Action Painting – Exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler/Switzerland


Fondation Beyeler

Action Painting
January 27 – May 12, 2008


Karel Appel – Arman – Lynda Benglis – Norman Bluhm – Jean Fautrier – Sam Francis – Helen Frankenthaler – Arshile Gorky – Hans Hartung – Eva Hesse – Gerhard Hoehme – Hans Hofmann – Asger Jorn – Franz Kline – Willem de Kooning – Lee Krasner – Morris Louis – Roberto Matta – Joan Mitchell – Robert Motherwell – Ernst Wilhelm Nay – Jackson Pollock – Kazuo Shiraga – Pierre Soulages – Clyfford Still – Cy Twombly – Wols



Jackson Pollock
Out of the Web: Number 7, 1949
Oil and enamel on fiberboard, 122 x 244 cm
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
© 2008, ProLitteris, Zurich
Courtesy Fondation Beyeler

Jackson Pollock, circling like a dancer around a canvas spread out on the floor, dripping and throwing paint – this image of an “action painter” not only made Pollock the leading representative of one of the most influential avant-gardes of the twentieth century. It also became an unforgettable icon of modern art in general. The exhibition Action Painting is devoted to the phenomenon of abstract gestural painting, which emerged in Europe and the United States in the wake of the Second World War. Despite the differences between European L’art informel and American Abstract Expressionism, by hindsight the similarities appear greater. Artists on both sides of the Atlantic dared a revolutionary new beginning by transcending the traditional borderlines of art. By radically concentrating on the spontaneous gesture, they believed, the artist’s personality and state of mind would be directly expressed in the painted image.


Sam Francis
© 2008, ProLitteris, Zurich
© Kurt Blum
Courtesy Fondation Beyeler

On our journey through this mythical phase of modernism we encounter, in addition to Pollock, other renowned artists like Willem de Kooning, Clyfford Still, Sam Francis, Roberto Matta, and Pierre Soulages, as well as several who were celebrated at the time, then forgotten, and have since been rediscovered. The paintings on view by Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Arshile Gorky, Wols, Morris Louis, and Kazuo Shiraga, reflect some of the multifarious visual potentials of color and painterly gesture. The following generation is represented by Eva Hesse and Cy Twombly, who expanded the concept of Action Painting. The exhibition presents about one hundred works by twenty-seven artists from Europe, South and North America, and Asia.




Espaces Arts & Objets
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~ by Stampfli & Turci on February 8, 2008.

One Response to “Action Painting – Exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler/Switzerland”

  1. Looks like a beautiful exhibition. Lets hope the Zurich art thieves don’t hear about it.

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