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Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern

Lyrical Modernism
521 West 26th Street
21 April - 21 May 2022
Peter and Irene sit above the anodized aluminum screen panels of Peter’s Relief Sculpture V, a nearly nine-foot sculpture commissioned by Alcoa for their Chicago office, 1968. Photograph by Richard Gross for the Los Angeles Times Magazine
Peter and Irene sit above the anodized aluminum screen panels of Peter’s Relief Sculpture V, a nearly nine-foot sculpture commissioned by Alcoa for their Chicago office, 1968. Photograph by Richard Gross for the Los Angeles Times Magazine

Opening Reception
Thursday, April 21, 5:00-8:00PM
RSVP REQUIRED: 
rsvp@hollistaggart.com or +1 212 628 4000

The forthcoming exhibition brings their work back to the fore, highlighting the intricacy and distinct qualities of their practices.

This spring, on April 21, Hollis Taggart will open a duo exhibition Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism, the first in-depth exhibition of abstract painter Irene Monat Stern’s luminous and ethereal paintings in decades. Presented at Hollis Taggart’s Chelsea location at 521 W. 26th, Lyrical Modernism also features a focused selection of sculptures by Jan Peter Stern, the artist’s husband and an abstract sculptor best known for his large-scale public commissions. The Sterns’ artistic careers flourished following their move to Southern California in 1965, as they drew inspiration from the landscapes and atmosphere of the region. But while they garnered commercial and critical acclaim during their lives, their disengagement from wider art world circles has resulted in an obscuring of their work in contemporary art dialogues. The forthcoming exhibition, on view through May 21, brings their work back to the fore, highlighting the intricacy and distinct qualities of their practices.

This spring, on April 21, Hollis Taggart will open a duo exhibition Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism, the first in-depth exhibition of abstract painter Irene Monat Stern’s luminous and ethereal paintings in decades. Presented at Hollis Taggart’s Chelsea location at 521 W. 26th, Lyrical Modernism also features a focused selection of sculptures by Jan Peter Stern, the artist’s husband and an abstract sculptor best known for his large-scale public commissions. The Sterns’ artistic careers flourished following their move to Southern California in 1965, as they drew inspiration from the landscapes and atmosphere of the region. But while they garnered commercial and critical acclaim during their lives, their disengagement from wider art world circles has resulted in an obscuring of their work in contemporary art dialogues. The forthcoming exhibition, on view through May 21, brings their work back to the fore, highlighting the intricacy and distinct qualities of their practices.

 

Irene was born in 1932 in Poland and moved to Paris in 1948 after surviving the Holocaust. Six years later, she relocated to New York where she met fellow artist Jan Peter Stern, whose large public commissions such as Windward, installed near Grand Central Station, and Mast-Sculpture, made for St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church on East 15th Street, remain on view. Both Sterns were initially trained in design and while Peter found early success in applying his industrial design study to the creation of kinetic sculptures, Irene’s artistic practice did not take root until the couple’s move to the West Coast. Here, Irene found a sense of freedom and a deep connection to the earthy tones of the California landscapes. Employing thinned-out acrylic paint, she flooded her canvases with pigment, creating a sense of lightness and fluidity that is often associated with watercolors. While her paintings have been likened to the stained canvases of contemporaries Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis, her vision was distinct in its clear embrace of representational reference—primarily nature. Her rhythmic, billowing color-field compositions call to mind the melding of sky and earth, the tones and light of the landscape, and the emotional and atmospheric sensations felt in the experience of nature.

 

Following their move, Jan Peter Stern’s sculptural works, of both small and monumental scale, also took on an organic quality and the couple often exhibited together, capturing the interplay and dynamism of their individual practices. The forthcoming exhibition at Hollis Taggart recaptures this particular moment in history, bringing their work into dialogue again for the first time in four decades. While the gallery has shown focused presentations of Monat Stern’s work previously, this will be the first in-depth examination of her practice and its relationship to the work of her husband. The exhibition is made possible by the Sterns’ sons, who have served as guardians of their parents’ legacies.

 

“Our gallery has always been inspired by untold stories of art and artists. Across our more than 40-year history, we have renewed commercial interest and driven scholarship about numerous artists, including Leon Berkowitz, Audrey Flack, Marjorie Strider, Kay Sage, Idelle Weber, and Michael Corinne West.  This spring season captures our ongoing engagement with expanding the narratives of art history by illuminating the voices of those artists that have been lost to time but are so deserving of recognition. It also represents an important solidification of the gallery’s vision and approach—one that we feel is essential to the understanding of contemporary art dialogues. We look forward to engaging visitors with the work of these incredible artists and to furthering new study of their practices,” said Hollis Taggart.

 

For more information about Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism, please contact us at info@hollistaggart.com or +1 212.628.4000.

 

For press inquiries, please contact Alina Sumajin, PAVE Communications & Consulting at alina@paveconsult.com, + 1 646.369.2050.

Installation Views

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Installation view: Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism
Installation view: Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism
Installation view: Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism
Installation view: Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism
Installation view: Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism
Installation view: Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism
Installation view: Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism
Installation view: Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism
Installation view: Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism
Installation view: Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism
Installation view: Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism
Installation view: Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism
Installation view: Irene Monat Stern and Jan Peter Stern: Lyrical Modernism
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News

The Love and Art of Irene and Peter Stern , The artist couple shared creativity and mutual devotion reflecting a...

The Love and Art of Irene and Peter Stern

The artist couple shared creativity and mutual devotion reflecting a period of light and joy that came after considerable darkness in their early lives.
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