Sunday, May 24, 2020

Michael West, Abstract Expressionist, 1908-1991

Michael West in her apartment, c. 1977

I was intrigued to read about the female abstract expressionist, Michael (Corinne) West, on Little-known, her work and career have recently attracted renewed interest.

Michael (Corinne) West, Blue Figure, 1948

West died in 1991, with no heirs or even a will. The contents of her Upper West-Side apartment were auctioned by the City of New York. Stuart Friedman, an art photographer who had bought one of her paintings in a thrift shop a few years earlier, was the only bidder. Using his garage to store the many canvases he found in her apartment, he began to learn more about her, and to promote her work.

The Hollis Taggart Gallery in New York bought the whole lot last year, and staged a show of her work.

Michael West at Granite Galleries, 1963

an installation shot of "Space Poetry: the Action Paintings of Michael West",
Hollis Taggart Gallery, 2019

A student of Hans Hoffman, West had a number of gallery shows in New York in her lifetime. It is thought her lack of worldly success was, in part, due to her lack of interest in "networking".

You can read more about Michael West in the Artsy article, written by Karen Chernick. An on-line exhibition of her work, titled "We Come Alive and Dream", is also available.

Michael West, Stonington, Connecticut, c. 1955

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