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a view of the gallery with white walls and multi colored paintings

Expanding Abstraction: New England Women Painters, 1950 to Now

This exhibition presents a vital yet lesser-known history of abstract painting in New England by showcasing the work of women painters with strong connections to the region. Despite their relative exclusion from mainstream and male-dominated conversations on postwar abstraction, these artists have made significant contributions to the field. Spanning from the 1950s to the present, the works on view in the exhibition expand traditions of abstract painting and testify to the artists’ unwavering productivity and creative innovation.

Drawn primarily from deCordova’s permanent collection, this survey explores diverse techniques, processes, and concepts. The exhibition and interpretation also emphasizes the artists’ contributions, connections, and reception within New England. Expanding Abstraction reveals the complexities of painting in the region and lays the foundation for a more inclusive understanding of abstraction through the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Access the fully-illustrated online publication: Expanding Abstraction: New England Women Painters, 1950 to Now

Artists in the exhibition:

Natalie Alper, Adria Arch, Dorothy Arnold, Melinda Ashley, Kristin Baker, Cynthia Bloom, Maggi Brown, Helen Frankenthaler, Sharon Friedman, Jacqueline Gourevitch, Beverly Hallam, Fannie Hillsmith, Sherrill Edwards Hunnibell, Reese Inman, Elizabeth Saalfield Ives, Yeffe Kimball, Jeanne Leger, Alice Trumbull Mason, Maud Morgan, Anne Neely, Roberta Paul, Meg Brown Payson, Irene Rice Pereira, Ann Pibal, Katherine Porter, Terri Priest, Elizabeth Rosenblum, Jo Ann Rothschild, Jo Sandman, Sandi Slone, May Stevens, Barbara Takenaga, Lois Tarlow, Irene Valincius, Barbara Weldon, Lucy White, and Maxine Yalovitz-Blankenship.

Organized by Jennifer Gross, former Chief Curator and Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs, with Sarah Montross, Associate Curator.

Support for this exhibition was generously provided by Amy and Jonathan Poorvu, Mary and Donald Shockey, The Meredyth Hyatt Moses Fund, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, the Deborah A. Hawkins Charitable Trust, Linda and George Kelly, and James and Audrey Foster.