“Jack Beal, Alfred Leslie, Philip Pearlstein and the Emergence of a New Realism” follows up on
the gallery’s 2011 summer show, “Circle of Friends,” which focused on the gallery’s long
involvement with artists from the San Francisco Bay Area. The current exhibition highlights the
gallery’s long association with Realism by focusing on the three East Coast artists who together
reinvented the genre by combining formal devices taken from Abstract Expressionism with a
thorough appreciation for and knowledge of the history of art.
In 1952, Allan Frumkin opened his gallery in Chicago with an exhibition program that featured
both contemporary artists and European “master drawings.” In 1959, he opened a second space
in New York at 38 East 57th Street where several artists, some still shown by the gallery today,
began their careers. Among those artists were Jack Beal and Philip Pearlstein who abandoned
Abstraction in the late 1950s and turned to the figure. Another former Abstract Expressionist who
also began to work figuratively in the early 1960s, Alfred Leslie, joined Beal and Pearlstein at the
gallery in 1975. With the additions of Jim Valerio and William Beckman to the gallery’s roster in
the late 1970s and early 1980s, the gallery was firmly established as the leading venue for Realism
in New York.
The earliest works in the exhibition include several abstract collages by Leslie, Beal’s heavily
impastoed “Still-life with Anemones,” 1962, and Pearlstein’s sinuous landscape, “Positano #1”,
1960. The other works in the exhibition map out the three artists’ stylistic development through
the 1970s and 1980s, as Beal increasingly focused on the abstracted space (“Self-portrait with
Rudbeckias and Day Lilies,” 1988), Leslie on formal portraiture (the large-scale “Bread and
Coffee,”1983), and Pearlstein on models in the studio (“Male and Female Models on Bench,”
The exhibition of works by Beal, Leslie, and Pearlstein are on view through August 10th. Gallery
summer hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10AM to 5PM. For images and more information on the
exhibition, please visit the gallery’s website at www.georgeadamsgallery.com.