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Philip Pearlstein

Recent Work

May 8 - July 25, 2014

Two Female Models Sitting with Legs Crossed and Kazak Rug, 2013, Oil on Canvas
Two Models with Kiddie Car Airplane, Chariot and Whirligig and Michelin Man, 2010, Watercolor on Paper
Two Models, Eagle Weathervane and Marionette, 2008, Watercolor on Paper
Model with Pond Boat, 2014, Oil on Canvas
Models Lying Down with Model Biplane and Exercise Ball, 2014, Oil on Canvas
Self Portrait, 2012, Watercolor on Paper

Press Release

Philip Pearlstein

Recent Work

May 8 – July 25, 2014

90th Birthday Party Celebration: Thursday, May 8TH 6 – 8 PM

Betty Cuningham Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of recent paintings by Philip Pearlstein honoring the artist on his 90th Birthday. The exhibition, the artist’s seventh show at the gallery, will include recent paintings, drawings and watercolors. Pearlstein will be present to celebrate his 90th Birthday at the opening on May 8th.

Pearlstein, one of the leading artists in figurative painting alive today, chose to follow a path of figuration in the early 1960’s holding on to his Minimal premise that his work be about the painting and not represent a storyline or narrative. This most recent body of work continues Pearlstein’s distinct approach to realism. For 70 years, Pearlstein has said he “gets his highs from using his eyes” and he continues to find his challenge in painting the ever-changing postures of the model.  That challenge, over the years, has gained complexity by introducing intricate set ups and elaborate patterns and objects.

In 2001, Desiree Alvarez, an artist and long time model for Pearlstein, wrote:

The tension in his work comes from the fact that we are not accustomed to perceiving the body as a territory for abstraction.  We want a painting of the body to be visceral because our experience of our bodies is visceral.  Therefore, we do not bring the language of abstraction, and especially not geometric abstraction, to nude figure painting.  Pearlstein’s challenge is that we should.


Recently, in March of 2013, a retrospective, Philip Pearlstein’s People, Places and Things, curated by Paterson Sims, was hosted by the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL.  In 2014, a retrospective of his drawings, Philip Pearlstein – Just the Facts, 50 Years of Looking and Drawing and Painting,  curated by Rob Storr, was held at the New York Studio School, New York, NY.  And, from February 27 through May 11, 2014, Philip Pearlstein: Six Paintings, Six Decades, is on view at the National Academy Museum, New York, NY.

Pearlstein’s work can be seen in a host of prestigious collections, most notably: The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

Philip Pearlstein was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1924.  He received a BFA from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1949 and an MA from NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts in 1955.  That same year he had his first solo show at Tanager Gallery. Throughout his career, he has held posts as teacher and critic at various institutions, including Pratt Institute, Yale University, and Brooklyn College.  From 2003 – 2006, Pearlstein served as the President of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  He lives and works in New York City. 


Click below for full press release.