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Stillmans in Museums

The Ary Stillman Green Room, Moores School
of Music,
The University of Houston

Temple Emanu El, Houston, TX

Beth Shalom,
Sioux City, IA


Private Collections

  Galleries and Museums  
Excerpted from Reminiscences,
by Frances Stillman, 1988

"...It was in the fall of 1947 or perhaps the spring of 1948 that Bertha Schaefer opened her gallery on 57th Street. She had been widely known for years as an interior decorator, but for some time she had been eager to widen the scope of her work and to gather around her a group of representative painters. She wanted to advance the idea that one shouldn't choose a painting to fit in with the decor of a room, that one should choose a painting or paintings he or she would want to live with, and then build the tone of the room around the painting or paintings. She talked with Ary about this a number of times — they had been friends for years — and when she was prepared to exhibit her first group show she asked Ary to send in a painting. Milton Avery was in that show I recall, and Will Barnet, Ben Zion, Sue Fuller, Ary and others I can't remember. From this came a continued association for Ary with Bertha's gallery — many group shows, and a series of five one-man shows, beginning in February 1949 through 1954, until we left New York for Paris..."

Ary Stillman, Paintings
Bertha Schaefer Gallery

January 21 - February 9, 1952
Press Clippings

"Ary Stillman: This artist continues the exploration of the non-objective territory bounded by Kandinsky and MacIver. This year's paintings are in oil and as always maintain a high standard of metier.

In these paintings, interweaving black lines—sometimes abrupt, sometimes undulant—like charcoal strokes on a colored rock-face, guide the eye among amorphous areas of color. Stillman's linear patterns have always been decidedly musical. This year they are choppier than last, as if he had been listening to Bartok instead of Debussy.

Many things are suggested—the outlines of dancing spirits, prismatic frames floating in space, an enchanted forest seen through a mesh of creepers. In the most recent paintings, worm-eaten or fungoid textures are built up in places. The distribution of colors often creates an illusion of misty depth and spaciousness. And now black squares and triangles are placed among areas of color.

The exhibition marks a definite advance. The two elements which make up Stillman's paintings—line and amorphous color—are better integrated, and the work is more vigorous and complex than before."

by J. F.
The Art Digest
January 15, 1952

"Poetic abstractions, quiet and sensitive, rhythmic and alive with subtle shimmering harmonies, characterize the brooding oils by Ary Stillman. These are hung at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery, 32 E. 57th Street, with some regard for the role of a picture as a part of a room. Refined and disciplined, the oils nevertheless retain a freedom of line and color pattern. "A Phrase In Color," with gleaming reds drifting in slow rhythms out of a background of browns and greens, "Interplay," fluid and rich, the handsome "Rondo I" and the darting movements of "Rondo II" and "Kaleidoscope" are among the best this veteran abstractionist has painted."

by A. L. Chanin
The Compass
January 27, 1952

"...On the other hand, Ary Stillman’s paintings at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery carry abstraction deep into its "romantic" phase. For him, plastic rhythms are a means of evoking poetic content. Color, refulgent and suggestive, stirs the visual imagination to respond to something beyond the world of pure shapes. Texture and techniques are also used to this end. No great distance, it must be said, is attempted in this direction, but his work has an air of soft suggestiveness."

by Stuart Preston
The New York Times
Sunday, January 27, 1952

"Ary Stillman offers frank clews to his purpose—"Rhythms in Gray,' 'Fugue' and 'Interplay' being among the titles of his new canvases at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery. Here one has a widely experienced artist, who has known picturesque themes. He has adopted a method of painting now substantial, dim-hued and non-figurative. A looping dark line tangles with splotches of blue, green and gray in one canvas; in another there are lightning- like reds zig-zagging dramatically through ominous tones of darker hue. Often there is beauty of mood, a rhythm or cadence which distinguishes a theme by its lyricism. But on the whole, for us, expression is dulled rather than sharpened, and emotion boggs down in the very depth and strength of the color he seems most interested in using to give it a buoyant release."

by Carlyle Burrows
New York Herald Tribune
January 27, 1952

Rondo I
Oil on Canvas
30 x 24
Kresge Art Museum, MI
Rhythms in Gray
oil on canvas
44 x 36
Foundation Collection, TX

"Ary Stillman conveys a sense of respect for materials and format. An unerring regard for allotted surface endows even his more playful and intuitive canvases with compositional integrity. His next tenure of the Bertha Schaefer Gallery begins on the 21st. In this most agreeably balanced presentation of recent oils we find a lyricism ranging from linear caprice to deep and abiding emotion felt in interlocking masses. Delicately mellow autumnal colors are stirred into articulation by adroit accents and fluent contours. Stillman advances confidently into the abstract, sustained by craftsmanship of a high order which is veiled but not hidden by the immediate charm of his surfaces."

by Stanton Kreider
Pictures On Exhibit
January 1952

"Ary Stillman describes his pictures as 'aesthetic unit.' Over soft, grayed color, linear figures thrust the eye into and abound the surface, describing various spatial movements. Underneath are patches of color which melt at the edges and interlock in amorphous arrangements. Each picture carries its own particular mood, and the titles are often fairly descriptive of what the pictures look like: 'Shadows,' 'Fantasy,' 'Blue Accent' and 'Kaleidoscope.' The most positive is called 'A Phase in Color.' Despite the abstract intentions, almost all the pictures have the sensation of things. The Persian pottery, Oriental rugs and the other objects and hangings in Stillman's studio reappear in disguise in these gentle, undemonstrative pictures."

by L. C.
Art News
February 1952

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