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Abstract Expressionism
by Gary Comenas

abstract expressionism

| 1800-1899 | 1900-1909 | 1910-1919 | 1920-1924 | 1925-1927 | 1928-1929 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934 | 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1939 |
| 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943 | 1944 | 1945 (a) | 1945 (b) | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 (a) | 1948 (b) | 1949 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953 | 1954 | 1955 |
| 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1959 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 1970-1974 | 1975 - 1979 | 1980s +|

4. The Rise of Pop
(1960 - 1969)

Abstract Expressionism1800-1938 | 1939-1945 | 1946-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970 - end

(Click on a year or highlighted event)


1960: Nowhere

Sketchbook No. 1: Three Americans is released.
Clement Greenberg offers Lee Krasner a show.
Franz Kline is included in Who's Who in Art (London).
Barnett Newman finishes his third and forth paintings of the Stations of the Cross series.
Rothko sells.
Mark Rothko buys a house.
Willem de Kooning returns from Italy and hires an assistant.
The times, they were a-changin'.
Grove Press publishes De Kooning by Harriet Janis and Rudi Blesh.
"Adolph Gottlieb: New Paintings" at French & Co. in New York.
"Ray Gun" exhibition at the Judson Gallery.
Franz Kline's third solo exhibition at the Sidney Janis Gallery.
Queen of Hearts is performed in front of a backdrop painted by Franz Kline.
Small solo Rothko exhibition at The Phillips Collection.
Frank Stella's first one-man exhibition at Leo Castelli.
Willem de Kooning and Ruth Kligman spend the summer in Southampton.
Franz Kline departs for Europe with Elisabeth Ross Zogbaum.
Franz Kline punches French artist Jean Fautrier at the 30th Annual Venice Biennale.
Franz Kline visits Peggy Guggenheim's collection in Venice.
Franz Kline in Italy.
Franz Kline and Elisabeth fly from Rome to New York.
Willem de Kooning goes on a bender in San Francisco.
"An Exhibition of British Abstract Painting" at the RBA (Royal Society of British Artists) Galleries, London.
Barnett Newman rents a space in Carnegie Hall.
The Phillips Collection annex, including their Rothko room, opens in Washington.
Willem de Kooning gets in a fight at the Cedar and is sued for $100,000.

1961: Why Willem de Kooning punched Clement Greenberg

John Graham dies in London England.
Robert Motherwell begins to make prints.
Robert Motherwell retrospective at the VI Bienal de Arte, Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Rothko sells eight paintings.
Peggy Guggenheim sues Jackson Pollock's estate.
Adolph Gottlieb is awarded third prize at the Pittsburgh International Exhibition, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh.
Ben Heller buys Barnett Newman.
Mark Rothko exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art.
Barnett Newman's brother dies.
Franz Kline exhibition at The Collector's Gallery in New York.
Mark Rothko visits Dr. Grokest.
Artists denounce The New York Times art critic John Canaday.
Barnett Newman battles Erwin Panofsky in Art News.
Franz Kline is admitted into hospital.
Willem de Kooning buys more land in the Springs.
Franz Kline hangs a show.
"Gottlieb" exhibition at the Galeria del Ariete in Milan, Italy.
Franz Kline attends 30th reunion of Lehighton High School.
Barnett Newman offers $500 to the Carnegie Museum of Art.
Mark Rothko visits England.
"American Abstract Expressionists and Imagists" at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Willem de Kooning punches Clement Greenberg.
Claes Oldenburg opens The Store.
Mark Rothko donates Number 19, 1958 to The Museum of Modern Art.
Willem de Kooning has an affair with Marina Ospina.

