On the upper level of the museum was a selection of works from the permanent collection featuring artists who were included in the seminal 1959 exhibition Four Abstract Classicists at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The artists were Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersly, and John McLaughlin. For this occasion, works by Florence Arnold and Helen Lundeberg have also been included to acknowledge their important contributions to California hard-edge.
The critic Jules Langsner described the abstract classicists as purists of painting. “They are engaged in a serious and determined effort to create works of art that are at once a pure, formal, and harmonious quintessence,” he stated in his essay for the exhibition’s catalogue. The works of these six artists show an intuitive and economic approach to form, a sensitivity and playfulness of color, and an aim to expand on abstract possibilities.
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