Now on View, the View From Jane Freilicher’s Window
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Jane Freilicher has been well known in the art world for decades, but unlike many of her friends and contemporaries, she’s never quite become familiar outside of that circle. She’s devotedly labored away, though, painting the view from her apartment in New York City, and her house in Water Mill, Long Island, nearly always with flowers in the foreground.
She has a new show of recent paintings on display at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York, a venue that has long supported her work, putting on her first one-woman show in 1952.
Poet John Ashbery, a friend of Freilicher, writes that she “finds everything she needs close at hand” and calls “Early New York Evening,” a painting of irises on a windowsill overlooking New York, “one of the most beautiful paintings I know.”
Freilicher, whose work is sometimes called “painterly realism,” studied with Hans Hoffman in the 1940s and joined the social circle of Abstract Expressionists like Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Harold Rosenberg and members of the New York School of Poetry, including Ashbery, Frank O’Hara and Kenneth Koch.
O’Hara penned numerous poems about Freilicher, writing in one:
“…far at sea I once more capture
men and cities and whales in rain,
yet can’t make serious with my rapture
slyly thoughtful, smiling Jane.”
“I have always gone my own way,” Freilicher told the New York Times in 1998. “My work was deviant enough to explain why I was not rising through the ranks. But I liked not having the demands made on me a big career would have made. It allowed me a certain freedom to fool around. I felt the other painters respected me. Nobody treated me like a dumb broad. I felt I was smarter than those young painters who were tough guys and threw themselves around with this macho thing. I thought it was not terribly interested.”
These recent works, mostly oil on linen, demonstrate a playful but commanding confidence with brushwork. Flowers remain her central focus, and although there are hints of Hoffman and influences of Abstract Expressionism, she’s found an engaging style that she’s made her own.
“Jane Freilicher Recent Paintings and Prints” at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in on display through June 3.