1962: The Harvard Murals

Kurt Seligmann dies after accidentally shooting himself in the head.
Franz Kline has a heart attack and is unable to paint.
Mark Rothko moves his studio from downtown to uptown.
Mark Rothko agrees to do the Harvard murals.
Mark Rothko's prices continue to rise.
Barnett Newman casts Here I (To Marcia).
Clement Greenberg criticizes Harold Rosenberg.
"Geometric Abstraction in America" at the Whitney Museum. Katherine Dreier dies.
Willem de Kooning becomes a U.S. citizen.
Willem de Kooning exhibition at the Sidney Janis Gallery.
Willem de Kooning meets Mera McAlister.
Mark Rothko complains about depression to Dr. Grokest.
The Club closes.
Mark Rothko sells paintings to pay for his brother's medical costs.
Ed Mobley oversees renovation of Willem de Kooning's Accabonac house.
Franz Kline dies.
Franz Kline's funeral is held.
Franz Kline is buried in Wilkes-Barre.
Mark Rothko visits Dr. Grokest again.
Philip Guston retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum opens.
A memorial is held for Franz Kline at Grace Church, New York.
"Formalists" at the Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, DC.
"Something New is Cooking" is published in Life magazine.
Mark Rothko visits Dr. Grokest for the third time in three months.
Andy Warhol exhibits his soup cans for the first time in a public gallery.
Allan Stone sells de Kooning.
Mark Rothko trades Untitled (1960) for Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea.
"Newman-De Kooning, an exhibition of 'two founding fathers'" opens at the Allan Stone Gallery.
The President of Harvard University visits Mark Rothko in his studio to view the Harvard murals.
"The New Realists" group show at the Sidney Janis Gallery.
Two Rothko paintings are featured in House and Garden magazine.
Elaine de Kooning paints President Kennedy.
Arshile Gorky retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.
Mark Rothko's Harvard murals arrive in Cambridge.

1963: Toward a New Abstraction

Kay Sage commits suicide.
Robert Motherwell signs with Marlborough - Gerson.
Robert Motherwell visits London and Paris.
The Cedar Street Tavern closes.
Adolph Gottlieb is awarded prize of Grand Premio at the VII Bienal de Sao Paolo, Brazil.
William Baziotes dies of lung cancer.
Ruth Kligman introduces Mark Rothko to Andy Warhol (sort of).
Mark Rothko goes to Harvard for the hanging of his murals.
Harold Rosenberg praises Barnett Newman in Vogue magazine.
"Pop Art - Cult of the Commonplace" is published in Time magazine.
The renovated Jewish Museum opens with a Robert Rauschenberg retrospective.
Willem de Kooning moves back in with Joan Ward and their daughter LIsa in the Springs.
Mark Rothko's Harvard murals are exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum.
"Toward a New Abstraction" at the Jewish Museum - focuses on "hard edge" artists incl. Kenneth Noland and Frank Stella.
Robert Motherwell spends the summer in Provincetown.
Mark Rothko signs with the Marlborough Galleries.
Willem de Kooning begins an affair with Susan Brockman.
Christopher Rothko is born to Mark and Mell Rothko.
Barnett Newman visits Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE) studio.
Life magazine proclaims Pop Art a "best-seller" in the art market.
Barnett Newman's Model of a Synagogue is exhibited at the Jewish Museum.
Marlborough Fine Art Ltd. opens its New York branch - the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery.
Willem De Kooning retrieves his possessions.
Christmas at the Rothkos.

1964: The Rothko Chapel

Robert Motherwell is awarded the 4th Guggenheim International Award.
Barnett Newman paints Seventh Station, Eighth Station, Ninth Station and completes Be II.
Mark Rothko sells.
Willem De Kooning plans a retrospective.
Joan Ward and Lisa moved back to New York.
Jasper Johns retrospective at the Jewish Museum.
Willem de Kooning receives doors.
Franz Kline's mother dies.
"Post-Painterly Abstraction" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art - Greenberg writes on abstraction after Abstract Expressionism
Joseph Hirshhorn and Harold Diamond clean de Kooning out.
Barnett Newman completes color lithographs.
Barnett Newman visits Europe for the first time.
"Four Germinal Painters" at the U.S. Pavilion of the 32nd Venice Biennale.
Mark Rothko moves his studio to East Sixty-ninth Street.
Mark Rothko is commissioned to do the Rothko Chapel.
Barnett Newman's wife retires.
Willem de Kooning gets a medal from the White House.
Joseph Hirshhorn buys more de Koonings.
Allan Kaprow asks "Should the Artist Be a Man of the World?" - "Pollockian" artist is replaced by "Warholian" celebrity.
Philip Johnson argues with Mark Rothko over the Rothko Chapel.
Barnett Newman travels to Seattle for a symposium of contemporary art.
Harold Rosenberg profiles Willem de Kooning in Vogue magazine.
Donald Judd writes about Barnett Newman.

