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Last updated: 1/25/2017
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / Gallery News / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists

Jane Freilicher (American, 1924): Poet of Intimacy. Original Prints

Jennifer Bartlett, Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, Jonna Rae Brinkman, Louisa Chase, Chryssa / Sue Coe, Susan Crile,
Lesley Dill, Helen Frankenthaler, Jane Freilicher, Nancy Graves, Harmony Hammond, Judy Chicago,
Anita Jung, Elaine de Kooning, Joyce Kozloff, Lee Krasner, Karen Kunc, Ellen Lanyon, Georgia Marsh, Suzanne McClelland,
Phyllis McGibbon, Joan Mitchell, Elizabeth Murray, Judith Murray, Louise Nevelson, Judy Pfaff,
Jaune Quick-to-see Smith, Joan Root, Susan Rothenberg, Betye Saar, Niki de St. Phalle, Hollis Sigler, Kiki Smith,
Joan Snyder, Pat Steir, May Stevens, Dorothea Tanning, and Emmi Whitehorse

Womanshow 2006
As Peter Schjeldahl noted in a review of a retrospective of Jane Freilicher's works at the National Academy of Design, "The poet John Ashbery once remarked [that] 'from the moment that lefe cannot be one continual orgasm, real happiness is impossible and pleasant surprise is promoted to the front rank of the emotions.' He might have been talking about the art of Jane Freilicher, who has been a good friend of his for half a century. Sensual ardor damped down by ironic resignation is something that Freilicher's paintings share with Ashbery's paintings. Both induce an urbane and intellectual pleasure. . . . Freilicher, whose landscapes and cityscapes haven't been in fashion for even a moment of her long career, has a narrower expressive range [than John Ashbery's poems "whose meaning is anybody's guess"], and she works in a medium in which there is no obligation to make paraphrasable sense. Still, she is a wonderful absurdly underrated painter" ("Chez Jane," The New Yorker, 9/2/0002).

Freilicher became acquainted with Larry Rivers (who was inspired to try painting after watching her sketch during rehersals of a jazz group led by her husband Jack in which Rivers played tenor sax). In 1947, both Freilicher and Rivers studied with Hans Hofmann in New York and Provincetown and Freilicher embarked upon a life as a serious painter. During 1948-49, she studied at Columbia University with the art critic and historian Meyer Schapiro and received and MA, giving her a means of supporting herself as a teacher while she practised her vocation as a painter. Freilicher soon found herself part of a group that included her neighbor Kenneth Koch, his fellow-poets John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, and James Schuyler as well as the painters Fairfield Porter, Michael Goldberg, Joan Mitchell, Grace Hartigan, and Alex Katz. Stylistically distinct, these frends enjoyed each other's works and encouraged each other. As Freilicher told Klaus Kertess, "My poet friends didn't influence me directly with their work, but there was a sympathetic vibration, a natural syntax—a lack of pomposity or heavy symbolism—and something in their sensibility I felt an affinity for. Maybe it had something to do with intimism, an intimate kind of expression" (Kertess, 22-23). Like two of the painters she studied intently in the late 1940s, Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard, Freilicher became a poet of the intimate, personal view of the world. In 1952, she had the first of many solo exhibitions at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery; in the following years her works began appearing in exhibtions at the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many other museums. In 2003, she was awarded the Edwin Palmer Memorial Prize at the 178th Annual Exhibition of the National Academy of Design and honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Academy at their annual gala.

Selected Bibliography: John Ashbery, Jane Freilicher (NY: Fischbach Gallery, 1995); Robert Doty, ed. Jane Freilicher Paintings (Manchester NH: Currier Gallery of Art, 1986; the catalogue of a traveling museum retrospective that showed at the Currier Gallery in Manchester NH, the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton NY, the Contemporary Arts Musem in Houston TX, and the Marian Koogler McNay Art Museum in San Antonio TX. It also contained essyas by John Ashbery, Linda L. Cathcart, and John Yau); Klaus Kertess, Jane Freilicher (NY: Abrams, 2004, with an introduction by John Ashbery).
Still Life. Original lithograph, 1984. 175 signed & numbered impressions of which 25 were reserved for contributors (including Richard Avedon, Jim Dine, Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning, Alex Katz, R. B. Kitaj, and Larry Rivers) to a deluxe edition of John Ashbery's Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. Still lifes represent a mjaor portion of her work and many of them can be seen in Klaus Kertess' study. Image size: 387mm diameter. Price: $1700.

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