Wed, 05/13/2015 – Sun, 08/23/2015

Payne Hurd Gallery

William Baziotes (1912–1963) was an important contributor to Abstract Expressionism who also upheld the mysterious, dreamlike, and poetic aspects of Surrealism. Born in Pittsburgh and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania, Baziotes moved to New York City in 1933. He attended the school at the National Academy of Design and then worked on the New Deal Projects sponsored by the Roosevelt administration during the Great Depression. In the late 1930s he met a group of artists, including the Chilean émigré Matta (Roberto Matta Echaurren), who introduced him to Surrealism. Using fantastic and suggestive biomorphic forms, his work became spontaneous. In the early 1940s Baziotes met the Americans Jackson Pollock and Robert Motherwell, Abstract Expressionists who were also influenced by Surrealism. Baziotes was in their circle, frequenting the same clubs and exhibiting in the same art galleries. His first one-man show was at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery in 1944. He taught at the Brooklyn Museum the Museum of Modern Art, Hunter College, and New York University. In 1965 the Guggenheim Museum held a Memorial Exhibition. “I want my pictures to take effect very slowly,” the artist wrote in 1947, “to obsess and haunt.”

This exhibition has been supported through the generosity of the Audrey and Bernard Berman Endowment Fund, the Leon C. and June W. Holt Endowment, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

William Baziotes: Surrealist Watercolors would not have been possible without the enthusiastic support of Susan Teller.

Yellow Creature with Fist, 1936-39, gouache and watercolor. © Estate of William Baziotes