Richard Pousette-Dart, Desert, 1940. Oil on canvas, 43 x 72 inches. Museum of Modern Art, New York. © The Estate of Richard Pousette-Dart.
A fiercely independent artist throughout his career, Richard Pousette-Dart contributed meaningfully to key discourses that shaped the emergence of Abstract Expressionism. In 1948 he attended gatherings at the Subjects of the Artist school, an informal group organized by William Baziotes, David Hare, Robert Motherwell and Mark Rothko that would later became known as the Eighth Street Club. In 1950 he participated in a three-day conference at Studio 35, and a year later his painting was included in the landmark exhibition Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America at The Museum of Modern Art, which had acquired his Number 11: A Presence (1949). In 1951, Pousette-Dart gained additional renown by appearing in Nina Leen’s iconic photograph “The Irascibles” in Life Magazine featuring prominent painters who had formally protested contemporary art policies at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.</em