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Richard Pousette-Dart

American, 1916-1992


Curating Works


Richard Pousette-Dart was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1916. He grew up in Valhalla, New York and developed an early interest in art, influenced by his parents where his father was a painter and writer, on art, and his mother was a poet and musician. In 1936, Pousette-Dart attended Bard College, but after a year he left school and moved to New York City devoting himself to sculpture and painting. During the late 1930s and the early 1940s, Pousette-Dart found inspiration for his paintings in African, Oceanic, and Native American Art as well as European modernism. In 1941, Pousette-Dart secured his first one-man exhibition in New York and continued to exhibit at Betty Parsons Gallery and Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery. Pousette-Dart was included in the MoMA exhibition “Contemporary American Painting” and the Whitney Museum’s biennial in 1949. Pousette-Dart’s early paintings of the 1940s and 1950s are a synthesis of many styles, including Cubism, organic Surrealism, and included motifs from indigenous African and Native American art. Like many abstract expressionists, Pousette-Dart often worked with his canvases on the floor, applying the pigment directly from the tube and creating his own rhythm in handling the paint. In the 1950s Pousette-Dart began creating works that emphasized the tactility of the surface, where many layers of pigment would both hide and reveal specific iconography.Pousette-Dart held various teaching positions at institutions such as the New School for Social Research and the Art Students League. His work can be found in the collections of MoMA, Metropolitan, Guggenheim, Whitney, Hirshhorn Museum, Pallazo, Tel Aviv Museum, and Vatican Museum.