The Christine Frechard Art Gallery, Squirrel Hill, is presenting an exhibition of works by Susan Winicour with the goal of elevating appreciation for the achievements of the late Pittsburgh artist who was 74 years old when she died of cancer in 2013.
Bronislava Miloslavskaya, gallery art consultant, will make the argument for Ms. Winicour’s place in art history and the art market during a talk at the gallery beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, when the show opens from 5 to 8 p.m. A reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, in recognition of the themes of love and relationships that permeated the artist’s work. Both events are free and public, and members of Ms. Winicour’s family are expected to attend each.
Ms. Winicour concentrated on the figure throughout her career, shown alone or with others, in jewel-colored acrylic paintings and graphically fanciful black and white prints. While sometimes dismissed as decorative, a closer inspection of her people, particularly women, often reveals individuals suspended in a cross of Weimar Republic decadence and suburban ennui, infused with expressionistic emotion rather than portraiture realism.
“She is almost a reincarnation of the creative soul of German Expressionism and its greatest artists,” wrote Ms. Miloslavskaya in an email. “My motivation is to rehabilitate Susan Winicour’s place in the art world because Susan kept a low profile during her life because of her prosperous family and her lack of participation in the mainstream art world. Despite this, Susan made intensive work and made enormous artistic progress during her life. This is the sign of the true artistic genius that she possessed.”
Ms. Winicour was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and took to art early. She studied at the Brooklyn Museum School and studied with the noted German Expressionist painter and sculptor Max Beckmann (1884-1950). She won the Mademoiselle Magazine National Art Contest while in high school which awarded her full scholarship to Syracuse University. She also attended Teachers College, Columbia University, on scholarship, where she earned a master’s degree, and she was among the first teachers of fine arts hired by the New York City Public Schools.
Ms. Winicour came to Pittsburgh when her physicist husband accepted a faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh. For almost a decade preceding her death, she lived three to six months a year near Berlin, where her husband conducted research at the Albert Einstein Institute. There she explored printmaking at the Bethanien Printmaking Studio. She also studied in Italy and Mexico and has exhibited in the U.S. and overseas.
“I am a watcher of people, mannerism and dress,” Ms. Winicour wrote about her prints in an artist statement. “….My etchings, subtle and detailed, include the themes of love and romance, the love of dance and the simple pleasure derived from just plain relaxing.”
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