Betty Cuningham Gallery is pleased to open Philip Pearlstein: Facing You, an exhibition of portraits by Pearlstein dating from 1969 to 2017.
The exhibition includes approximately 30 portraits of friends, family and colleagues in the art community. Pearlstein, whose attention since 1960 has been looking at and recording the model in the studio, pays the same clinical attention to his sitter, focusing inch by inch on the eye, face and surrounding details. For Pearlstein, portraits are simply paintings, therefore his method of painting his sitter, be it his daughter or Chuck Close, is no different than his approach to painting a model or carrousel lion. Above all, the portraits are Pearlsteins, utterly and completely true to his signature style. However, the portraits reveal a singular, psychological intensity that is not present in Pearlstein’s classic paintings of unnamed models because the viewer is aware of the relationship between the sitter and the artist. Accompanying the exhibition is Musing: Sitting for a Portrait by Philip Pearlstein by Helene Verin. In this book, Verin describes, in detail, the experience – the talk, the food, the music and the painting – that transpired during her 14 sittings for her recent portrait.
Philip Pearlstein was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1924. He received a BFA from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1949 and an MA from NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts in 1955. That same year he had his first solo show at Tanager Gallery. Among Pearlstein's honors are a National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1968; a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, 1969; and election to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 1982 for which he served as President from 2003 – 2006; and recently the Icon Award in the Arts from the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT. Honorary Doctorates received from: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, 1983; Brooklyn College, Brooklyn; College of Art & Design, Detroit; New York Academy of Arts, New York; and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, Old Lyme. Currently, he lives and works in New York City.
Pearlstein’s work can be seen in a host of prestigious collections, most notably: The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Morgan Library and Museum, New York, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.