The half-century or so following the end of World War II was one of the most fertile periods in the history of abstract painting. The works featured in Postwar Abstraction: Variations highlight a period of remarkable creativity, when ideas of abstraction and the nature and limits of artistic mediums were being hotly contested by artists. Associated with movements as diverse as Abstract Expressionism, Color Field painting, Hard-Edge painting, Op Art, and Minimalism, artists continually sought to redefine what painting was and what it could be.
Postwar Abstraction: Variations presents longstanding Museum highlights by Howard Mehring, Sam Gilliam, Leon Polk Smith, Helen Frankenthaler, Sam Francis, Ellsworth Kelly, Paul Reed, and Gene Davis, along with rarely shown works by Suzanne McClelland, Mark Tobey, Richard Pousette-Dart, Ida Kohlmeyer, Leonardo Nierman, and Herbert Bayer. Their work, and the work of many other artists, forms the Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s outstanding collection of postwar American art from 1952 to 1996.
Credit: Ellsworth Kelly (American, 1923-2015) Red Blue (detail), 1963. Oil on canvas. Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Museum purchase, Washington Gallery of Modern Art Collection, 1968.155