Princeton University alumnus Preston H. Haskell III (Class of 1960), will discuss the process of collecting modern and contemporary art in conversation with Pulitzer Prize–winning author and art critic Mark Stevens (Class of 1973) this Friday, May 30, at 3 p.m. in the University’s McCormick Hall, Room 101.
The event follows a book signing at 2:30 p.m. and precedes a reception in the galleries.
Mr. Haskell’s talk, “Collecting Abstraction,” highlights Princeton University Art Museum’s newest exhibition, “Rothko to Richter: Mark-Making in Abstract Painting From the Collection of Preston H. Haskell,” which opened last Saturday.
The exhibition features 27 paintings by some of the most important artists of the 20th century and provides a window onto the evolution of process, mark-making, and abstraction in the second half of the 20th century.
Mr. Haskell is a long-standing Museum benefactor and former chair of its Advisory Council.
“Rothko to Richter,” features work by 23 pioneering American, European, and Canadian artists, including Josef Albers, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Jean Dubuffet, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, Morris Louis, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Mark Rothko and Frank Stella.
The work on display is drawn from the period between 1950 and 1990, an era whose commitment to artistic experimentation is rivaled only by the first decades of the 20th century, when abstraction was first introduced in Europe and America.
These 40 years were a time of extraordinary creative ferment, when the very nature of abstract painting was hotly contested. The world of abstract art saw some dramatic developments. Experimentation with various methods of applying paint to a surface was common, with results that sometimes emphasized and sometimes obliterated traces of the artist’s hand.
Part of the exhibition focuses on artists like Jack Goldstein and Robert Rauschenberg who examine abstraction and mark-making in a way that is self-conscious and with a considerable degree of irony. Such work examines notions of authenticity and expression.
Curated by Kelly Baum, Haskell Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, the eponymous exhibition explores how changes in process and technique, specifically in mark-making, signal broader changes to abstract painting. It is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, published by the Museum. The catalogue has illustrations of all 27 paintings on view as well as contributions from Ms. Baum and essays on the artists.
The artists whose work Mr. Haskell collected represent movements as diverse as Abstract Expressionism, Color Field painting, Minimalism, Op art and Postmodernism. They sought to redefine abstraction for new social and cultural milieus.
“Rothko to Richter: Mark-Making in Abstract Painting From the Collection of Preston H. Haskell” will be on view through October 5. The exhibition will then travel to The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida, for an exhibition opening January 2015.
There will also be a lecture by Ms. Baum, titled “Mark, Maker, Method,” in the University’s McCosh 50, on Thursday, July 17, at 5:30 p.m.
Admission to the Princeton University Art Museum is free. Gallery hours are: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. In addition, the exhibition will be open on Sunday, June 1, and Monday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (609) 258-3788, or visit: www.artmuseum.princeton.edu.