1965: Scull Sells

Milton Avery dies.
Robert Motherwell creates the Lyric Suite series.
Adolph Gottlieb receives American Academy of Achievement award in Dallas, Texas.
Burgoyne Diller dies.
Barnett Newman makes his first steel sculpture.
Mark Rothko signs a $250,000 contract for the Houston Chapel murals.
"The Decisive Years, 1943 to 1953" at the Institute of Contemporary Art.
Willem de Kooning formally ends his relationship with Sidney Janis.
Mark Rothko receives a Creative Arts Award medal from Brandeis University.
Willem de Kooning sues Sidney Janis.
Willem de Kooning and Susan Brockman move.
Willem de Kooning retrospective at Smith College.
David Smith dies in an automobile accident.
"New York School: The First Generation: Paintings of the 1940s and 1950s" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Robert Motherwell visits Paris, Venice, Dubrovnik, Athens, the Greek Islands and London.
Susan Brockman moves back to New York.
Willem de Kooning sorts out legalities, including a Will.
Willem de Kooning hires Michael Wright.
Willem de Kooning has an affair with Molly Barnes.
"The New York School: The First Generation, Paintings of the 1940s and 1950s" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
"Lee Krasner; paintings, drawings and collages" exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.
Barnett Newman travels to Brazil to see his work at the Eighth São Paulo Bienal.
"Robert Motherwell" retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art.
The director of the Tate in London visits Mark Rothko.
Robert Scull sells thirteen Abstract Expressionist paintings at auction - Newsweek asks if Abstract Expressionism is "passé."
Barnett Newman's mother, Anna, dies.
Mark Rothko hires Roy Edwards to be his assistant.
Philip Guston has an affair.

1966: Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?

Robert Motherwell executes large mural for the John F. Kennedy Federal Building.
Adolph Gottlieb's studio and its contents are destroyed by a fire.
Barnett Newman completes Here III.
"Philip Guston: recent paintings and drawings" at the Jewish Museum.
Mark Rothko hires Ray Kelly as an additional assistant.
Willem de Kooning is admitted to Southampton Hospital after a binge.
De Kooning attends Lisa's birthday party in NY and returns to Long Island alone.
André Breton dies in Paris.
Barnett Newman has his first solo exhibition in a museum.
Barnett Newman defends the Stations of the Cross in a public discussion with Thomas Hess - "Tragedy demands black, white and gray."
Barnett Newman "confronts" the primary colours, blue, red and yellow.
Frank O'Hara is hit by a car on Fire Island.
Willem de Kooning paints new women.
Mark Rothko visits the Tate Gallery in London.
Philip Guston ends his affair and returns to Woodstock.

1967: Broken Obelisk

Robert Motherwell begins his Open series.
Adolph Gottlieb is appointed to The Art Commission for the City of New York.
Robert Motherwell becomes Fellow in Perpetuity of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
New York: The New Art Scene is published.
Barnett Newman continues his Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue paintings, completing one in acrylics.
Mark Rothko's worth is estimated to be $207,538.
Walker and Company publishes twenty-four charcoal drawings by Willem de Kooning from 1966.
Willem De Kooning joins M. Knoedler and Company.
Mark Rothko agrees to donate paintings to the Tate Gallery in London.
Willem de Kooning paints.
News of Mark Rothko's bequest to the Tate Gallery in London appears in The New York Times.
Mark Rothko calls John de Menil to tell him the chapel paintings are finished.
Joan Ward and Lisa return to the Springs.
Barnett Newman's Voice of Fire is exhibited in the U.S. Pavilion at Expo '67 in Montreal, Canada.
An open letter is published in The New York Times signed by Barnett Newman and Adolph Gottlieb.
Barnett Newman speaks on "The Spiritual Dimension of Contemporary Art."
Ad Reinhardt dies.
Barnett Newman's Broken Obelisk is unveiled.
"Sculpture in the Environment" exhibition includes Broken Obelisk.
Barnett Newman visits the opening of ROSC '67 in Dublin.
Willem De Kooning's first exhibition opens at M. Knoedler and Company.
"Don Quixote in Springs" appears in Newsweek - de Kooning interview.
Mark Rothko gives Sketch for Mural 6 (1958) to the Tate Gallery in London.
Mark Rothko's chapel paintings go into storage.
Willem de Kooning ends up in Southampton Hospital (again) after a binge.
An open letter against anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union is published in the New York Review of Books.

