Richard Pousette-Dart Chronology
Richard Pousette-Dart Chronology

1916

Richard Pousette-Dart, c 1958
Photo by Margo Friters-Drucke. c. 1958

Richard Warren Pousette-Dart is born on June 8 in Saint Paul, Minnesota to Nathaniel Pousette (1886 – 1965), a painter and writer, and Flora Louise Dart (1887 – 1969), a musician and poet. He has two sisters, one older, Louise, and one younger, Helen.

1918

The Pousette-Dart family moves to Valhalla, New York. Richard’s father, Nathaniel, exhibits his paintings and watercolors and joins the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson as the company’s first art director.

1922-23

Nathaniel Pousette-Dart edits the Distinguished American Artists publication series on painters Childe Hassam, Robert Henri, Winslow Homer, John Singer-Sargent, Abbott H. Thayer, and J.A.M. Whistler.

1924

The young Pousette-Dart, encouraged by his parents, begins painting at the age of eight.

1935

Pousette-Dart graduates from the Scarborough School, Scarborough-on-Hudson, New York.

1936

Pousette-Dart enrolls at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, which he decides to leave after a few months to pursue art independently.

1936-37

Pousette-Dart executes large stone sculptures in semi-abstract forms, influenced by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. He also begins to work in brass, a medium he will continue to explore throughout his career.

1937-38

He serves as an assistant both to the Art Deco sculptor Paul Manship and in a commercial photographic studio. Spends his days working and his nights painting, sculpting, and drawing.

The artist also begins experimenting with photography as an extension of his painting.

Pousette-Dart meets John Graham, an influential Russian émigré artist and writer. Graham’s book, System and Dialectics of Art (1937), which emphasizes myth and primitivism as avenues to the exploration of the unconscious mind, provides Pousette-Dart with inspiration for his understanding of the spiritual and social role of art. Pousette-Dart subsequently begins to experiment with automatism and totemic imagery in his painting.

His marriage to the dancer Blanche Grady is annulled.

1939

Pousette-Dart develops an interest in the art and culture of Northwest Coast Native Americans. His work begins to reflect this influence, as illustrated in such paintings as Birds and Fish (1939) and Bird Woman (1939 – 40).

The artist leaves his various jobs to devote himself full-time to his own artwork.

1941

Pousette-Dart has his first solo exhibition at The Artists’ Gallery in New York City. The Artists’ Gallery was a non-profit gallery that gave artists free exhibition space, plus the income from the sale of their works. Sponsors of the gallery included Josef Hoffman, Meyer Shapiro, and James Johnson Sweeney.

A brief second marriage to the artist Lydia Modi ends.

1942

Completes Symphony Number 1, The Transcendental (1941-42), one of the first large, mural-scale canvases of the emerging movement of Abstract Expressionism.

1943

Marian Willard Gallery holds a one-man show of works by Pousette-Dart, Forms in Brass.

At the Willard Gallery exhibition, Pousette-Dart meets Evelyn Gracey, a poet who will become his third wife and lifelong companion.

1944

His work is included in the seminal exhibition Forty American Moderns at Howard Putzel’s 67 Gallery, along with that of Milton Avery, Stuart Davis, Adolph Gottlieb, Morris Graves, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Mark Tobey, and also in Spring Salon for Young Artists at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery, alongside William Baziotes, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, and Hedda Sterne.

From 1944 through 1949 Pousette-Dart participates in the annual exhibitions of the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors. Pousette-Dart’s father was a founding member of this organization.

1945

Pousette-Dart has his second solo show at the Willard Gallery. The exhibition, entitled 7 Paintings, includes works such as The Edge (1943) and Figure (1944 – 45).

Putzel’s 67 Gallery includes Pousette-Dart in the show A Problem for Critics, with Arshille Gorky, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Lee Krasner, and Mark Rothko. David Porter Gallery in Washington, D.C. presents Pousette-Dart in the group exhibition A Painting Prophecy – 1950, the first major show of Abstract Expressionism outside of New York City.

He also exhibits work at the Autumn Salon for Young Artists at Art of This Century gallery along with Baziotes, Willem de Kooning, Motherwell, Pollock, Rothko, and Clyfford Still.

1946

Marries Evelyn Gracey. They live on 56th Street, near the East River.

The Willard Gallery holds two one-man exhibitions of work by Pousette-Dart: in May, with Paintings and Gouaches, and in December, with Forms in Brass and Watercolors.

1947

Symphony Number 1, The Transcendental (1941-42) is exhibited publicly as part of an important solo show at Art of This Century gallery. From this show Peggy Guggenheim purchases Spirit (1946).

