Throughout her fifty-year career, Perle Fine was uncompromising of her ideals and vehemently trusted her artistic instincts. With this aesthetic confidence, the abstract artist was able to step beyond the realms of the mainstream and establish herself among male counterparts. She integrated into the hyper-masculine New York art scene but succeded on her own terms throughout her career.
Fine’s first exhibitions in the 1940s took place during a period of transition, with the New York art world at the epicentre of creative innovation. Emerging from the pupillage of Hans Hofmann, Fine knew success early, showing at Betty Parsons and Tanager Galleries in the 1940’s and 50’s. In 1942, her work had already been included in pivotal group exhibitions at galleries such as Art of This Century and Stable Gallery. Fine also socialised with key members of the New York School and European painters including Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Ad Reinhardt to Piet Mondrian.
Fine was a member of ‘The Club’ - the art press praised her, and she was interviewed on the radio by Irving Sandler. She was included in a total of nine Whitney Annual and Bi-annual exhibitions between 1946 and 1972.
First and foremost, the artist saw herself as a painter, but also experimented with etching, collage and drawing. Fine’s style was lauded for its visual rhythms despite the geometric nature of its form, with Cool Series (1961–63) being an evolution of her earlier Abstract Expressionist style. The artist explained that this body of work was a “growth”, as opposed to a “departure” from gestural abstraction into a more reductive, geometric approach to painting. Echoing her own move from bustling Manhattan to a quiet and contemplative East Hampton in the mid 50s, Fine’s Cool Series represents what the critic Clement Greenberg described as a “new openness and clarity”. Fine’s soulful and analytical Colour Field series engages the viewer, provoking a direct emotional and intellectual response teetering on the spiritual. The artist’s investigation of colour ranges from the brooding hues seen in Rothko’s work to the crisp and bright meeting of dual colours which echo the interior/exterior world she experienced in East Hampton.
Perle Fine’s work is in collections including; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. USA; Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA amongst others.