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Sullivan Goss – An American Gallery is pleased to present the inaugural exhibition from the Estate of Leon Dabo (1865 -1960)—The Drawings of Leon Dabo. Leon Dabo’s progressive aesthetic sensibilities in the nineteenth century ushered in new forms of visual expression for the twentieth. The artist was instrumental in bringing a Modern sensibility to America’s artists, curators and patrons through organizing the famous “Armory” show in 1913 – the first major exhibition of Modern European and American art in the US. Dabo not only hosted meetings for the committee to organize the exhibition in his studio, he exhibited at the show.

Early tonal drawings in charcoal, blue conté, teal conté and red conté, and Provençal landscapes will be shown alongside later floral drawings reminiscent of the Symbolist imaginings of Odilon Rédon (1840 - 1916) in a special installation that will take viewers back to a quieter time in history. A book will accompany the exhibition. To learn more, visit: www.leondabo.com.

The work and career of Leon Dabo are well chronicled in books about Tonalism – a uniquely American response to the evocative, painterly qualities of the French Barbizon school and the French Impressionist preoccupation with light. In early blue conté drawings of highly mannered landscapes and “marines,” he married a Tonalist approach to drawing with Symbolist ideas about metaphysics. The reviewers of his era first remarked at the difficulty of seeing his subtly-hued works and of his apparent disregard for narrative or what might be called the subject, but later wrote soaring praise for his ability to capture “silence,” “immensity,” “space,” and “infinitude.” Dabo’s approach was rooted in the American reverence for the natural world, but crept off to explore subjectivity, poetry, and the material means of painting and drawing. His success was considerable enough that he was later made a National Academician and his work is in the public collections of the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Metropolitan, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Smithsonian.


4:34 | Jeremy Tessmer

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