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American Abstraction

Beatrice Mandelman and Jeffrey Wasserman

March 16 – May 22, 2021

Beatrice Mandelman Untitled, c. 1960
Beatrice Mandelman Mexico, c. 1950
Beatrice Mandelman Untitled, c. 1960
Beatrice Mandelman Sea Shapes (#2), c. 1960
Jeffrey Wasserman Night Life, 1992
Jeffrey Wasserman The Garden Gate: A Man's Estate, 1987
Jeffrey Wasserman The New Dawn, 1988
Jeffrey Wasserman The Garden Gate, 1987
Morris Barazani Untitled (Blue), c. 1963
Paul Jenkins Phenomena Right Beckons, 2008

Press Release

Rosenberg & Co. is pleased to present American Abstraction: Beatrice Mandelman + Jeffrey Wasserman, an exhibition highlighting the paintings and collages of these two artists of the twentieth century.

While abstraction in the United States can undeniably trace its legacy to the impact of European Modernism, it is also a product of a distinctly American ethos and environment. Drawing inspiration from metropolises like New York City to the vast landscapes of the Southwest, abstraction in the United States is a unique response to both rapid industrial growth and immense natural beauty. In their works, Beatrice Mandelman and Jeffrey Wasserman preserve the influence of artists such as Henri Matisse and Fernand Léger—with whom Mandelman studied—but developed their own abstract vocabularies.

Mandelman and Wasserman both emerged from the art world of New York; Mandelman a graduate of the Arts Students League and Wasserman a member of the downtown scene. Wasserman flourished amidst the artists of SoHo in the 1970s and 80s and evoked the dynamism of the city in his works. The two artists also share in a tradition of departure, both leaving the city to seek out a renewed sense of freedom in the natural landscape. In 1944, Mandelman moved to Taos, New Mexico, while Wasserman moved upstate to the Hudson Valley in the early nineties. In New Mexico, Mandelman became the center of a group known as the Taos Moderns, which included artists such as Agnes Martin and Louis Ribak, and encouraged a new style of abstraction influenced by the American desert. Finding a similar sense of the sublime in both the Taos area and the Hudson River Valley, Mandelman and Wasserman engaged, at a different pace, with the vibrancy of the prosaic, mediating abstracted landscapes with a repertoire of memorable symbols and diacritics.

United in this exhibition, the bright and lyrical works of Mandelman and Wasserman convey unique forms of American abstraction. Their work is shown alongside contemporary American artists Maysey Craddock, Dorothy Dehner, Paul Jenkins, Tom John, Larry Rivers, and Theodoros Stamos.

BEATRICE MANDELMAN (b. 1912, Newark, NJ, d. 1998, Taos, New Mexico) was part of a group of artists known as the Taos Moderns, and was a founder of the Taos Valley Art School. During her lifetime, she exhibited at the Chicago Art Institute; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Today, her works are included in public collections across the United States, including such venerable institutions as the Art Institute of Chicago; the Denver Art Museum; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; works are also on long-term loan at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

JEFFREY WASSERMAN​ (b. 1946, Westchester County, NY, d. 2006, Millerton, NY) was born to parents who were first-generation Americans, both of Russian Jewish descent. As a young boy, Wasserman discovered a copy of Art Treasures of the Louvre that inspired his earliest interests in art. After studying with the Color Field painter Friedel Dzubas, he attended the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, receiving his BFA in Painting in 1968. In 1969 he attended the Royal College of Art, where he studied with Francis Bacon. Subsequently, the abstract painter Edward Avedisian hired Wasserman as a studio assistant, positioning him at the heart of Soho during the 1970s. In 1992, Wasserman moved to upstate New York, where he continued to paint until his death in 2006.

Rosenberg & Co. is a salon-style space with a focus on the highest standards of connoisseurship and expertise. Rosenberg & Co. exhibits an international roster of works by prominent Impressionist and Modern artists and continues the legacy of working with contemporary artists.