(B. 1905; Boston, USA)
Throughout her fifty-year career, Perle Fine (1905–1988) 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.
Perle Fine’s first exhibitions in the 1940s took place during a period of transition, with the New York art world at the epicenter 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. She was a member of ‘The Club’, the art press praised her and she was interviewed on the radio by Irving Sandler. Fine was included in a total of nine Whitney Annual and Bi-annual exhibitions between 1946 and 1972.
The artist saw herself first and foremost 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. Perle Fine’s ‘Cool Series’ (1961–63) was an evolution of her earlier Abstract Expressionist style. The artist explained that this body of work was a “growth” rather than 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 entitled “cool” engages the viewer and provokes a direct emotional and intellectual response teetering on the spiritual. Fine’s investigation of colour ranges from the brooding hues seen in Rothko’s work to the crisp and bright meeting of dual colors 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.
Perle Fine integrated the hyper-masculine New York art scene and gained success on her own terms throughout her career.