This exhibition features individual installations devoted to four artists with whom the Walker has long relationships. Jasper Johns ranks among the greatest painters, sculptors, and printmakers of the 20th century and the present day. Ellsworth Kelly figures significantly in the history of nongestural abstraction. Joan Mitchell occupied a celebrated stature in the generation of New York School artists that succeeded the first generation of Abstract Expressionists. Robert Motherwell was a guiding force in the art world of the mid-20th century as an abstract painter, printmaker, and theorist.
The Walker is home to an impressive collection of work by each of these artists. The Walker’s status as an archive for Tyler Graphics Ltd. brought over 260 prints by Kelly, Mitchell, and Motherwell into the collection in 1984 (and continues to provide the Walker with the latest prints by contemporary artists). Printmaker Kenneth Tyler donated additional prints by Johns, Kelly, and Motherwell as part of a gift of more than 650 works in 1985. A gift from Kenneth and Judy Dayton in 1988 brought 184 new Johns works into the collection and provided the means for the Walker to receive one of each print Johns created thereafter. Gifts from the Dedalus Foundation and Margaret and Angus Wurtele in 1995 and 2000 added more than 300 new Motherwell works.
This exhibition, made possible by these generous gifts, will provide a rare opportunity for audiences to see the full breadth of the Walker’s holdings by these artists, who have helped shape the aesthetic practices of the 20th and 21st centuries.