FROM: MARIE HARRIMAN GALLERY 61-63 East 57th Street New York City Tel. Wi.2-0686 January 6th 1941
Paintings by Edwin Booth Grossmann January 13 - Feb. 1, 1941
The first exhibition in many years of paintings by Edwin Booth Grossman, one of America's unadvertised artists, will be held at the Marie Harriman Gallery, 61 East 57th Street, New York, beginning January 13. The one-man show, comprising 16 landscapes and still lifes in oil and a small group of watercolors, will continue for three weeks, through February 1.
Grandson of the late Edwin Booth, who founded The Players and who was probably the greatest figure in the making of the American theatre, Grossmann chose a career as a painter despite enviable opportunities and connections with the stage. He studied art at the old Chase Art School and later in Paris where his work was accepted one year by the Paris Salon. Minor exhibitions of his work were held in two New York galleries in 1920 and in 1928. More than a dozen years ago Grossmann withdrew entirely from the exhibiting field in order rigorously to perfect a mature style of painting completely expressive of himself. He has destroyed much of his own work, constantly editing his production to retain only the clearest statements.
Most of the present group of landscapes are views of the hilly country near Avenue Farm, Fishkill, New York, where the artist has lived for the past five years. There are also marine studies and landscapes from the Maine coast. Derived structurally from the art of Cezanne, the paintings are marked for a highly dramatic use of sunlight, which is thrown against the hills and valleys with a climactic force that reveals the artist's joy in capturing the fleeting moments in nature. The placid lake surfaces, rolling terrain, rising hill-tops, rows of trees, elemental rocks and other forms of the earth's surface are built into pictures that have a strong underlying armature of abstract design.
Nature has always been the first interest in Grossmann's life. As a youth he learned taxidermy in order to form a large collection of stuffed birds and animals which he shot himself. Since that time, however, he has given up hunting, and several of the still lifes of dead game in the present exhibition carry a tragic note of regret for the destruction of wild life.
Grossmann was born in Boston in 1887, the son of a Hungarian-born New York banker and Edwina Booth, the only child of Edwin Booth. Grossmann's father came to America when he was very young and grew up in the Brahmin literary environment of New England where he lived with Celia Thaxter's family on the Isles of Shoals, near Portsmouth, N. H. Grossmann traveled extensively through Europe with his family, and from the age of
twelve he spent much time in the zoos of New York and Europe sketching all types of animals. His first contact with modernism came through his acquaintance with Alfred Maurer in Paris before the war, but it was not until after Grossmann had returned to American that he fully grasped its significance and began applying its principles to his own work. The paintings in his present exhibition represent a selection of the artist's most recent and mature state of development. Paul Bird, assistant editor of The Art Digest, has contributed a foreword to the catalogue of the Grossmann exhibition.