15 November 2018
Self-Portrait, 1941, Photograph, 330 x 240 mm, The Richard Pousette-Dart Estate
Get to know Richard Pousette-Dart with our Head of Collection and Programming, Dr Jennifer Powell and Archivist Frieda Midgely.
Richard Pousette-Dart (1916–92), working in New York in the 1940s, created beautiful, layered paintings as well as experimenting with drawing, photography and sculpture.
Pousette-Dart grew up in Minnesota in a culturally rich environment thanks to his parents Nathaniel Pousette, a painter, writer and art director, and Flora Louise Dart, a poet.
He played a key role in the genesis of Abstract Expressionism and the New York School, which transformed American art in the post-war years, Pousette-Dart’s contemporaries included Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Willem de Kooning.
Jim Ede, creator of Kettle’s Yard, first met Pousette-Dart in New York in 1940. Their friendship grew and for 48 years they wrote over 200 letters! They talked about philosophy, spirituality, art and Kettle’s Yard collection artist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, whose work greatly influenced Pousette-Dart.
In the 1940s, Pousette-Dart became well-known in the New York art world and in 1951 he appeared in Life magazine in Nina Leen’s iconic photograph which featured prominent painters who were dubbed ‘the irascibles’, who had formally protested against the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s attitudes towards contemporary abstract art.