About the Exhibition
One of the original Abstract Expressionist artists, Adolph Gottlieb was part of many artists’ groups and associations, some formal and some not. He worked year-round, yet had a longstanding habit of spending summers away from his home in New York City. Early in his career he would travel to Cape Ann to be near his friends Milton and Sally Avery and Mark Rothko and the larger colony of artists in East Gloucester and Rockport.
From 1946 to 1956 Gottlieb spent his summers in Provincetown where he could divide his days between his two great passions – art and sailing. Gottlieb’s practice was to spend mornings in the studio and afternoons on the water. Evenings were spent with friends and colleagues, including Robert Motherwell, Hans Hoffman, Karl Knaths, Weldon Kees and many more.
During his time in Provincetown Gottlieb worked almost exclusively on paper and a few small oils. His studio was too small for large paintings, and the focus on smaller work was part of his summer routine. The works he created in Provincetown extend from his Pictographs of the 1940s through to the beginnings of what would become his Burst paintings in 1956. Some of the major transitions in his art took place in the studio on Commercial Street, including his plans for the stained glass façade of the Steinberg Center in New York City and an incredibly creative period in 1956 that was part of a major transition year for him.
Gottlieb was fully part of the Provincetown art community during the decade he worked there. He was one of the organizers of Forum 49 and related events, and exhibited many of his works at the fledgling Provincetown Art Association. At the same time, Gottlieb was also a well-known and respected racer of small sailboats in the waters off the Cape.