John Hultberg “The Painter of The In-Between”

Anita Shapolsky Gallery

poster for John Hultberg “The Painter of The In-Between”
[Image: John Hultberg “The Well”, 1954, Oil on canvas, 27 x 32 in.]

This event has ended.

The Anita Shapolsky Gallery & AS Art Foundation present John Hultberg - Painter of the In-Between. A show continuing a nearly four-decade relationship with the art of John Hultberg. Also, on display are works by Martha Jackson, Lynn Drexler, Michael Loew, William Manning, and Zero Mostel; all artists who crossed paths on Monhegan Island. Off the coast of Maine, it has for decades cast a spell. It’s genius loci inspiring and nourishing a wide range of artists and stories.

The groundbreaking art dealer Martha Jackson, herself a painter, would champion the causes of many artists she admired, including John Hultberg. In 1961 they would travel together to Monhegan Island. He was immediately taken by the place reminiscent of where he grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. She assisted him in acquiring a home where he would spend much of the next 40 years, greatly influencing his oeuvre. His works are in 140 international institutions, including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, Pittsburg, PA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museo Tamayo, Mexico; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Holland, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and many others. Hultberg should be reevaluated.

Hultberg is not easily placed within the timeline or visual familiarity of postwar styles and approaches to advanced painting. His work is abstracted yet representational vistas and interiors suggest an almost cinematic or ‘graphic novel’ look. These ‘mindscapes’ hint at surrealist symbolist and metaphysical painting, saying of himself, “I am a painter of the in-between’. His subjective, interiorized images evince an immediacy of expression attenuated by time and memory becoming metaphors for a personal vision.

Lynne Drexler would marry Hultberg and together they would spend summers on the island. Drexler was inspired by the island’s beauty, its community of artists, as well as her appreciation for colorists, notably Cézanne and Matisse. Her work has recently seen a surge in popularity.

As a loose confederacy, Jackson, Drexler, Loew, Manning, and Mostel shared a sense of Hultberg’s ‘in-betweenness’. They were attracted to romantic notions of the rational world; however, they would filter their experience through an expressive existential prism. A culture-nature duality would become their tacit subject; distinctly contrasting with the largely formalist tenets of Abstract Expressionism’s master narrative.



from September 14, 2023 to November 22, 2023


John Hultberg

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