Gertrude Barrer (1921-1997)
Gertrude Barrer studied with Will Barnet at the Art Students League in the mid-1940s and in 1946 exhibited with the Indian Space painters in the "8 and a Totem Pole" show at Gallerie Neuf. Reviewing her first solo show at the gallery in 1947, Clement Greenberg praised Barrer as "one of the most promising painters in the country. During the late 40s Barrer served as art editor of Iconograph magazine, one of the earliest of the artist-run magazines.
Barrer's abstracted forms were invariably based in nature, even as they became increasingly expressionistic. Her work was included in the 1950 Whitney Biennial and Samuel Kootz'"New Talent" show in 1951.
Two Mythic Figures
Tempera, Ink and Varnish, 1950, 8-7/8 x 11-3/4, signed and dated in ink, on cream colored wove paper, sheet considerably toned with traces of tape at four corners verso.
Tree Motif Abstraction
Gouache, Oil and ink, ca. 1950, 11 x 14-5/8, signed in ink, on stiff textured cream charcoal paper, a corner crease affecting signature at lower right corner recto, some staining from oil to sheet verso.
Blue and Red Abstraction
Gouache and Ink, 1950, 10 x 7-3/4, signed and dated in ink, on textured cream J Whatman Hand Made watermarked paper, a few tiny stray marks of paint in the large margins. Another classic image from 1950 which reveal Barrer's characteristic structures; combining elements of natural, architectural and machine form, all on an epic scale.
Untitled : Horizontal Abstractions
Ink and Crayon Resist, 11 x 12-7/8, signed in pencil verso, on stiff crream wove paper. This early piece, with it's dark, subterranean ground, earthy palette and ghostly germinative forms, relates strongly to Barrer's other mature paintings. As she embraced, personalized, then transcended Indian Space concerns for all-over patterning and ambiguity between positive and negative form, Barrer infused her own hybred imagery with elements of both organic and man made structure, and monumental and mythic themes.
in Red & Black
Gouache & ink on illustration board, 1970's-80's, 7-5/8 x 6-3/4, signed lower left in ink. A lyrical later piece from this important New York and Connecticut painter and illustrator, who also worked in fresco, tile, collage and printmaking. Gertrude Barrer was one of the founding members of the Indian Space Painters group in New York City in the 1940's; along with Will Barnet, Steve Wheeler, Peter Busa, Howard Daum, Ruth Lewin and others. Her work is enjoying renewed attention from historians and collectors and additional works are available. Please Inquire.
Black and Orange Vertical Abstraction
Ink and Pastel, early 1990's,12-1/16 x 9-1/4, signed in pencil, on thin cream wove paper, some handling creases to left and right image edges. A late piece showing Barrer's return to abstract imagery.
(Fish, Fish, Heads)
Gouache, 1940's, 10 x 6, signed in pencil, on thick cream wove paper. Slight handling creases at bottom edge, slight cockling from gouache.
Portrait of Woman with Red Headband
Fresco, 1970's-80's, signed lower left, 11 x 10-1/2, painted plaster on panel, thin wood slat frame.
Etching, 1975, ed. unknown but small, only a few signed proofs, 8 x 9-3/4, signed and titled in pencil, on thick stiff cream Murillo wove paper, a few small stains in the margins.
Etching, 1975, ed. unknown but small, only a few signed proofs, 8 x 9-3/4, signed and titled in pencil, on thick stiff cream wove Murillo paper, slight handling crease to upper right corner.
Ink and Gouache with Wash Transfer, early 1990's, 10-3/4 x 8, signed in pencil, on stiff cream wove paper.