1968: Aneurysm

Robert Motherwell makes silkscreens for the Spoleto Festival.
Barnett Newman completes Anna's Light.
Barnett Newman writes the foreword for a new edition of Prince Kropotkin's memoirs.
Barnett Newman travels to Europe.
Willem de Kooning visits Europe.
Adolph Gottlieb retrospective runs concurrently at the Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney.
"Dada, Surrealism and Their Heritage" at The Museum of Modern Art - includes Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns.
Martin Luther King is assassinated.
Barnett Newman is asked to do Martin Luther King prints.
Barnett Newman is awarded an honorary professorship in drawing from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Mark Rothko is admitted into hospital with an aneurysm.
Mark Rothko is inducted into the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
Mark Rothko's contract expires with the Marlborough Gallery.
Barnett Newman moves his studio to 35 White Street.
The Rothkos go to Provincetown for the summer.
Mark Rothko writes to the Tate Gallery about his bequest of the Seagram murals.
Michael Wright resigns.
The 1968 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party is held in Chicago, Illinois.
Mark Rothko hires Jonathan Ahearn as an assistant.
Pace Gallery negotiates with Mark Rothko.
Mark Rothko visits Dr. Grokest.
Mark Rothko writes a new Will.
Willem De Kooning retrospective in Holland opens at the Stedelijk.
Willem de Kooning visits his mother.
Marcel Duchamp dies in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.
Willem de Kooning's mother dies.
The director of the Tate Gallery writes to Mark Rothko about the Seagram murals.
Artists protest Mayor Daley's actions at Richard Feigen Gallery, Chicago.
Mark Rothko begins an inventory of his works.
Willem de Kooning and Joan Ward survive a car crash.
Willem de Kooning retrospective opens at the Tate Gallery in London.
Mark Rothko sees a psychiatrist.
Robert Motherwell begins incorporating images of Gauloises cigarette packets into his paintings.
Mark Rothko proposes giving the Phillips Collection "first choice of a group" of paintings.

1969: A Separation and a Party

Mark Rothko separates from Mell and moves into his 69th Street Studio.
Robert Motherwell creates a silkscreen for the International Rescue Committee.
Robert Motherwell separates from Helen Frankenthaler.
Mark Rothko signs his second contract with the Marlborough Gallery.
Dore Ashton visits Mark Rothko in his studio.
Mark Rothko hires Oliver Steindecker as an assistant.
Mark Rothko begins an affair with Ad Reinhardt's widow, Rita.
Rita Reinhardt negotiates with Marlborough.
Barnett Newman solo exhibition opens at M. Knoedler and Company.
Opening night gala for the Willem de Kooning retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art.
The director of the Tate Gallery writes to Rothko regarding the conditions of his bequest.
Willem de Kooning builds a door that leads to nowhere.
The first meeting of the directors of the Mark Rothko Foundation takes place.
John and Dominique de Menil donate money toward the purchase of Barnett Newman's Broken Obelisk.
Mark Rothko is awarded an honorary doctorate by Yale University.
"The New American Painting and Sculpture: The First Generation" exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art.
The Mark Rothko Foundation is incorporated.
Barnett Newman speaks at anti-expressway rally at the Whitney Museum.
Willem de Kooning goes to Italy.
Barnett Newman exhibits Zim Zum I at "The First International Exhibition of Modern Sculpture" in Japan.
Mark Rothko receives a cardboard model of the planned Rothko room at the Tate Gallery.
Willem de Kooning sculpts.
The director of the Tate Gallery visits Mark Rothko in his studio.
Barnett Newman travels to Houston to discuss a site for Broken Obelisk.
Barnett Newman speaks at Dan Flavin retrospective in Canada.
"New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940 - 1970" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The director of the Tate Gallery visits Rothko again to view ten of the Seagram murals.
Bernard Reis advises Rothko to consumate his agreement with the Tate.
Mark Rothko signs a letter of agreement with the Tate Gallery.
18 Mark Rothko paintings are sold to the Marlborough Gallery.
Mark Rothko has a party.
Mark Rothko attends Katherine Kuh's Christmas party.
Mark Rothko donates three paintings to the Museum of Modern Art.

to page five

abstract expressionism

| 1800-1899 | 1900-1909 | 1910-1919 | 1920-1924 | 1925-1927 | 1928-1929 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934 | 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1939 |
| 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943 | 1944 | 1945 (a) | 1945 (b) | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 (a) | 1948 (b) | 1949 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953 | 1954 | 1955 |
| 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1959 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 1970-1974 | 1975 - 1979 | 1980s +|