Following two exhibitions in 2008 and 2009 of recent paintings by Nicolas Carone (age 92), the Washburn Gallery will open a third exhibition of Nicolas Carone’s paintings from the 1950s on April 1st. There will be 10 works in the show ranging in dates across the entire decade.
Born in New York City where he studied at the Leonardo da Vinci School of Art, Carone’s work was first shown in New York at the Stable Gallery in 1954. In 1941, Carone received the Prix de Rome and immediately after World War II, he was able to go to Rome where he stayed for several years. Carone returned to live in New York and also Springs from 1953 to 1963. Carone was a close friend of Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Bill de Kooning and the group of first generation artists living in the small community. He was also Director of the Stable Gallery where Carone organized the famous Stable Annuals. Nick Carone had solo shows throughout the 1950s but his final major gallery show was held in 1961 at the Staempfli Gallery after which he declined to exhibit devoting much of his time to teaching.
The Washburn Gallery will include a painting by Carone from 1957 shown in the Rome exhibition American Artists of a Younger Reputation organized by James Johnson Sweeney. An illustrated brochure will accompany the forthcoming exhibition and include an excerpt attached from the catalogue written by James Johnson Sweeney for the Rome exhibition.
EXCERPT FROM AN ESSAY BY JAMES JOHNSON SWEENEY
"In an article 'Where is American Poetry Going?' the French critic G. A. Astre pointed out the fact that in our culture in this country, contrary to the case in any of the older cultures, a relatively highly developed prose literature preceded any poetic efflorescence. In the normal order of things a poetic literature always appears first: the natural fruit, so to speak, of folklore, collective legends and national fables. Out of this poetic expression customarily grows a prose which at its lowest stage is a debased poetry employed for utilitarian communication.
In its beginnings, according to Astre, American literature refused the risks and tensions out of which authentic poems are usually born. He attributes this early interest in utilitarian prose and this shyness of risk to the nature of our culture in its colonial beginnings: a culture that was essentially a moralizing and prosaic one, always suspicious of anything that might be regarded as a spiritual disorder, or an undue emphasis on the aesthetic – our heritage of the contemporary European culture brought by the colonists to these shores, which shared in almost equal parts a Puritan severity and an eighteenth century nationalist ideology.
American painting, like American literature, was also born of a utilitarian expression: the pictorial approach of the colonial portrait painters and topographers. And our American pictorial tradition had clung for years to this predominantly prose tradition.
Within the past decade and a half, however, a change has taken place. The artists of younger reputation have begun to explore and exploit directly the magic and mystery of their medium and only out of this to draw their poetry rather than to depend primarily on representational associations. This perhaps is at the core of what is unfamiliar in their work. What is on the surface, and in certain cases equally exasperating, is commonly the uninhibited (as it should be) expression of personal temperament.
Prose expression, as well as poetic expression, has its qualities; but a prose 'communication,' merely because of its familiarity and legibility, should not be invoked to lay its dead hand on the fresh forms of the younger generation. For it is here that their painting is finding, in our country in particular, its own poetry at last.
These are the characteristics which distinguish the work of such lesser known American artists as this group which the Rome-New York Foundation has privileged me to offer to the Roman public."
-JAMES JOHNSON SWEENEY
Excerpt from Rome-New York Art Foundation: American Artists of Younger Reputation, Istituto Grafico Tiberino, Rome, 1958, pp. 5-10