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Perle Fine, Polyphonic, 1945, 16" x 20"

SKU: 20145

Availability: In stock

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Perle Fine's Polyphonic was completed in 1945. Produced in-house by the Guggenheim's photography studio, each archival pigment print is made with hand-cut paper.

Materials / Sizes

  • Ready to frame
  • Paper measures 16" wide x 20" tall
  • Image measures 15.5" wide x 11.375" tall


Perle Fine

Born in Boston in 1905, Perle Fine grew up in Malden, Massachusetts, where her parents settled after immigrating to the United States from Russia. Fine’s interest in art began during childhood, and after completing high school she enrolled in Boston’s School of Practical Art. With limited opportunities for formal art training in Boston, she moved to New York and studied briefly at the Grand Central School of Art, where she met her husband Maurice Berezov, a fellow student and artist. Shortly thereafter, Fine enrolled in the Art Students League, where she studied with Kimon Nicolaides. In 1933, Hans Hofmann opened an art school directly across the street from Fine’s studio. During the mid-to-late 1930s, Fine took classes with Hofmann intermittently, establishing friendships with fellow students Louise Nevelson and Lee Krasner.

During this time, Fine became increasingly interested in nonobjective art, a mode of image-making that Hofmann had not yet begun exploring. On joining the group American Abstract Artists in the early 1940s, Fine found support for her pioneering aesthetic interests and a collective of like-minded artists who were all investigating the possibilities of abstraction. Fine’s first major entry into the New York art world took place in May 1943, when two of her paintings were included in the Spring Salon for Young Artists held at Peggy Guggenheim’s museum-gallery Art of This Century. Fine’s exposure and popularity increased throughout the decade, and her first solo exhibition took place at the Willard Gallery in 1945. In 1946, art dealer Karl Nierendorf offered Fine a place in his gallery, along with a subsidy that enabled her to paint full-time. Works from this period, such as Polyphonic (1945) were often inspired by music and dance, as well as forms and concepts found in nature and outer space.

In 1948, Fine joined Betty Parsons Gallery, which represented a formidable group of Abstract Epxressionists, including Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still. In 1949, at the invitation of Willem de Kooning, Fine joined the Club, a group of artists who frequently gathered to socialize, discuss one another’s work, and contemplate the theoretical underpinnings of Abstract Expressionism. In addition to having several solo exhibitions at Betty Parsons Gallery during this period, Fine was included in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Museum of Non-Objective Painting, all New York.

In 1954, having become disillusioned with the New York art world, Fine moved to East Hampton, New York. Surrounded by the comparatively rural environment of Long Island and a new community of fellow painters, Fine began experimenting more freely with color and form.

In the 1960s, Fine embarked on a teaching career, as a visiting lecturer at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, in 1961, and associate professor at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, from 1962 to 1973. Fine’s final major body of work was the Accordment Series, on which she would continue to work until the mid-1980s. In this later work, Fine’s focus turned to the grid, an aesthetic form she fully embraced. Works from this series bear visual similarities to the work of Agnes Martin, an artist whose singular vision Fine admired. Fine suffered from Alzheimer’s disease during the last few years of her life and died in 1988 in East Hampton, New York.


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