Shirley Goldfarb (1925-1980): Pink, Rose, Love: Paintings from the 1960's
FROM FEBRUARY 26 TO APRIL 6, 2002, ZABRISKIE GALLERY PRESENTS SHIRLEY GOLDFARB: PINK, ROSE, LOVE, AN EXHIBITION OF BOLDLY COLORED ABSTRACTIONS MADE BY GOLDFARB IN THE 1960s WHILE SHE LIVED AS AN AMERICAN EXPATRIATE IN PARIS.
These three large oil-on-canvas paintings and smaller works on paper are impressionistic in their general lack of detail, emphasizing warm textured surfaces that are immediate and confident in their expression and brushwork. They remind one of many things, from the close-up fleshiness of the body to the nondescript details and patterns of a rosy leaf pile.
At the age of 25 in 1950, Goldfarb moved from Pennsylvania to New York, where she studied at The Art Students League with Will Barnet and others. She married the artist Gregory Masurovsky and moved with him in 1954 to Paris, where she lived as part of an American expatriate population that included Joan Mitchell, Sam Francis, Norman Bluhm, Shirley Jaffe and Paul Jenkins. Like many of her contemporaries there, she worked in a gestural, Abstract Expressionist mode for several years. Goldfarb found perhaps more stimulation from her friendships with Art Informel painters Yves Klein, Jean-Paul Riopelle, and Serge Poliakoff, and with the Surrealists Man Ray, Max Ernst, and Alberto Giacometti. However, it was this accomplished group of promising paintings that paved the way for her later minimalist work.
In contrast to her later canvases, which are more controlled and compulsive, these early works from the same decade reveal a color sensibility that is soft and forceful. As evident in the application of paint, they possess the same even quality and sure-handedness that carried over into the monochromatic squares. Although she did work in both this lyrical and austere manner for a time, this exhibition highlights the earlier expressionistic paintings. Goldfarb's days in Paris were marked by frequent walks to a cafe where she would sit, write, and reflect on what she saw. Her paintings expressed and represented these daily rituals, manifesting themselves in keen, subtle, and warm canvases that often paid tribute to and re-affirmed her vibrant life. Her journal was posthumously translated into French and published as Shirley Goldfarb, Carnets Montpamasse: 1971-1980 (Paris: Quai Voltaire, 1994).
Galerie Zabriskie Paris presented one-person exhibitions of Goldfarb's paintings in 1991 and 1994. Her work is well-known in France, but her first solo exhibition in the United States came only later in 1997, when a retrospective was held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Goldfarb's works are in many major collections here and abroad, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, The Musée d'Art Modern de la Ville de Paris, and the Basel Kunsthalle. A short video showing Goldfarb at work and talking about her paintings is also available for viewing. This is Shirley Goldfarb's third one-person exhibition in New York.