In cooperation with Kent Fine Art, The National Arts Club is pleased to announce the exhibition.
Irving Petlin’s engagement with the world of art spans over seven decades, beginning with his childhood scholarship to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His earliest artist associations were with Leon Golub, Nancy Spero, Cliff Westerman, Matta and the Chicago School before attending Yale University through an invitation from Joseph Albers. At that time, the late 50s, Petlin’s work developed at Yale University as well as during his service in military intelligence at the Presidio, San Francisco - sneaking away at night to paint at the infamous Monkey Block with artists such as Elmer Bischoff. Following his graduation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he received a Ryerson Fellowship to work in Paris where he first established his career, including an exhibition at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, before returning to the United States as a Lecturer for the University of California.
Petlin’s mastery as draftsman and as a colorist is unmistakable in the series Storms: After Redon. Due to Hurricane Sandy, the 2012 premiere viewing of these works was cancelled. The series will be presented here for the first time. Working on irregular sheets of handmade paper in the unforgiving but radiant medium of pastel, Petlin executes the act of drawing as a gamble between control and risk. Underlying the series is Petlin’s subtle and persistent commitment to history and its telling.
Presently, Petlin’s work is being featured in a special exhibition at the Petit Palais entitled L’art du pastel de Degas à Redon through April 8. Of no small coincidence is the fact that Petlin’s pastels come from but one source, Isabelle Roché of La Maison du Pastel which is referenced in this exhibition with a painting entitledEncounter at the Maison du Pastel (1983) portraying Petlin and friend R.B. Kitaj during a surprise encounter with Sam Zafran who absconded with Petlin’s famous studio at 13 rue du Crussol near the Place de la République.
Also presented here are a series of four monumental paintings evidencing Petlin’s commitment to referencing major historical developments in the tradition of Goya. Révolution Pastorale (1978 -81), Hebron (1998-2001),The Eleventh of January (2009) and the most recent Madonna of Slavery series (2015) are all key works in Petlin’s oeuvre.