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Publication: Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946-1962

The first substantial, scholarly overview of the American creative community living in postwar Paris, featuring never-before-published interviews with Americans and French artists, critics, and dealers. This book delves into the various circles of artists who lived in France following World War II. Featuring new scholarship and illuminating essays, the groundbreaking volume illustrates many of the paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photos, and films produced between 1946 and 1962. Americans in Paris introduces the story of the American creative community that inhabited the City of Lights following the Second World War. Proposing Paris as decisive for the development of postwar American art, this volume investigates the academies where many of these artists studied, the spaces where their work was exhibited, the aesthetic discourses that animated their conversations, their interactions with European artists, and the overarching issue of what it meant to be an American abroad.


Exhibitions: Grey Art Gallery, New York University, NY, Winter/Spring 2024 Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts Autumn 2024

The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, February-May 2025


Contrary to entrenched presumptions that Manhattan became the primary locus of art after World War II, Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962 delves into the various circles of artists who made France their home during an era of intense geopolitical realignment. Bolstered by the GI Bill, many artists, such as Norman Bluhm, Ed Clark, Sam Francis, Al Held, Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland, and Jack Youngerman, along with lesser-known figures such as Robert Breer, Harold Cousins, and Shinkichi Tajiri, opted for a foreign rather than a domestic learning experience. Seasoned artists, such as Beauford Delaney, Claire Falkenstein, Carmen Herrera, Joan Mitchell, Kimber Smith, and Mark Tobey, like the GIs, were drawn to the storied modernist traditions that still flowed from this fabled City of Light. Comprising some 135 artworks by approximately 70 artists, as well as archival materials from this period, Americans in Paris investigates the academies where many of these artists studied, the spaces where their work was exhibited, the aesthetic discourses that animated their conversations, their interactions with European artists, and the overarching issue of what it meant to be an American abroad. Curated by Debra Bricker Balken with Lynn Gumpert, the exhibition is accompanied by a 300-page illustrated publication.









About the Author

Lynn Gumpert is director of the Grey Art Gallery at New York University, where she has overseen more than seventy exhibitions. Debra Bricker Balken is an independent scholar, writer, and curator with a focus on American modernism and contemporary art. Her most recent publications include Arthur Dove, A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings and Things and Harold Rosenberg: A Critic’s Life. Lynn Gumpert is director of the Grey Art Gallery at New York University, where she has overseen more than seventy exhibitions. Debra Bricker Balken is an independent scholar, writer, and curator with a focus on American modernism and contemporary art. Her most recent publications include Arthur Dove, A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings and Things and Harold Rosenberg: A Critic’s Life.

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