Pousette-Dart is included in the annual exhibitions at The Art Institute of Chicago and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

The Pousette-Dart’s first child, Joanna, is born in April.

1948

Pousette-Dart joins the Betty Parsons Gallery, which opened in 1946 and showed the work of Pollock, Rothko, Still, Ad Reinhardt, and others. In his first year with the gallery, Pousette-Dart has two one-man shows: Paintings (March – April), and Brasses and Photographs (November – December).

Peggy Guggenheim presents her collection in the vacant Greek Pavilion at the 24th Venice Biennale. This exhibition, which included Pousette-Dart’s Spirit (1946), was the first European exhibition for many of the American abstractionists.

Attends meetings and lectures at an informal school in Greenwich Village called “Subjects of the Artist”, which was organized by Baziotes, David Hare, Motherwell, and Rothko. This group would later become known as the “Eighth Street Club”.

1949

The Museum of Modern Art in New York includes Pousette-Dart in the exhibition Contemporary American Painters.

Pousette-Dart presents works at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Sculpture, Watercolors, Drawings and Paintings, eventually becoming a regular contributor.

1950

The Museum of Modern Art acquires Number 11: A Presence (1949), the first of many works by Pousette-Dart that the institution will add to their collection.

Pousette-Dart attends a three-day closed conference for artists, the final activity of “Studio 35”, an organization which was established after “Subjects of the Artist” closed in 1949. The moderators of the event included Richard Lippold, Robert Motherwell, and Alfred Barr.

1951

The historic photograph of “The Irascibles”, which documented the central figures of the emerging New York School, including Pousette-Dart, is published in the January 15 issue of Life magazine. Look Magazine also prints a photo essay on the artist entitled “Spontaneous Kaleidoscopes”. Both items illustrate the positive reception that abstract art was receiving in America.

Pousette-Dart is awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Pousette-Dart’s work is included in the Museum of Modern Art exhibition Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America.

Lectures at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Wishing to isolate himself from the commercial pressures of the New York art world and assert himself creatively, Pousette-Dart moves his family from New York City to Sloatsburg, New York.

1952

Second child, Jonathan, is born in June.

Presents a talk entitled “What is the Relationship between Religion and Art?” at the Union Theological Seminary, in conjunction with the exhibition Contemporary Religious Art and Architecture.

1953

The Whitney Museum of American Art acquires the institution’s first work by Pousette-Dart, The Magnificent (1950 – 51), for the permanent collection.

1954

Peggy Guggenheim gives the painting Spirit (1940) to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art as part of a bequest of twenty-seven paintings that also includes work by Baziotes, André Masson, Pollock, and Yves Tanguy. The following year the museum uses the Guggenheim bequest as the basis of their first major exhibition of international Abstract and Surrealist painting

1958

The Pousette-Dart family moves to Suffern, New York, where the artist establishes his final studio

Golden Dawn (1952) is included in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s exhibition Nature in Abstraction

1959

Receives a Ford Foundation grant.

1959-61

Teaches painting at the New School for Social Research in New York City.

1961

Awarded the M.V. Kohnstamm Prize as part of The Art Institute of Chicago’s 64th Annual American Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, for his work Shadow of the Unknown Bird (1955 – 58).

Exhibits at the VI Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, Brazil.

1963

The Whitney Museum of American Art hosts Pousette-Dart’s first retrospective exhibition. The museum subsequently acquires the work Sky Presence (Morning) (1962 – 63).

1964

The Museum of Modern Art acquires the painting Radiance (1962 – 63).

Teaches graduate painting courses at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

1965

Awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Bard College, where he also teaches

Pousette-Dart is awarded second prize at the 29th Biennial of Contemporary American Painting at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

His work is included in the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art’s exhibition New York School: The First Generation: Paintings of the 1940s and 1950s.

His father Nathaniel Pousette-Dart dies.

1966

Delivers “Convocation Lecture” at the Minneapolis School of Art.

Presented with the National Council of the Arts Award for Excellence.

1967

Receives The National Endowment for the Arts Award for Individual Artists.

1968-69

Teaches painting at Columbia University, New York, where he also serves as guest critic.

1969

His mother Flora Pousette-Dart dies.

The Museum of Modern Art acquires the paintings Desert (1940), Fugue Number 2 (1943), and Chavade (1951)

The Whitney Museum of American Art acquires Presence, Ramapo Mist (1969)

Pousette-Dart is included in the Museum of Modern Art exhibition The New American Painting and Sculpture: The First Generation.

Richard Pousette-Dart, c 1958
Photo by Diane and Ray Witlin, c. 1952

1969-70

The Museum of Modern Art organizes, with Lucy Lippard as curator, a touring exhibition entitled Richard Pousette-Dart: Presences

1970-74

Teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York.

