Glenn Gissler - Blog - 2014 - Hartigan painting
Last week was an extremely busy week in New York City for fine art.

Art galleries from all over the United States and the World came to a very broad range of art fairs showing the newest of the new, and the finest of the fine, and lots of things in between. Some of the fairs insist on works that are shown have never been seen or sold before, often by younger less recognized artists, while other fairs focus more on ‘secondary market’ works that have found places of significance  and value in the marketplace.

I was looking for art for a few current projects and focused my time and energy on Pier 92 of the “Armory Show” which focuses on Modern (versus contemporary) and the “The Art Show” sponsored and run by the ADAA (Art Dealers Association of America) at the Park Avenue Armory.

One of the works that I found was by an artist named Grace Hartigan – a name that I recognized, but whose work and history I could not immediately place – so I did some digging and want to share some of what I learned here.

The title of this post “George became Grace , and it all worked out…” does not reference a story about a drag queen, rather it is a story about Grace Hartigan, a second generation Abstract Expressionist painter. Born in 1922, Hartigan came of age as a painter in the 1940’s, when woman were not taken seriously as artists (or for much else for that matter.)

In order to neutralize her work from a gender bias she signed her paintings George Hartigan, that is until she started to receive critical acclaim and her work was included in major gallery and museum exhibitors.

During the 1950’s Grace Hartigan was included in a number of what are now seen as of historically significant shows of abstract expressionism.  Her paintings were hung along side Franz Kline, Larry Rivers, Alfred Leslie, Philip Guston, and Seymour Lipton in a 1956 show at MoMA called ’12 Americans’, as well as another important show at MoMA in 1958-59 called ‘The New American Painting”.

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‘Untitled’, 1953, oil on canvas 72″ x 40″

Although highly abstracted, this painting has a standing figure on the left, and a vase with flowers sitting on a table on the right. I saw this painting at the ADAA Art Fair and hope that it will find place in a client’s apartment.

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Grace Hartigan in the Living Room of her Calvert St studio


Glenn Gissler - Blog - 2014 - Hartigan Printing

And lastly, her is another image of Grace at work in her studio making prints, in a skirt.  If you are interested in seeing more of her work, you can review a collection of images on a Pinterest board dedicated to her.