Transcendent Transcendentalists features abstract works by American modernists Raymond Jonson (1891–1982), Emil Bisttram (1895–1976), and Stuart Walker (1904–1940), all of whom were members of the Transcendental Painting Group (TPG). Founded in 1938 by Jonson, the short-lived collective of artists promoted abstract, non-representational painting that explored the connection between art, spirituality, and the metaphysical world. Members of the TPG included Agnes Pelton (1881–1961), Lawren Harris (1885–1970), and Florence Miller Pierce (1918–2007), among others.
Emil Bisttram, Marine #4 (Marina # 4), 1950. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George A. Schriever.
Transcendent Transcendentalists showcases 14 paintings by Jonson, Bisttram, and Walker from the Museum’s American art collection, along with 12 airbrushed watercolor paintings by Jonson never before exhibited in an art museum and on temporary loan from March 30 through July 7, 2019, from the Collection of Ronald and Maxine Linde. The installation explores how the three Transcendentalists experimented with space, light, and design in an effort to reach, depict, and guide viewers to higher planes of spirituality through abstract works. The installation complements and offers additional context for the upcoming special-engagement exhibition Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist.
Transcendent Transcendentalists is organized by Phoenix Art Museum. It is made possible through the support of the Henry Luce Foundation.
Raymond Jonson, Zodiac Suite, 1938. Oil on canvas. Collection of Ronald and Maxine Linde. © University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque.
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