1971

Travels to Europe for the first time, visiting Paris, Chartres, Rome, Florence, and London.

1973

Spends two months in Provence, France, working on watercolors and drawings.

Pousette-Dart and his daughter Joanna both exhibit at the Whitney Museum’s Biennial Exhibition: Contemporary American Art.

1974

The Whitney Museum organizes a second survey exhibition of Pousette-Dart’s paintings, focusing on the period of 1963 to 1974, the years following his earlier retrospective.

Receives commission to complete a mural for the North Central Bronx Hospital in New York.

Joins Andrew Crispo Gallery in New York City.

1975

Pousette-Dart returns to Europe, traveling to Antibes, France, where he spends his time working on watercolors.

1980

Joins Marisa del Re Gallery in New York.

Teaches painting at the Art Students League, New York, which he will continue to do for the next decade.

1981

Receives the inaugural Distinguished Lifetime in Art award from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation.

Marisa del Re Gallery presents Richard Pousette-Dart: Presences: Black and White, 1978 – 80 in October – November. The New York Times’ critic Hilton Kramer declares the show the year’s best exhibition.

1982

Invited by the International Committee of the 40th Venice Biennale to exhibit in the main pavilion

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, acquires Presence, Ramapo Horizon (1975

Pousette-Dart is included in the exhibition Amerikanische Malerie: 1938 – 80 at the Ausstellungsleitung Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany

1983

Appointed the Milton Avery Distinguished Professor of Arts at Bard College.

Included in Modern American Painting at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

1985

Brown University’s David Winton Bell Gallery includes Pousette-Dart in the exhibition Flying Tigers: Painting and Sculpture in New York, 1939 – 46.

1986

Major retrospective exhibition, Transcending Abstraction: Richard Pousette-Dart, Paintings 1939 – 85, is held at the Museum of Art – Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s exhibition The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890 – 1985 features work by the artist.

1987

Included in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum exhibition Peggy Guggenheim’s Other Legacy, which travels to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquires Path of the Hero (1950).

1990

The most complete retrospective exhibition of the artist’s work, Richard Pousette-Dart, is organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in Indiana (October 14 – December 30). As part of the show, the artist is commissioned by the museum to design a monumental bronze door entitled Cathedral, based on a painting of the same name. The door is to adorn a new pavilion designed by the architect Edward Larrabee Barnes.

Marisa del Re Gallery, New York hosts solo show of works from the 1950s, entitled White Paintings.

1991

Richard Pousette-Dart travels to the Detroit Institute of Arts in Detroit, Michigan and the Columbus Museum in Columbus, Georgia

Joins ACA Gallery in New York and has an exhibition entitled Richard Pousette-Dart, Recent Paintings.

1992

A selection of works from Richard Pousette-Dart travels to its final venue, The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

Richard Pousette-Dart dies, October 25, in New York City.

1993

A memorial service is held for the artist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

ACA Gallery, New York hosts a memorial retrospective exhibition of paintings.

The Estate of Richard Pousette-Dart joins ACA Gallery in Munich, Germany.

1995

The Estate of Richard Pousette-Dart joins Knoedler & Company, New York.

1997-98

Retrospective exhibition entitled Richard Pousette-Dart: 1916 – 1992 is held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

1998

The Whitney Museum of American Art presents the exhibition Richard Pousette-Dart: The Studio Within

2001-02

An exhibition of works on paper organized by Konrad Oberhuber, The Living Edge: Richard Pousette-Dart (1916 – 1992), opens at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Germany. The show travels to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in Texas, and the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Boca Raton, Florida.

2005

Knoedler & Company, New York holds an exhibition titled Richard Pousette-Dart: Presences.

2006

The exhibition Transparent Reflections: Richard Pousette-Dart, Works on Paper (1940 – 1992) opens at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and travels to the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California, and the Cincinnati Art Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio.

2007-08

A retrospective exhibition, simply entitled Richard Pousette-Dart, is held at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, and later travels to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

2010

Pousette-Dart: Predominantly White Paintings exhibition is held at the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Several works by Pousette-Dart, including Desert (1940), Fugue Number 2 (1943), and Chavade (1951), are in the historical exhibition Abstract Expressionist: New York at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

2011

The contemporary New York gallery Luhring Augustine presents an exhibition of rarely seen paintings and sculpture made while the artist was living on East 56th Street in Manhattan. Entitled Richard Pousette-Dart: East River Studio, the show is co-curated by the artist Christopher Wool and the painter Joanna Pousette-Dart.