Paul Behnke

#2. Paul Behnke writes on Pat Passlof

Pat Passlof: Paintings from the 1950’s at the Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York.

untitled, c.1950's, oil on paper, 25 x 20 inches

untitled, c.1950’s, oil on paper, 25 x 20 inches

The current exhibition at Elizabeth Harris Gallery in New York City presents abstract oil paintings by Pat Passlof from the early 1950’s through the end of the decade. At the time this work was made, Passlof was only in her twenties. Born in Brunswick Georgia in 1928, she sought out and studied with Willem de Kooning at the famous Black Mountain College. Soon after, she took his advice and moved to New York City, embarking upon a painter’s life. In Manhattan, Passlof continued to receive private painting instruction from de Kooning and became close with the painters that populated the 10th Street artists’ community in the early 50’s. Through de Kooning, Passlof met the painter, Milton Resnick, whom she later married. Resnick no doubt introduced the young Passlof to the painting philosophy of Hans Hofmann, whose ideas, collected in The Search for the Real (not published until 1967) influenced a whole generation of painters. The New York art scene of the early 50’s was a hot bed of contention, influence, and personality. And it seems the young Passlof was for a time caught up in the wave, producing strong and ambitious, if derivative, work.

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