One of the most popular pieces in the Teachout Museum (which I showed off to a New York art critic yesterday afternoon, and which I’ll be showing to a curious artist tomorrow) is Jane Freilicher’s Late Afternoon, Southampton. I’ve written about Freilicher more than once, both here and elsewhere, most extensively in a 2002 “Second City” column in which I described her as
one of the chronically underrated group of New York-based representationalists who learned invaluable lessons in composition and paint handling from the abstract expressionists. Freilicher’s subject matter is conventional–landscapes, skylines, still lifes–and her palette is soft and even-toned, so much so that you might well be tempted at first glance to dismiss her subtle style as bland. Instead, take a long look at “Dark Afternoon,”
in which a fractured cubist cityscape serves as backdrop for two houseplants placed on a Cezanne-like tabletop that thrusts them out at the viewer. My guess is that “Dark Afternoon,” like most of the other paintings in this lovely show, would be a satisfying work to live with, one that gives up its quiet secrets gradually but never completely….
Alas, Freilicher’s paintings as yet hang in few museums, but if your interest has been piqued by any of the above links, a handsome coffee-table monograph about her work was published earlier this year. Jane Freilicher, by Klaus Kertess (Harry N. Abrams, 176 pp., $60), contains more than 150 beautifully reproduced images, plus an accompanying text that tells everything you could possibly want to know about an American artist decidedly worthy of wider recognition.
Put it on your Christmas list–or just give it to yourself.