interesting similarity of expression, though they are of different nationalities. In the United States group, well-known artists include Ben Shahn, Stuart Davis, Elaine deKooning, Sam Francis and Reuben Tam. Of special interest among the new American artists are James Leong, a young painter concerned with the effects of irregular surface patterns, and Harold Jacobs, whose studies of human faces have a mysterious, contemplative quality.

    The internationally famous sculptors, Lynn Chadwick and Robert Clatworthy, are represented in the English group, which includes the well-known painters Rodrigo Moynihan and William Newcombe who introduce a definite calligraphic style in their watercolors. Among the interesting new English artists are Lin Show-Yu, who combines constructivist techniques with an oriental delicacy of’ design, and Trevor Bell, whose paintings are composed of closely related tonal colors.

    Hans Jaenisch, the famous German artist whose work is now concerned with tonal values and with a chiaroscuro effect, is exhibited along with the well-known constructivist, Joachim Albrecht, in the group representing Germany. Many new German artists are introduced to American audiences in this Brooklyn Museum Exhibition including Horst Antes, whose watercolors are concerned with the movement of asymmetric shapes, and Peter Brüning, a young avant-garde painter whose work closely resembles the American abstract expressionists.

    There is a definite emphasis on experimentation in this TWENTY-FIRST BIENNIAL, which has been especially installed by the Brooklyn Museum’s new Supervisor of Installation in Graphics, Myles Libhart, who features enormous plate glass screens to display many of the watercolors in this major Exhibition.

    On April 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. there will be an invitational preview for the press, Museum Members, and guests.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1953 - 1970. 1961, 013-14.
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